Thursday, December 28, 2017

Another Year Over . . .and What Have I Done?

A writing life is a lot like a teaching life and a mom-ing life, in that there isn't really an end to the work.

Sure, you finish things, but there are more things. It's never really done. I'm bad at stopping to celebrate my successes sometimes, just swinging to the next trapeze and holding on for dear life instead.

So, here's a look back at 2017 with an eye to what went well in my writing life. I gotta say, looking back on it feels pretty dang good.

First some statistics:

  • I wrote 324,751 new words as of December 27. I'm hoping for a few thousand more before the calendar flips. 
  • I revised 434, 532 words. I'm pretty sure some of these words were revised multiple times :-)
  • On December 31st, my daily writing chain will be 1,556 days long.
  • I read 58 books. 
  • I attended 6 conventions as an author guest.
  • I judged 5 writing contests
  • I taught 1 new college course
  • I had 3 new releases: a novel, a collection of short stories, and a short story in a multi-author collection
I spent most of this year finding my joy in the words again, after three years straight of nose to the grindstone had left me blistered and grumpy. And I can definitely say I am loving my life of words again, so that's the most important win of 2017 right there. 

Here are some month by month highlights from my writing life in 2017:

January: Illogicon! This is my backyard convention, held only a half hour away from my doorstep in Cary, NC. I love being a guest author at this welcoming and friendly convention. I'll be back again this year. It's always a good sign when you get invited back :-)

February: I finished first round edits on Face the Change, the third of the Menopausal Superhero series, keeping on track for my scheduled release date. This was especially important as I'd had to do a revise and resubmit after sending in a rushed draft that wasn't ready for prime time. 

I also go to Mysticon as a guest for the first time. It's exciting to get new opportunities to meet with
readers and get my geek on in a new venue. (I can look forward to returning to Mysticon in 2018, too). I took my sister with me and found out she's a wonderful companion for convention fun. 

I hosted and provided feedback for the Son of a Pitch contest, which is always great fun and lets me help other writers along their journey the way I was helped and continue to receive help. It's a lovely little circle of the writing life thing. 
March: Yay for finishing edits! Face the Change made it through second round edits and I didn't hurt anyone in the process. (Even a non-traumatic editing process is still kind of painful, though necessary and helpful). 

April: I got a convention for my birthday! Ravencon invited me to be a guest author and I had a wonderful time. It was on my birthday weekend, too, so I took my husband with me and we had a geektastic romantic weekend together. (And I'll be back for more spring geekery in 2018).

I also got to try out a new event: a science fiction and fantasy festival at a library. 

May: I began writing something completely new, at the prompting of a writing friend who was putting together a book bundle of post-apocalyptic, young adult, romance novellas--for the record I'd never written any of those things, let alone the three combined, and I *adore* trying new things in my writing.

I didn't finish it in time to be included in that project (hoping to finish by the end of January, and it'll be a full-length novel), but starting it was a joy, and a first step on my road to recovering my joy of writing. With luck Thursday's Children, will be available for you to read in 2018.

I also got to sell my books at Atomic Empire during Free Comic Book Day and judge the Lune Spark contest for young writers. 

June: Another first time convention for me: ConCarolinas! This is one of the bigger cons in my geographic area, and I was super excited to be included. It was in a lovely venue and let me meet in person some writers I only knew online, fellow members of Pen and Cape Society

I also served as a judge for the Women's Fiction Writers Association Rising Star Contest and taught a course on the speculative fiction short story for Central Carolina Community College (I'm teaching a novel writing course there this spring). 

If that weren't enough, Curiosity Quills also released Friend or Foe and Other Stories, a collection of side stories from the Menopausal Superhero series. 

July: Hurray! Book release month! Face the Change came out just in
time for Con-Gregate, for which I was a return guest. I got to bring my sister again, and we celebrated my new book release with a great group of friends and fans.

I was invited to be on a panel about Love stories at my library.

I finished out the month with a three day writing retreat with my critique group in the mountains. A few days freedom from my other responsibilities where I get to be "just a writer" and leave my other hats on the rack is a luxury I wish I could offer to all the writers in my life. I'm so fortunate to have my husband and family who are willing to give me that space and time to pursue my other passions. 

I finished my short story for our group anthology and made some serious inroads into Thursday's Children

August: I began this month at the beach, thanks to my generous parents who rented a condo for a week and invited us to come share it with them. It was a productive month despite being the one in which school starts and balance of where the hours of my day shifted back to teaching over writing. My third release of the year came out: The Love Unlimited anthology included a short story for Jessica "Flygirl" Roark, "Flygirl's Second Chance." This one is still free on Amazon for a few more days if you'd like to check it out. 

September: Another round of Son of a Pitch during a month with huge family and professional (teaching) obligations reminded me that I needed to keep control of my time and balance or I was going to crash and burn. I made it through and lived to tell the tale and that's something to be proud of. 

October: Halloween is my family's favorite holiday and I was thrilled to be invited to tell my real life ghost story at the Burwell School, a local historical site. If you want to hear about my spooky sleepover, you can watch the video here:

November: I finished out my year's conventions with a trip back to Atomacon. Atomacon was the first convention to accept me as an author guest, so they have a special place in my heart and I was happy to be back (and not just because it's a quick jump to the beach from there, though that is a perk). 

I tried out a brand new event: a book fair in Charlotte. Given the chance, I'd do it again. I judged another writing contest, this one for Legendary Women

I tried NaNoWriMo, but 50K just wasn't in the cards. I can't complain too much about that, though, given all the blessings of friends and family that filled my month. My parents visited for Thanksgiving and our annual Extra Life fundraiser/gaming party was a success. 

December: I finished out the year with a sale on all my Menopausal Superhero books, which has already netted me a few new readers and newsletter subscribers. Just today, I had a planning meeting with another writing friend about a nonfiction book we're going to craft together. 

With just a few more days left in 2017, I'm hoping to finish the chapter I'm on in Thursday's Children, and maybe one more. I'm looking forward to another busy and productive year in 2018 doing what I love. Here's hoping it's the same for each of you. 


  1. That is an impressive number of words written and edited!

    So glad to hear you're loving your life of words again! That is such a important win.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Isn't it amazing how much we learn about ourselves when we actually sit down to take stock? Congratulations on a fabulously successful year of writing and cheers to another big year!

  3. Wow, your busyness as a writer/author/teacher simply leave me in complete awe!

  4. Wow, you've had a great year. And in between everything you managed to read 58 books. As a book lover I'm in awe. Here's to another successful year in 2018.