Cyborgs, Soldiers, And Gunslingers: A Year In The Word Mines

amy Whale, breaching, Stellwagen Bank National...

This is what it’s going to look like when I go back to the gym tomorrow. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This time of year, I always find myself doing a little thinking. Maybe it’s the scrolling down of the Gregorian calendar. Maybe it’s because I’m stranded on the couch like a beached whale until that last holiday meal digests.* Whatever the reason, this is the time of year for taking stock.

Those of you who are long-term readers probably remember my goal for this year: thirteen rejection letters. Well, that goal was accomplished, just barely. There was also an acceptance in there, so bonus.

Writing-wise, this was a fucking busy year**. I started rewriting a novel, cranked out a half a dozen new short stories, laid down the foundations for another novel, and posted three days a week here. Blogging alone, that works out to….*does quick math*…around 80,000 new words. Plus maybe another 25,000 words of short stories. And another 50,000 from the Sandbox and World-Building files. I have no idea how much is new on the novel because that’s the nature of rewrites: too much cutting and backfilling and general re-jiggering. But, however you slice it, this was a productive year.

Now the question becomes: what next?

Honestly? I’m not sure. This year—the year of the short story—was fun. Gave me a chance to try some new ideas and new places, at least one of which is on its way to developing into a full-blown world. But, at the same time, my energy felt scattered. I was jumping from project to project, one step ahead of the deadlines, and every story was different. Cyborg magic. Military horror. Post-apocalyptic sci-fi. Alternate world fantasy. Storybook horror. I ran the fucking genre mash-up gauntlet this year, and came up with some really interesting stuff. But, because I was focusing on all those, my novel rewrite isn’t even close to bloody finished and I didn’t start the other novel that I was planning on writing.

So, here’s the question for 2014: focus on the novels exclusively, or try to do both again***?

I’m going to mull this over while eating my way through the rest of the Christmas candy between now and New Year’s. In the meantime, keep me in the loop, word monkeys: how do you feel about your writing year in review, and what are your plans for 2014?

*Fasting sounds like a better and better idea this time of year.

**You know, for me. For some of you this output might be slack; for others it might seem unattainable. Your mileage may vary.

***Better this time, obviously.

4 thoughts on “Cyborgs, Soldiers, And Gunslingers: A Year In The Word Mines

  1. I suggest working on what’s fun. This doesn’t mean flitting from project to project. You still have to focus on finishing. I blog and write novel length stories. My goal is to add self publishing to the list.

  2. Word-monkeys…love it! Any name with the word monkey attached appeals to me.

    2013 was an awesomely productive year for me. I finished (I think) my memoir and am waiting for family and friends to get back to me with comments (this is taking much longer than I hoped.) I also wrote most of my book proposal, getting stuck on the marketing section because I have no platform. I am in a holding pattern to see if some submissions pan out to give me something to talk about in this marketing section and also for feedback. Then, I’ll submit to agents and if I hear nothing from agents, I’ll have to get a job!

    I started my blog, It has been thrilling to connect with so many other bloggers, and to have a place to work my writing muscle in a variety of forms (fiction, non-fiction, recipes, etc.)

    Regardless of if I end up earning money for my writing, 203 confirmed for me something I’d always hoped to say, but never been brave enough to utter before: I am a writer. That validation is worth more than anything to me, and I am proud of myself for taking this risk.

    Best regards,

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