Proof I don’t read so good

Okay. All right. What gives?

Since when does WordPress have “Sponsored posts” on my blog? Also, why do I have to pay almost $50/year to make them go away?

I basically treat this space like an over-glorified LiveJournal. How dare they try and monetize my crappy takes and mental health rambles? I feel increasingly disconnected from and disinterested in WordPress. Their stupid Gutenberg, block writing BS and now ads? Like, come on guys. Just let me virtual journal in peace.

But, I’ve been here for 10 years now. TEN YEARS! I missed that particular anniversary back in September thanks to the afore mentioned mental health, but it’s a pretty big deal. I’ve spent ten years of my writing life — basically ALL of my writing life — in this virtual space.

And now it has ADS?!?!?!?!

Are there even any viable alternatives? I know that if I left this site would basically be dead and I’d have to URL link things on the new site, which sounds like a big ol’ hassle. Ughhhhhhhhhh. Does this mean I’m FINALLY going to give WordPress my money?

Gross.

I’ll consider it. I guess. But I don’t like it. So there.

…..

…..

…..

Ok. Lemme just write this thought through. There are pros to paying the $50/year. No more ads. No “Sponsored Posts”. I get the domain name, which honestly it’s a little embarrassing that I don’t already have it. And, let’s be real, it’s a bit more legitimate if I pay for the ding dang thing.

… I’m just grumpy about it.

I could go all in and pay $100/year and get better customization, Google Analytics integration, better social media integration, and more storage.

But I’m extra grumpy about that.

BUT! I think next year could be a really good year to make the blog more of a site. I need to get back in the blogging habit, and I’m going to have publishing news and the anthology to promote. It’d be really nice if the blog could work less as an over-glorified LiveJournal and more as an actual, professional writer’s website.

Hrmmmmm. Lots to think about.

BZ

On Doubt

This morning started with an article from The Writer Magazine in my inbox. Now, I don’t normally read the newsletter-ish sorts of emails that spam my inbox, but this headline caught my pre-coffee brain. Why are Writers so Prone to Self-Doubt?

It made me immediately ask, “Am I prone to self-doubt?” Which is hilarious because I am so anxiety-riddled on a daily basis I can hardly make appointments for basic things and am a constant over-thinker. Of course I’m prone to self-doubt! I’m so prone to it I don’t even recognize it any more!

Anyway, it’s a lengthy article that looks at the various sources of anxiety and doubt for us Writer Types and it got me thinking about what my writerly doubts are and how I’ve coped with them. And since it’s early, and my brain is chugging away at something meaty, I thought I’d share. 

The Big One: Rejection

One thing that the non-writers in my life seem to struggle with is when I tell them I’ve had a story rejected. Usually we’re mid-conversation (or dinner or movie or or or…) and I stop engaging to look at my phone. I’ve received an email from that market that’s had my story for months, and of course the subject line is just “RE: SUBMISSION”. 

Now, I know the odds. Trust me, I’ve received enough rejections (and a few acceptances) at this point to know I am almost certainly looking at a rejection. But there’s that tiny part of me, the Writer who never gives in, that bubbles up in my chest and says, “What if…?”

So I hold my breath (I always do, I can’t help it) and open the email. And — oh look — a rejection. Exhale, screen off, return to the conversation (or dinner or movie or or or…). Of course now I realize how incredibly rude I’ve just been and say, “sorry, just got a rejection.”

Their face does that little crumply frown of concern. “Oh no! I’m so sorry!”

I wave them off. “It’s fine, I just need to remember to send it out again when I get home.” And that just confuses them. And that confused me for a long time. I mean, yes, rejection sucks but it is part of the process if you want your work published. There’s no avoiding it. So, early on, I just sort of braced for impact and gritted my teeth. Ate some ice cream while I spent 15-20 minutes looking for the next market, and then sent it off again.

Now I don’t even bother with the ice cream. 

But for folks unaccustomed to rejection, this is one of their biggest fears. Sharing something they worked hard on, put their soul into and are proud of, only to be told it isn’t good enough. I mean, looking at it like that, it does sound miserable. But… it just doesn’t feel like that anymore. Part of it is the practice, right? You submit, get rejected, submit again and that builds armor. There’s a whole ding-dang blog about it! (Aeryn Rudel’s Rejectomancy is a super neat site that likens rejection to a class in D&D and how you level up and gain armor, etc. Check it out!)

The other part is realizing what I do and don’t have control over. Now, part of being an incredibly Anxious™ person is a desperate need to feel in control of most things. Relinquishing said control is… difficult. But, with publishing there’s no control to be relinquished. I never had any to start with. The only thing I can control is the writing and where I choose to send it. So, to “ease” my anxiety over the whole process, the story must be as good as I can possibly make it and I need to research and carefully choose what markets I submit to. That’s it. That’s all I can do.

It’s all any of us can do. And that’s why I don’t mind rejections. They aren’t personal, they are an inseparable part of the process. 

So, What About My Writing do I Doubt?

Oh man. Well, for awhile, during the pandemic, I actually started to doubt my idea generation. That’s never been an issue for me in the past, but my brain was so creatively empty for so long that I started to wonder if I was tapped out. I now know that I’m fine and have plenty of ideas — my creative brain just decided to take a sabbatical. 

I doubt my ability to write really powerful, literary Speculative Fiction. I’m thinking N.K. Jemisin, Seanan McGuire, and Sam J. Miller here. They are freaking powerhouses writing story after story, novel after novel that just consistently blow my mind. I doubt my ability to blow anyone’s mind, either with plot or craft. That doesn’t mean I’m not trying! I am. Like I said in my post last week, I keep reaching and trying new things because 1. it’s fun, and 2. it’s going to help me grow as a writer. 

Kevin Hearne said it best on his short-lived podcast Ask the Bards, “Write more, write different, write better.”

But, my biggest doubt, or maybe my biggest fear is that I’m too transparent in my work. I don’t realize it while I’m writing, but when I go back to revise so many little things from my life are staring back up at me. To me they are SO. PAINFULLY. OBVIOUS. Anyone who knows me at all is going to read that and see all of me in those lines. Even the parts I don’t typically share. Maybe especially those parts.

We call that vulnerability and I hate it. Anxiety Brain, remember? I can’t control how others perceive me through my writing. Writing is a two-way street, an art experiment that is only complete when read by an audience. I can do my damndest to be clear with my themes and subjects and characters, but ultimately the final interpretation happens within the reader. 

And that I cannot control. 

I try. Oh, do I ever try. I am very selective about who gets to read my drafts. Seeing the work before it’s “finished” is probably the biggest declaration of trust I can ever make. Trust and that I value your opinion. It’s me opening a door into my consciousness and saying, “come on in! Sorry about the mess.”

But even this flex of control is just a balm. Because once a story is published, it is out of my hands. I can’t control who does or doesn’t read it, how they react to it. If they like it. Or how it might change their perception of me. Writer Brittany and World Brittany are two very different people. 

At least, I think they are.

One is meant for public consumption, the face I present at work, in my community, even to my friends to some extent. Writer Brittany is… well she’s real weird, all right? She thinks about death a lot, and about love too. She imagines tentacled, spectral moose monsters attacking subway trains and thinks it’s funny. And she seems kind of obsessed with characters whose decisions lead to isolation and loneliness, because they won’t open up to the people who care about them. 

There’s that vulnerability again. I still hate it. But if it’s there on the page then, yes, people will read it. They’ll see it. But most importantly, they’ll feel it. And they’ll know that, in some ways, the story was real.

That’s called authenticity, and in fiction it is everything. 

The conclusion then is that our doubts and/or fears are probably pointing to areas in our work that we need to embrace. That we should emphasize and focus on. Because what makes us uncomfortable makes us grow, right?

I don’t know, man. Take from that what you will. I have a novel to edit. 

 

BZ

Taika, Take the Wheel

Bloggos,

What has happened to me? Goal setting used to be so easy! It was how I managed every aspect of my writing life, and it never steered me wrong. I was (am?) a goal setting pro! But now I stare at Tavi and though my natural instinct is to chunk it out into smaller bites and analyze how long it’ll take me to get to the next stage of the project… I can’t? Do that?

Every time I try a bigger, much more confident part of my brain swoops in and says, “nah. This ain’t that kinda project.” For some reason this part of my brain sounds like it’s from New Zealand. Probably because I’ve watched Thor: Ragnarok like three times this summer. If my inner-genius wants to channel Taika Waititi I am ALL for it.

I expected to feel adrift. How can I even function as a writer if I’m not setting SMART goals? What do you mean I haven’t completely scienced out how many weeks it will take to finish? If I don’t reverse plan, how will I know that I’ll get it done on time? Am I even me if I’m not obsessively Type-A-ing the shit out of everything?

And my Taika brain just shrugs, says, “I dunno, man” and then points to a part of the book. “But, maybe you could start by moving this bit over here? It just makes more sense there, yeah?” And then I look, and sure as shit, IT DOES make more sense there!

So, I guess this means it’s out of my hands. I’m letting the imaginary manifestation of my Writer Brain™, masquerading as Taika Waititi, take the wheel.

waititi Tumblr posts - Tumbral.com

I’ll keep y’all posted as to how this goes…

BZ

It’s Monday.

I haven’t started my week with a blog post in a very very long time. I don’t have a ton to say today. There weren’t any writing activities over the weekend since we were at the coast partying it up with a good friend for her Bachelorette Party.

I have received some feedback on Abbie from my Elite Reading Group™. Nothing concrete that I can make edits from, but some general “It’s really good!” and “I liked it a lot” and even an “It’s so different from your other stories!”. And while that’s all fine and good, I need to give them all a little nudge to give me something a touch more substantial.

Now is about the time where I worry about where the heck I’m gonna submit this story. It’s quiet. So so quiet. The fantasy element is very thin, just a sprinkling of spice. I know at the start of the pandemic there was talk of a magazine being put together that would focus on these sort of stories… but I don’t know if that every truly came to be. I have a feeling this is going to be a very long submission process.

*sigh*

In other news, the newest episode of the podcast is OUT NOW! Give it a listen, and prepare yourself for another episode this Friday! We’ve been busy little library worker bees and have lots of good books to share with you!

Other than podcast editing, I’m going to start back on Tavi this week and see if I can get this very big ball rolling. I’ve got ~3 months to get it DONE. And I mean, done done. Like… start sending it to agents done.

I think I need to do some deep breathing exercises…

Anyway, that’s where I’m at. That’s what’s on the plate for this week, revisions of all kinds. I’ll pop in every now and again, either to tell you about all the progress I’m making, or to avoid all the progress I’m NOT making. You know how it goes.

Until then,

BZ

Goals Summary?

It’s Tuesday. It’s a weird week because Trev is off for our anniversary, so any routine I might have established is out the window. There’s a lot of non-writing things to do, both fun and necessary. I’m feeling restless while he’s still asleep, so I figured I ought to come blog about it. Y’know, like a writer or something.

I started my morning with iced coffee and Willamette Writers. Every Tuesday and Saturday they have zoom meetings (called, Coffee at your Kitchen Table) where members can pop in and discuss writerly things for an hour or so. Over the winter I co-led the Saturday meetings, but with spring and the outdoors calling, I bowed out of that responsibility. But, I still like to attend whenever I can, especially the smaller, calmer Tuesday morning session.

So, I did that today. We were practicing our novel pitches ahead of the conference this weekend. I don’t have a novel to pitch right now, so I just listened and took notes about what should be included in a good pitch. I’ll need that info sooner than later, hopefully.

Normally I would volunteer for the conference, but a friend of mine is having a bachelorette weekend getaway, so I’ll be out of town. And while the conference is virtual again this year, I don’t want to split my time between my friend’s celebration and the conference duty, so I had to ix-nay the conference. Sad day. I hope everyone has a great time and wish all the success to folks pitching their work to agents/editors this weekend. It’s such a scary thing to do, so kudos to you all!

After that, I picked up dog shit so the yard guy doesn’t have to work around it. I know, riveting stuff this Tuesday.

But, after this post I’m going to sit down to revise Abbie, aka In the Librarian’s Garden. Then, once Trevor’s up, we’ll spend the day cleaning house and the garage in preparation of our trip and the installation of a new HVAC system next week. So, it’ll be a busy busy day today.

Tomorrow we’re going to snorkel the river and hunt for agates, which is always a blast. Thursday is a free day until the evening, when we’re officially celebrating our anniversary (which was yesterday), and then we’re off to the coast for the weekend.

Somewhere in there I also need to edit and upload a new episode of the podcast.

Like I said, busy busy.

My biggest goal is to get this story polished and sent to my circle of readers for their thoughts. I want it to be mostly done before we leave for the weekend. Then I get to tweak and shine it up next week for submission. Once it’s sent out I can pivot my focus to Tavi and the monstrous job of revising it. I’ll have two-ish months to make it as good as I can. It’s going to take some pretty aggressive goal-setting to get that done.

Maybe next week I’ll actually post a real Goals Summary… Who knows? Certainly not me.

Until then, Bloggos.

BZ

State of the Author

Good morning, Blogland.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my writing since I last posted. Like, a lot a lot. So I figured I should jot it all down and give you all an update as well.

Current Projects:

  • Bell Biv Derailed
  • In the Librarian’s Garden
  • Sanura Trine
  • Twins and the Haunted House
  • The Shadowboxer
  • Tavi
  • Top Shelf Librarians Podcast

(Please note that these are all working titles and no I am not taking criticism at this time)

Bell Biv Derailed: I finished the rough draft of this story on Wednesday. I first got the idea in 2018 when we visited Munich and rode the metro every day. I finally sat down to write it in March of this year. That was one writing session. Then one while I was in Seattle, and then Wednesday. A total of three writing sessions and almost 2k words. The story is not remotely anything like the original idea, but I really like how it turned out, even though it’s super weird. The bones are quite good, I just need to dip into the horror a bit more and work on tension control. It’s a horror/comedy which is always tough to write AND intended to be Flash Fiction (<1,500 words), so we’ll see how it turns out. For now, I’m letting it marinate while I work on some other revisions.Bel Biv Devoe GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

In the Librarian’s Garden: I’ll be revising the second draft today. I spent most of yesterday afternoon revising the rough draft and feeling pleasantly surprised. This is a story I started at the beginning of the pandemic, when we were first really locked down. I put it on pause to focus on Tavi, and when that went south, I came back to it in September. BUT, that’s when my school district caught on fire and one of the major plot points of this story is that a school burns down soooooo that felt bad and I put the story in a mental drawer. Then November came around and I decided that, instead of writing a novel for Nanowrimo, I’d write short stories. I had enough of them lying around unfinished and I figured I ought to do something about that. So I finished the rough draft of this piece (and others). When I read it in January I hated it (and the others too) but looking back at January I kinda hated everything so I’m glad I didn’t pitch it in the bin. It’s actually a lovely, quiet little cottage-core piece of fantasy fiction that gives me warm fuzzy feelings when I read it. Dunno where the hell I can possibly submit it, but that’s a concern for when revisions are done. Today’s goals are tightening things up (it’s a bit meander-y) and upping the emotions in order to earn the ending. Creating an easy-care cottage garden - Anthony Tesselaar Plants

Sanura Trine: This is another story I wrote during Nanowrimo. And honestly…? I don’t really remember much about it. I mean, I remember what happens in it, but I don’t really remember the writing. I remember being frustrated by it and feeling like I was treading water when I wrote it. I felt lost and disconnected from the piece and really struggled with it. I don’t know if it’s good. I do know it’s entirely too long (like 7k words or something ridiculous like that). So, I’ll take a look at it see what needs to happen. I remember liking the intro which was very sarcastic and anti-corporation but that tone vanished once the characters started interacting, sooo… We’ll see where it ends up. This story is not a super high priority for me at the moment and will probably sit for awhile longer.space, tired, desert, astronaut, robin schulz, breathing, david guetta,  cheat codes, shed a light, barren Gif For Fun – Businesses in USA

Twins and the Haunted House: Another of the Nanowrimo projects. This thing is a beast. Another horror story (obvs), this one plays with overlapping First Person POVs and unreliable narrators. An unreliable narrator is something I’ve ALWAYS wanted to write, but it’s so damn hard! Especially because I’m more of a discovery type writer. I have to write the rough draft to figure out what the hell is going on, which makes writing a big fat liar on the first go-around pretty much impossible. I only have about 2k-ish left to go (I’m very close to the end) but it’s still HUGE at over 8k words as is. I don’t have plans to return to this right now. It’s a horror piece set in the dead of winter — middle of summer is not a good time mentally for me to sit down to this one. Consider it on pause until Christmas break probably. Since it’s seeming like it might reach novelette or novella territory instead of short story, I’m not exactly eager to get back to it, haha. More words = more revision.

spooky house gifs | WiffleGif

The Shadowboxer: This is another weirdo story. I’m beginning to wonder if I have any other kind? It’s a story that asks what evil is, how does it manifest? It’s a story about women, victimhood, and taking their power back. It’s also non-linear, features a POV from a floating cloud of sentient evil mist a la Lost, and a HUGE gap in time. Again. As a discovery writer, this is VERY HARD. There are three POVs one distant past, one near past, and one present and they all will intertwine to tell the story. In theory. That’s the goal. I put it aside last summer because I was struggling so much. I think this is a story that requires me to level up a bit. I also think that with this many POVs, it probably isn’t a short story and I’m kidding myself by approaching it as such. But, I’ll worry about that when the draft is done. Which won’t be for awhile. I would put this farthest down the priority list. It’s the hardest, I have the least words written for it, and I want to read more non-linear narratives before digging back into it. Consider it paused.Smoke monster GIFs - Get the best gif on GIFER

Tavi: Man. This book. I love it and it really is quite good, even in its second draft. But revising it is just SUCH a big job. I honestly think that’s what all the above is really about. I’m procrastinating the big scary project. Which, as far as procrastination techniques go, writing more fiction is the BEST ONE EVER! But, this book is the best thing I’ve written. I truly believe that. This is a book that I could query with, that could push my writing life into the next stage. And I think that has me running scared. So… we all know what I gotta do. I need to sit down, reacquaint myself, and get back in the trenches. My original goal was to have Tavi query ready by October 1st. I think that timeline is a little tight now. But, I think if I get started on it by August 1st, I can have it JUST about ready by November 1st. Take November off to draft a new project for Nanowrimo, then finish any remaining edits by January 1st. I’m spitballing here — I don’t really know how long it will take me. It turns out, I’m really bad at revising novels. My last novel revision attempt turned into scrapping the whole thing and rewriting it as a novella series. But that won’t happen with Tavi. She’s too complete, too strong of a character. This book feels very real, and not too far off from something I might pick off a shelf. I just need to make it the best I can and stop being such a chickenshit about it. This is my top priority after I finish revising In the Librarian’s Garden.The Crow GIFs | Tenor

Top Shelf Librarians Podcast: Yep, we’re still making the show. We are actually recording tonight so expect the June episode sometime next week. Sorry it’s late, but I’ll get into why in the episode so stay tuned!

Top Shelf Logo

Stories Currently on Submission

  • Lifelike
  • A Lullaby for Mattie Barker
  • The Lament of Kivu Lacus

Lifelike: My oldest story. I got the idea for it when I was still at community college taking creative writing classes. So… pre-2012. But I finished it in like 2017 or 2018. It’s a flash fiction piece about a haunted painter. It gets to the final round of consideration frequently, but no takers so far. I’m beginning to lose confidence in the story, mainly because I’ve been subbing it for so long and it doesn’t really reflect the quality of my work any more. I have leveled up well past it. I guess I could rework it, bring it “up to date”, but I don’t have any inclination or motivation to do so. I’ll keep sending it out and it’ll either eventually stick or eventually find its way to the Yuck Trunk folder. *Shrug*Haunted Painting GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

A Lullaby for Mattie Barker: A much more recent piece that I finished in summer of 2019. It went through some extensive revisions in December and I submitted it to a local writing contest. It was a finalist, but did not place. So now it’s out, looking for a home. It’s another hard one to place. It’s a ghost story, but not horror. It’s historical fiction set after WWII, but also features an LGBTQIA+ main character. It’s quiet, not a lot of action. But it’s poignant and lovely and good. I just don’t know who wants lovely, quiet, heartbreaking ghost stories about queer characters.Eight Coos County Cemeteries - Pacific Northwest Adventures

The Lament of Kivu Lacus: This is the best short story I’ve written so far. It is a 2nd Person narration about marital issues, isolation, terminal illness and grief. I love this story so so much. It makes it to the final round of consideration consistently, so I just need to find it the right home. Again, another hard piece to place. The Science Fiction element is subtle, more setting than science, and 2nd Person is not a popular POV choice. But it’s my favorite bit of writing I’ve done. I love it very very much.Humpback Whale Swimming GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Recent Publications

  • That Which Illuminates Heaven
  • Unforgettable
  • The Cost of Rain

That Which Illuminates Heaven: A story about a sentient space ship that plays matchmaker for her Pilot and Chief Engineer.

Unforgettable: A feminist retelling of Samson and Delilah in fewer than 300 words.

The Cost of Rain: An old woman and her horse traipse across a desert to make a deal with the devil.

Upcoming Projects

  • Hunting Dr. Squatch

Hunting Dr. Squatch: Look. The title is dumb and makes me laugh and probably doesn’t even have anything to do with the story. It’s my Nanowrimo project, an all new novel, and it’s a Pioneer Oregon Weird Western. All I know is that there are monsters, a badass frontier lady, and a gay guy. I just got a mountain of books from the public library to start research this summer, so if my goodreads starts to look a little funky, that’s why. It’s still pretty nebulous up there, but I have my main characters starting to make some noise and clamoring for my attention, so I think I’ll be ready to start by November. Which means I REALLY need to get to work on Tavi.Growing Up Lol GIF by What We Do in the Shadows - Find &amp; Share on GIPHY | What  we do in the shadows, Shadow costume, Shadow

So, yeah. That’s where I’m at. That’s what I’ll be working on and thinking about pretty much through the end of the year. I’ve also scoped out a potential writing conference to go to in October, specifically about women writing women in the west? Seems pertinent given my Nanowrimo project. We’ll see.

Also, I thoroughly enjoyed hunting down gifs and images for each project. Now then, I’ve wasted enough time. I need to do some revision and then hopefully get the office cleaned up before we record tonight.

See ya around, Bloggarts!

BZ

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #27

Hey-o Bloggos,

I didn’t formally set goals last week, but I did manage to write the following on my whiteboard:

  • Write every day
  • #aStoryaDay

Um… neither of those things happened. I did manage to read 5 stories over the weekend, and have two more to read today to get caught up. I did not write every day but I did get a lot of outlining done and started in on one branch of the story.

Weekly Word Count: 47

That’s an abysmal word count, but there was a lot of formatting, assessing bits and pieces from previous attempts at this story, and a LOT of outlining. Work was done, it’s just not the sort that’s quantifiable. Hopefully that can change.

What’s Next?

  • Write every day
  • #aStoryaDay

That’s it. That’s all I’m striving for. I have a lot of household chores to catch up on and a hike planned for tomorrow, so it’ll be a busy-ish week outside of writing. Hopefully I can focus up and get some work done too.

Talk at you all soon.

 

BZ

New Year, Same Look

Hey Blogland.

It’s been a minute. As I mentioned last week, I faced some major burnout last fall and really the last half of the year was just me, derailed. Getting laid-off from a job you love sucks the big one. But, I’m feeling much more settled in the new job, and turns out, I super love it too. A nice lesson to learn, nothing is the end-all-be-all of your existence. We grow, adapt, change, and come to find fulfillment and success in a multitude of ways.

But, that lesson had a steep price, namely my discipline and work ethic when it came to my more creative endeavors. I simply didn’t have the bandwidth to attend to all my writing routines, so, in the interest of mental wellbeing, I didn’t attend to any of them. I allowed myself to take several steps back and only do what felt right or good. I think that helped me recover and get my head on straight once again.

So, three months late, let’s talk about 2019.

In 2019 I said I wanted to:

  • Finish the Tavi rough draft.
  • Finish Santa Sarita. 
  • Revise Cards.
  • Publish something!
  • Publish two blog posts a week.
  • Read 70 titles.

How’d I do?

  • Finish the Tavi rough draft.
    • YES! I finished the rough draft back in May and it was a huge, wonderful, exhausting accomplishment.
  • Finish Santa Sarita.
    • Nope. Not even a little bit. I don’t even think I wrote anything on this fic last year.
  • Revise Cards.
    • Nope. And, actually, I think I’ve finally accepted that this might be a trunk novel. Not that I think it’s bad, but it needs a lot of revision and basically an entire rewrite, and when I have time, energy and drive, I’ll come back to it. Until then, I’m taking it off the plate of possible projects.
  • Publish something!
    • Yes? I sold something, but it won’t be published until June 2020. It’s exciting and a big win for me, so I’m counting it as accomplished.
  • Publish two blog posts a week.
    • Nope. I published 90 posts, which honestly isn’t too shabby. It’s the second most I’ve ever posted on the blog since 2011, so I don’t feel as bad about this as I did earlier today.
  • Read 70 titles.
    • Nope. I reached 60 and pretty much ran out of gas. I couldn’t focus, couldn’t get anything to really grip me. I was in full on burnout mode by then and basically just gave up.

2019 Total Word Count: 122,187

Honorable Mentions

Even though there were several months in the summer and early fall where it just felt like I couldn’t get any writing done, I actually wrote a fair amount last year. Two flash pieces (under 500 words) and two longer short stories (both over 4k words), the last half of Tavi, and a ton of fanfic in November and December. In the moment it felt like nothing, but there was a lot of work happening in between all that nothing.

I went to a write-in thing hosted by Willamette Writers… I think it was in May. Anyway, that was fun and cool and I hope to go to more writerly events, once all this Covid stuff gets sorted.

I hiked a bunch last year which is always a good thing, and really found my *thing* outside of reading and writing books.

I read 15,104 pages across 60 books!Img bookstack 72

 

I’m trying not to feel so down about missing my reading goal last year. It’s the first year since 2015 that I haven’t reached my goal. Which felt like a big fat failure on my part. And yet… 60 titles is nothing to sneeze at. That number amazes a lot of people, even if it feels a little short to me. But, I read a lot last year and I shouldn’t feel bad just because it wasn’t as much as I’d hoped. I’m working on it.

Um… I think that’s it. You know, aside from that whole, got a new crazy job that absorbed my whole soul for awhile but turns out I super-duper love. So that’s cool too, I guess.

2019’s word was INTENT. I wanted to be purposeful in my actions and choices when it came to writing and reading. I don’t know how well it worked, but I do recall thinking of it a lot and letting it be the word that grounded me in moments of indecision. So, better than not having a word I suppose. Choosing a word for 2020 was one of the only New Year’s routines I didn’t ignore/avoid. The word for this year is…

REPLENISH.

Makes sense when you consider that I was recovering from the world’s worst case of burnout around the New Year. So, how will “Replenish” guide me in 2020? Well, I’ve decided to only do things that feel right, restorative in some way. For instance, my reading goal this year started at just 1 book. Once I read a few over that, I bumped it to 10. Now that I’m at ten, I bumped it to 20. I’m letting the year dictate the goals and learning to let go a little bit.

What does that mean for my writing? I’m not entirely sure. I think the idea is to stop feeling guilty for any perceived lack of progress. Letting my interests and energy take me where I need to go. Basically, relinquishing some of that all-important control. So far, I think it’s working.

So, if I’m not setting active, ambitious goals, what the heck will I do in 2020?

  • Revise Tavi
    • I think this is one that I absolutely have to do. I can’t let this novel sit for much longer, and honestly I don’t want to. I want to get back in this world I made and really make it shine.
  • Read!
    • That’s it. I just want to read whatever sounds interesting. I have a fat stack of fat books I’d been lusting over, but avoiding because of how long they would take me to read. This is the year I finally get to them.
  • Submit Two New Short Stories
    • I already have one that’s just about ready to go out. Maybe a few more rounds of editing to perfect it, and then it’s good. I’m working on a new short story now, but it feels pretty far from submission level. Good thing it’s only March!
  • Write Book Reviews
    • This is one thing that bummed me out about last year. I read a lot of good books at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, but I didn’t write reviews for them. And now it’s been too long for me to do them justice. I don’t want to do that anymore, so I’ll be trying to write reviews again!

I’ll be honest. I expect Tavi revisions to take up the majority of my year. All of my writing time will be on short stories or fanfic while I edit my novel. I want to get this right, because I really believe in this story and the world I’ve built. I want to get the first book right so I can jump into the second book for NaNoWriMo this year. So I need to get to work.

So, yeah. A different approach to 2020. A less regimented approach. I don’t know what the blog will look like this year. I might stick to my weekly format, I might not. I haven’t decided yet. I’ll do whatever feels good and useful without stressing me out. That’s the plan.

Talk at you soon, Bloggarts.

 

BZ