~ Looking Back ~
Who is good at keeping New Year's resolutions? Anybody? Anyone? I didn't think so. The old proverb says, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." When it comes to New Year's resolutions I think most of those intentions are forgotten before the hangover subsides. Perhaps knowing this, Writing Dot Com encourages us write them down and post them up for the world to see in the form of a Dear Me letter. This could be either to humiliate us later when we fail miserably, or because we are writers, take your pick. Whatever the reason, this provides us the opportunity towards the end of the year to dust the list off and see how we've done. This morning I was asked to do just that. I cringed.
Maybe a little background will shed some light on why I found this request so painful. At this time last year I was immersed in the craziness known as NaNowrimo or National Novel Writing Month. I wrote over fifty thousand words in just a month. I let loose, ignoring my inner editor and wrote more on one project than I had ever written before. I was stoked! My confidence was soaring through the roof! But, I was burnt out. Holding down a fulltime job and cranking out 1667 words a night during the holiday season had taken their toll. I thought I just needed a little break.
I took the month of December and most of January off citing the holiday distractions and burnout as excuses. In the last two weeks of January I managed a short eight hundred and sixty five word tale to win that weeks round of The Weekly Quickie and, of course, my aforementioned Dear Me letter. By now you are probably thinking 'that's not too bad, a month and a half off, and it was over the holidays.' Uh huh ... except I didn't write again until July 21st.
It was this I was thinking of this morning when I looked at Shannon's Short Stories NL challenge and cringed. I went back and re-read my Dear Me letter, peeked at my Portfolio, and low and behold, the sun crept from behind the clouds. Maybe my dear friend Giselle saved me by taking over The Weekly Quickie contest, or maybe it was just time. Either way I entered round one of her reign on July 21st and it was like the dam broke. I've wrote fifteen short stories since then. Most have been for The Weekly Quickie, short and sexy, but there have been a few longer pieces mixed in there including a 2nd place entry in The Paradise Cove and an entry to the October Short Shots Contest.
Taking a good look at the goals outlined in "Dear Slacker...err...Me," [13+], this is what I found.
1) I will clear the mental hurdle of the novel and complete one, even if it is only for my satisfaction.
I completed revision on my novelette His Pet, posting up the final thirteen chapters of the tale and making at least one reader, who had been waiting patiently for two and a half years, very happy. I also worked sporadically on my WIP Club Justice that sits at just under twenty thousand words to date.
2) I will enter at least eight contests on the WDC site.
To date I've entered eighteen. Of those eighteen I've placed or rated an honorable mention in twelve, with two others still open for judging.
3) I will submit at least eight items for publication off site.
I've submitted six so far. Three have been accepted for publication in anthologies and three are pending. UPDATE: The other three were accepted to Daily Flashes of Erotica Quarterly Anthology!
4) By the end of the year I will be able to show at least one of my works off in print, or a sheaf of rejection letters telling me what I must improve.
Today I held the anthology, Something from the Attic, in my hands for the first time. Inside its beautiful covers is my short story, "Muse." I can honestly say I am a published author.
When I cringed this morning I thought 2010 was a bit of a disappointment on the writing front, with the exception of my three short stories, none of which were wrote this year, being accepted for print. Doing research for this contest has really opened my eyes and I am amazed at what I have accomplished in what amounts to less than four months. This challenge has encouraged and inspired me. Once again it highlights the finer things about our community.
Shannon 's Short Stories Newsletter Challenge 11/2010
Those of you who entered last year's "Dear Me: Official Contest" [E] ... how did you make out? Did you come close? Send me the link to your 2010 "Dear Me" letter and write me a 1000-word essay (essay can not exceed 1000 words or it will be disqualified) detailing how you either met or fell short of your expectations. The one I like best will receive a Success MB + 50k GPs. Winner will be announced in my next Short Stories Newsletter on December 7. Good luck!