My writing goals for 2021 were pretty modest. And yet…
We’re mumble mumble months/years into a pandemic, and while there’s hope of seeing the other side, there’s been a lot of other things going on in life, the universe, and everything, so I’m trying to be kind with my progress.
Here were the goals:
Finish short stories I’ve started but not completed: I’m only aiming for three new stories out the door this year, but again,I’d like to write at least one of those stories for submission to the online pro markets rather than for open call themed anthologies, as is my usual way.
- Draft and submit a novella.
Read more in general. Read more short stories in particular.
Honestly, better than I expected.
Reading was the star of the first half of the year. I absolutely crushed the book reading in 2021. I doubt I’ll be realistically able to top the number of books read. I read more short stories than any year in recent memory too. Reading definitely helped refill the creative well.
I’ve changed up a few process things that I used for motivators and project management. Using a Trello board to track my projects has started paying off. I finished up four old stories and submitted them to their initial markets. Some of those stories had been languishing for ages, waiting for the right push, so it felt great to get them out the door. I’ve also made good progress on a bunch of other stories. There’s still too many projects sitting half-finished on the old Trello board, but many of those realistically only need a couple weeks of push to get from half finished into a draft I can start properly revising, and then submit.
I outlined the novella, and even started drafting it before other circumstances forced me to set it aside. This was the most planning I’ve put into a shorter project, but it felt necessary to keep the novella from turning into a novel. I hope to get back to it sometime soon, it’s not abandoned, merely delayed.
So much for works in progress. What’s going on with things you can actually read? Three new stories published, one award won, and a reprint publication. Pretty stoked about all of those things.
The first published story of the year is in Rhonda Parrish’s tarot themed anthology, Arcana. (Buy it now on Amazon, Kobo, or Apple. Or ask your local library or independent bookseller to order a copy.) I love “‘Til Death is Done” I think it’s one of the best stories I’ve written yet.
My story “Midnight Man versus Carrie Cthulhu” is in Tyche Books’ Water: Selkies, Sirens, & Sea Monsters anthology, also edited by Rhonda Parrish.
The final new publication of the year is “Lurkers in the Leaves” available in Alternate Plains, from Enfield & Wizenty, courtesy of editors Darren Ridgley and Adam Petrash.
I also had a reprint sale this year! “When the Gods Send You Rats,” which was originally published in Shared World, had a second appearance in Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 3!
The big, fantastic news in short fiction is that my story “All Cats Go to Valhalla” won the Prix Aurora Award for best short story!
All said, not a bad year for short fiction, considering it was a slow start to the writing year. Here’s hoping 2022 will be a productive and rewarding writing year. With that in mind, here’s my writing goals for the new year:
- Finish my grant project (this is the big one. I made some progress in the back half of 2021, but this will have my focus for much of the first half of 2022. I have a significant number of short stories to finish drafting for this to be done, but work is ongoing, if slowed by the pandemic.
- Finish another secret project which I can’t talk about yet, but I’ll let you know as soon as the contract is signed. It’s damn near there! One story left to draft and then some revisions down the pipeline. Hope to be able to announce it soon.
- Draft and submit a novella, either the one I outlined in 2021, or another piece.
- Keep my reading momentum. Since I’m hoping to get a lot of writing done, I’m setting a realistic goal of 50 books and 50 short stories read in 2022.
I really want to get back to writing novels, y’all, but for now, 2022 looks like a year of short fiction. If I hit my goals early, I hope to reward myself with starting a new novel, or returning to an old draft as a stretch goal.