2016 was a rough year in a lot of ways. In the news, at work, in my personal life. The winds of change can be cold and harsh. Here at the end of it, I feel a little wind burnt.
So, I thought I'd take a minute to remember the good things, the blessings, the progress.
2016 was a good one for writing life.
Publications: My second novel (Change of Life) was published, a novella was published in an anthology (Indomitable Ten), two short stories came out in other anthologies (The Seven Story House and Theme-Thology: Mad Science). Going Through the Change, my debut novel, won an award!
There's some good lead in to 2017 with the third novel and two anthologies already on the docket, with talk of another novella, too. Seeing a line of books that you actual have to scroll across on my Amazon page never fails to thrill me. I'm doing this for reals, y'all!
Appearances: I was accepted as a guest at a few Southern cons: Illogicon, Con-Gregate, and Atomacon; I'll be back at Illogicon in 2017, and will get to attend Mysticon and Ravencon as well. I don't know about my year beyond April yet, but I've got some applications in and hope to be busy during the summer cons, too. Attending cons is one of the things that makes this all very real. Plus, participating in panels is a great way to connect with other authors and just get to talk geeky bookish fun!
Productivity: Readers of this blog will already know that I am big fan of the Magic Spreadsheet for tracking my word count and motivating myself to keep on keeping on, even when I don't feel like writing. I've written about it a few times on this blog. It's a gamification system that rewards you with points and levels for having written consistently. The part that really works for me is the idea of the chain. My chain of days written in a row is 1,186 days long as I write this. Even when I'm sick or exhausted, that keeps me motivated. I *always* write at least the minimum of 250 words now, and, as a result, I see steady and consistent progress on my projects. I don't lose the thread and have to flounder for hours finding it. When I sit down to write, I fall back into my projects easily because it's only been a day since I was last there. Best. Thing. Ever. (for me, anyway)
This year, I began using Jamie Raintree's Writing and Revision Tracker. It doesn't award me points, but it does let me categorize my writing, set monthly goals, and track both writing and revision (on Magic Spreadsheet, I play math games to credit myself with revision time, counting in pomodoros or giving myself 10% of wordcount edited). It's been a really good tool for me, letting me make sure that, not only am I writing, but I am writing the right things, in order to finish in time for deadlines. Now that I have multiple irons in the fire all the time, staying on track means more than just writing. It means keeping focus and not getting distracted by side projects while the main one languishes.
Whether these tools or my own determination deserve credit, I don't know, but either way I'm proud of these numbers. As of December 26, I wrote 248,529 new words in 2016 and revised 584,267. Especially when you consider that I do this while holding down a demanding day job (middle school teaching) and keeping a household of five (hubby, two daughters, and a dog) going, I think I'm amaze-balls!
So, there you go: my year in words. And it was a good one! Lots to celebrate and lots to look forward to. It's a wonderful thing, doing what you love. May 2017 bring all of you the chance to do the same.