Thursday, December 15, 2022

My Year in Words: My 7th year pursuing writing for real

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2022 is coming to a close. That seems like science fiction in and of itself. How can it be 2022, let alone almost 2023? But I've survived a lot of bad predictions now.

  • I made it through 1984, and if Big Brother was watching, he didn't speak up. 
  • I made it through 1999, and the party wasn't over after all. 
  • Y2K didn't eat my hard drive
  • I made it through 2001 and AI did not kill off the humans. Sorry, Dave.
  • Ancient calendars didn't end the world in 2012
  • I made it through 2015 without getting hit by Michael J. Fox on a hoverboard. 
  • I made it through 2019 without finding out if replicants dream of electric sheep. 
  • Godzilla didn't return in 2020. Neither did the Terminator. (though both might have been preferable to what 2020 DID bring us)
  • And here we are in 2022, and I'm not yet eating Soylent Green.
So maybe 2023 won't be as bad as science fiction led me to believe either.


My goals were a little mushy this year. After getting through 2020 and 2021, life didn't feel that predictable, so setting goals was harder. I didn't have my usual faith and optimism about what all I'd be able to get done. 

the Menopausal Superheroes novels so far

I've been working on the fifth and final Menopausal Superhero novel off and on for two years now. I was hoping I'd finish a draft this year. 

I didn't. 

But, I'm finishing the year strong, having written on it every day during NaNoWriMo and kept up that momentum in December, so I'm hoping to have a finished draft by March of 2023. 

Partly this was pandemic life. Partly this was me trying to close out a series for the first time, which is a very different task than just writing the next novel in the series, especially for a pantser like me. 

I tracked my word count across six projects: Menopausal Superheroes #5, Short Stories, Book Reviews, Social Posts, Business (by which I mean correspondence, blurbs, bios, etc.), and Blogs. I use Jamie Raintree's Writing and Revision Tracker, because I like how it lets me see my progress on several projects, and track both new words and revised words. Across the year, I wrote 287,642 words and revised 109,515. Not too shabby!

There are still two weeks left, so I'll add a little more to that word count before the New Year bells toll. 


I did see some work into print though, even if it wasn't Menopausal Superheroes

My short stories made it into three anthologies in 2022: 
I'm proud of all three, but especially happy to have used my writing for a bit of activism, in support of reproductive rights in the second two. 

I also had a few short stories included in magazines. You can read all of these online for free (or listen to them, in the case of the two podcasts): 
I'd love it if you checked out any of my work! And, for the books, please consider leaving a review. A few words and some stars makes all the difference in a book's discoverability, and I'd love to see these small presses continue to thrive. 


Another of my goals was to submit my work more often. I'm terrible about writing a short story, submitting it once, then letting it languish on my hard drive if it doesn't get accepted. (Hint: if you want your work to get published, you have to submit it). 

At this point, it's not even about fear of rejection for me anymore, but more about managing my limited time so that I can write new things, promote my published work, AND submit my work. 

I set a goal of submitting work 100 times this year and, as I write this, I've done so 99 times. So, you can bet I'll find time to submit one more piece of work before the calendar flips. I was helped by participating in challenges developed by a writing colleague Ray Daley. A few times a year, he collects a list of magazines he intends to submit to, one a day over the course of a month, and invites other writers to try and do the same. 

It paid off, too! Several of the year's publications are stories that met with rejection before finding success. Persistence is the name of the game. 
  • What I Can See: written 2019,  submitted 4 times in total, and accepted in 2020 (for publication in 2022). 
  • How Does Your Garden Grow? written 2020, submitted 5 times in total, and accepted twice in 2022. (reprints are sometimes welcome in anthologies)
  • No Country for Young Women written 2022, submitted 5 times in total, and accepted in 2022 (that's pretty fast for me--to write a story and see it published in the same year)
  • The Beginning of You written 2015, submitted 11 times, and accepted in 2022
  • Under an Orange Sky written 2014, submitted 14 times, and accepted in 2014 (project folded without coming to fruition) and 2022
  • Poison written 2020, submitted 5 times, accepted in 2020 (in a magazine), and in 2022 (as a reprint for a podcast)
  • Moondance written 2019, submitted 8 times, accepted in 2022
  • The Mind Plays Tricks written 2015, submitted 17 times, accepted in 2022


Getting comfortable with promotion has been quite a journey these past seven years. 

I was a guest at ConCarolinas and Multiverse this year, and sold my books at GalaxyCon, Queen City Book Fair, Bookmarks Book Festival and PopCon

I also presented a workshop at Orange County Public Library and continue to run the First Monday Classics book club with writer-colleague James Maxey every month.

I've started to stretch my geographic reach in hopes of finding new audiences, and seeking out more one day festivals and events. I'm still trying to find that balance between promotion and protection of my writing time that leads to a wider audience and more sales. Now that I'm no longer a teacher, I'm a little less tied to the academic calendar and look forward to the new opportunities that will open up for me. 

I've also been taking advantage of the wider array of digital opportunities. I record panels with ConTinual Convention on the regular, as well as with Strong Women Strange Worlds, Go Indie Now, Write Hive, and other organizations. 

I try to gather all those together into a playlist on YouTube: 

I didn't put up much new material on my own YouTube channel this year, so I'm hoping to get back to this more regularly next year. 

I've also been exploring new social media options this year, building a presence and a following on CounterSocial, Mastodon, and Hive (@samanthabwriter) in case Twitter finishes imploding, while still keeping up Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, which have been my main channels for a few years now. 

See why time management is such a thing?

How did your year go for your creative or business pursuits? Any insights to share with girls like me who want it all? 


  1. I'm glad that me and the Submission Challenge have been part of your success. If you work hard & keep going, you reach your goal eventually. Here's to more sales from the January event!

  2. We survived the year! I'm afraid to do any predictions for next year.