ShaneHalbach.com

Writing, Year 5

My writing anniversary is March 1st. Every year on March 1st, I write a post about how the previous year went in terms of writing.

This year:

Stories Written: 8
Number of [Submission-Ready] Words: 18,600
Number of Story Submissions: 93
Number of Rejections: 79
Number of Acceptances: 3
Postage Costs: $4.24
Revenue: $127.82

Total:

Stories Written: 26
Number of [Submission-Ready] Words: 104,600
Number of Story Submissions: 268
Number of Rejections: 252
Number of Acceptances: 5
Postage Costs: $120.83
Revenue: $272.70

First off, let me say that it’s a pain in the rear to calculate all of these things in March instead of January. All the tracking tools are set up for calendar year. I do kind of like the tradition of my “writing anniversary”, but I don’t know if the hassle is worth it. On the other hand, everybody does “year end review” posts about their writing in December or January, but *nobody* does them in March. Market, cornered.

Same caveats as usual. I actually have 2 stories finished, but not quite yet ready to submit, so I’ll take credit for those next year.

First and foremost, I helped adapt a story for the Pulp Stage. That’s not registered under the “acceptances” above, but it’s pretty dang cool and I’m extra proud of that. More acceptances this year than last year too, even though it totalled less money. Lets hope that trend continues to grow.

Got an Amazon author page this year too, which was awesome, and a Goodreads author account. I feel like a real author more and more every day (it’s all about the external validation I tell ya!)

Lots more stories and words than last year, which feels good. I’m excited about almost hitting 100 subs this year! I had no idea it was that high. Obviously more inventory makes more subs easier, so hopefully I will cross the 100 barrier this year. It seems like only yesterday I was celebrating my 100th rejection, and now I’m almost to the point of getting 100 per year.

I will say that in some ways, after a few acceptances, rejections can be harder to swallow. I’m getting acceptances at a rate that, two years ago, I would have killed for (as in, any at all). But now, especially when I get a lot closer, I sometimes feel the sting more keenly. First world problems I guess.

I’ve also (Internet) met so many amazing authors this year. (Especially on twitter. My goodness are you people prolific tweeters! I can do almost nothing except monitor my twitter stream. I’m almost to the point where I’m overwhelmed again.) Many people I aspire to write like, to be like. It seems like any issue of any magazine, any anthology, any random shelf of books has people whom I (Internet) know. That’s kind of crazy. There’s really something to be said for commiserating with people who are in the same boat as you. For so long I did this in solitude, it’s really been a wonderful, eye-opening experience to discover I have this shared experience with other people. I feel like I’ve soaked up so much knowledge just by being around other writers.

I would say that in general I feel like my writing improves quite a bit all the time. Even though I’m still not selling a high percentage of stories (one day I’ll crack a 2% acceptance ratio, mark my words!), I feel like, on the whole, they’re just exponentially better. On the other hand, I was on the verge of trunking a few stories that I went back and re-read, and I still like them quite a bit. So, trunked they were not (others, not so much).

It’s kind of like learning to play guitar. In the beginning, you’re worried about strum and finger positioning and whatnot. It takes all of your concentration to do those things. However, eventually you get to the point where you don’t have to think about those things at all. At that point, you can start to concentrate on other things, maybe trying a more challenging chord or playing a little something extra in between notes. You can’t tackle everything at once; you have to master one skill before you can even think about trying the next one. The good news, however, is that you eventually master things to the point where you feel foolish for ever having struggled with them.

Early on, I had a real problem with endings. I think that I’ve got that down now. I think my beginnings have improved quite a bit, though of course this is something that I think you can always continue to work on. I’ve got planning and outlining down, I think I’m pretty good at pacing and plot, and I think I’ve improved a lot at titles. I can usually pretty reliably guess at the length of an idea, which is something that I really thought was an amazing, if not impossible, skill when I was just starting out.

I think the main thing to focus on in the next year is emotion and characters. This is something I’ve really been thinking a lot about lately. I think I also go very light on description, which might be a weakness, or might just be part of my style, I’m not sure yet. Still, I think I can improve on that as well.

I really do feel a lot more optimism than usual right now about my writing. Perhaps the acceptances have just boosted my confidence more, but I feel optimistic about my chances much more often. Each story I write seems so much better. I really feel like I’m going to have a breakthrough soon as far as getting certain dream markets.

Here’s to hoping!

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2 responses

  1. Pingback: Pen Snob | Is this thing on?

  2. Pingback: Another story sale | Is this thing on?

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