poetigress: (Default)
They say the first step of keeping your resolutions is to look back on what worked and didn't worked in the past year's resolutions. With that in mind, I figured I'd do a recap of my 2011 writing goals.

1. Finish at least one short story per month.
This worked pretty well until summertime, when I wound up focusing on my novel revision plus my Camp NaNoWriMo novel, and never got my short story rhythm back. It still strikes me as a very reasonable goal -- as long as I'm not trying to write a novel at the same time. That said, it's getting more and more frustrating trying to sell short stories to magazines, so I think 2012 is going to be more about longer forms of writing for me.

2. Submit to at least three markets on my "someday" list.
Accomplished this with no problems. Didn't get accepted by any of them, but at least got a couple of encouraging rejection letters that made me feel as if the goal of being published in another professional-level magazine isn't totally out of reach. :)

3. Put at least one long short story/novella up for sale on Smashwords.
Done. You can find "Real Dragons Don't Wear Sweaters" both at Smashwords and in Amazon's Kindle store.

4. Work on my website (add bio, sample stories and poems, etc).
Websites are always a work in progress, of course, but as far as the website serving as an online portfolio where people can get a better idea of who I am and what I write, plus a way to find out where they can get more of what I write, things are pretty well set up. From here on out, it's going to be adding and tweaking, instead of flat-out building.

5. Create enough visual art/craft items to be able to finally open an Etsy shop.
This is the only one that I didn't get much done on. I did sign up for Etsy and even spent a few hours putting a banner together for the shop, but I only made one greeting card, and then art kept getting pushed to the side in favor of writing projects. I'd still like to get back into art again, especially the little sorts of things that would sell on Etsy, so I'm tempted to carry this goal over into this year. At the same time, though, I'm finding that art can be frustrating for me these days because my skills aren't where they need to be, and as much as I try to tell myself to just draw things for myself and get a feel for it again, at this point I feel more accomplishment and satisfaction by using my creative energy for writing.

2012 goals coming soon...
poetigress: (Default)
Well, by now I'm down to two goals for the year: Finish at least one short story per month, and open an Etsy shop. I have a feeling the Etsy shop goal is going to be put on hold until fall, and if things go well, I'm going to be focused more on novels than short stories during the second half of the year. So with all that in mind, I think my goals check-ins are going to be less list-oriented and more just taking stock of where things are and what's on the horizon.

I worked on a few different short stories in June (and got a couple of the drafts I finished earlier this year polished and submitted), but I didn't get any stories fully completed by the end of the month. There were two good reasons for this, though: first, I started working full-time as a medical transcriptionist instead of part-time (meaning I now spend eight hours a day at the computer instead of four), and second, I spent a big chunk of June getting the last revisions done on my novel By Sword and Star. The extra hours of work time sapped my energy for a couple weeks before I adjusted, and the novel took up most of the rest.

As far as the rest of this year goes, as I just mentioned in my earlier post, I'm planning on doing Camp NaNoWriMo in August, with a book concept called The Second Life of Bartholomew T. Lion. If that doesn't completely burn me out, I'd really like to also do the regular NaNo in November, to complete a first draft of my second furry novel, working title Huntress. This has wound up being a very lousy year for me so far in terms of publishing short stories, so I'm putting the focus on creation for the rest of the year, and I would love to be able to close out 2011 with one novel published and two others with completed first drafts. We'll see...
poetigress: (spirit star)
1. Finish at least one short story per month. Total completed: 1

The month of May kind of slipped by when I wasn't looking. Or, to be more precise, when I was reading and sending out submissions. >_< My current work in progress is being stubborn and taking a lot longer than expected to come together. I think I've figured out what's supposed to happen, but I still feel like I'm missing a piece or two.

2. Put at least one long short story/novella up for sale on Smashwords. Done! Separate announcement coming in a bit, to cross-post to LJ. (Okay, okay, yeah, I uploaded that novelette today, not last month. But I'm counting it anyway.)

3. Open an Etsy shop. Next step on this one is going to be hauling the old printer/scanner/copier out of the box and seeing if it still works after a couple years in the basement, since it's going to be a lot nicer to use scans of my art and not digital photos.
poetigress: (Default)
1. Finish at least one short story per month. Total completed: 1

I would have liked to say "3" instead, but the two other works-in-progress I was working on in April just didn't want to be completed that easily. :/

Not my most productive month in terms of writing, but I did get a few submissions sent out, and I did quite a bit of reading in April, including The Autobiography of Mark Twain, The Wise Man's Fear (finally!), and The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore (eh). (For more on my recent reading, find me on Goodreads.)

The completed draft for April was a short folktale-type piece that I may not do anything with; we'll see after some time has passed.

2. Put at least one long short story/novella up for sale on Smashwords. Almost there. Since "Real Dragons Don't Wear Sweaters" wound up coming in over 10K words, its potential markets were few, so after getting the obligatory form rejections from those markets, I've decided to start off strong and make it my first Smashwords offering. Right now, the story is ready to go, and I'm working on commissioning the cover art. I have, at least, registered on Smashwords.com and gotten the story text formatted according to their guide, so the art is the main thing left to square away.

3. Open an Etsy shop. Still nothing on this one, though I'm starting to feel like fooling around with some ACEOs.

The other cool thing for April, of course, was Bewere the Night being released. If you haven't checked it out yet, you can find it on Amazon here and Goodreads here.
poetigress: (Default)
1. Finish at least one short story per month. Total completed: 2 (Technically, I could say two and two-thirds, since I'm almost done with another one, but it's on hold for a few days while I figure out how everything fits together.)

This month's two completed drafts were ones that I've had in progress for... a couple years now, so it feels good to finally get them done. They need some polishing up, but the pieces are all there, anyway, and I should be able to start sending them out by the end of this month. One is a lighthearted fantasy piece called "Real Dragons Don't Wear Sweaters," about a pet dragon wanting to be a real, wild dragon instead of being cute and fuzzy and pink, and the other, currently titled "Best of Breed," is a somewhat grittier piece told from the perspective of an anthro female cat and explores the relationship she has -- or doesn't have -- with her male human handler.

I'm really happy with how "Dragons" turned out -- I love the characters, I love the humor I was able to use, and I feel like it's one of my best stories in recent months. "Best of Breed" has been trickier, and as I've worked on it I've had to keep shoving away the potential criticisms popping up in my mind (predictable, cliched, confusing, whatever). Whatever editors and readers wind up thinking about it, at least I've finished the draft, and it might clean up better than I think, anyway.

2. Put at least one long short story/novella up for sale on Smashwords. Working on it. That two-thirds story I mentioned in #1 is a novellette/novella (depending on what its word count winds up at) called "Signal," and that's the draft I'm planning to be my first Smashwords offering (not counting a story or two I'll put up for free just to test everything out).

The biggest problem at the moment is that, while I know how I'll want the cover art to look, I don't have a lot of spare cash right now to commission a really good artist to do it, and I don't have the skills or the tools to do it myself (since I really want it digitally colored, instead of traditional media). But I'm planning to ask around, since there may be very good artists willing to do the work for less than I'm expecting. *shrug* (Another consideration is that I'm hoping to eventually make a profit, even a tiny one, from selling stuff on Smashwords, and the more I pay upfront for cover art commissions, the more copies I have to sell just to break even. I wish I had more artist friends...)

3. Work on my website. I'm counting this one as done. This was my biggest priority for March, and all the main pages are there now. At this point it's just going to be an ongoing project, adding things, tweaking things, improving layouts, and so on. (Eventually the poetry page may have poems on separate pages with internal navigation, and I'll be adding a few more stories and probably putting up PDF versions for download.)

My newest online project will now be learning how to navigate and figuring out what to do with my Goodreads page, where I just signed up a few days ago. I'm still learning how to use the site, but it looks like fun, even if it also looks like it has the potential to take up a lot of time if I'm really trying to catalogue everything I'm reading or want to read. :)

In a way, it feels a little like I'm putting the cart before the horse since I don't have a book to promote yet (my Goodreads author page is there courtesy of short stories in New Fables, an annual anthropomorphic journal/anthology). But all in all, I think I'd rather get comfortable with a place like that before I have something to promote, because I don't want to be one of those people who suddenly shows up in social media trying to shill their book seventeen different ways to anybody who'll listen, and winds up coming off as somebody who's just there to sell stuff.

Speaking of selling stuff...

4. Open an Etsy shop. No work on this one for March. It's hard for me to have enough energy to spread over writing and art both, so I tend to shift back and forth from one to the other.

Overall, I'm satisfied with this month. Of course I would have liked to get more drafts completed, but these were both long (and long overdue), so I'm still happy with what I've gotten done. At some point I guess I'm going to have to accept that I just don't churn things out as quickly as others do, except in rare cases where everything clicks.
poetigress: (Default)
"A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline." -Harvey Mackay

1. Finish at least one short story per month. Total completed: 1 (Would have been 2, but I still have a few more scenes to finish up today...)

February's completed draft is a short piece I hope to send in for the Anthrocon 2011 conbook. So far the first half of the story is pretty decent and the second half is crap, but at least I have until April to whip it into shape or write something better. I haven't been trying to publish in conbooks lately, but with Peter S. Beagle as one of the guests of honor this year, I'd kinda like to be in this one.

2. Submit to at least three markets on my "someday" list. Sent submissions to two more of those markets this month, so I can officially cross this one off the list (yeah, I set the bar a little low with this goal, but I figured I have to have something on this list that's easy). Got a form rejection from one, and waiting for a response from the other.

3. Put at least one long short story/novella up for sale on Smashwords. Still nothing on this one yet, but once I'm done with my current WIP, the next project may be one that winds up there.

4. Work on my website. Wrote a brief intro paragraph for the homepage, and decided what else needed to go there. I'm hoping Jeff and I can get some work done on it this weekend (he's handling the HTML).

5. Open an Etsy shop. Registered on Etsy (as "inkstripes"). I haven't actually opened the shop, though, since right now I would only have 1 item to sell. >_< I have a sketch done for a greeting card, though, and it's a simple design that shouldn't take long to finish.
poetigress: (Default)
1. Finish at least one short story per month. Total completed: 1 (flash, but complete) Would have done more, but the first half of the month was given over almost entirely to the Sketchbook Project, and then most of the rest of it was spent researching/planning a novella-length story.

2. Submit to at least three markets on my "someday" list. Sent a submission to one of those markets this month. Got a form rejection back, which was a little disappointing (I was expecting a rejection, but hoping for a personal one), but oh, well. Will keep trying them, and the others on that list.

3. Put at least one long short story/novella up for sale on Smashwords. Nothing done on this one yet, though the new project might work for this.

4. Work on my website. Wrote the rough draft of my bio page the other day. I'm still figuring out how detailed/personal I want it, as opposed to just being something more straightforward and professional. That said, website building will kick into high gear next month -- I want at least all the basic pages up and running by the end of March, so it's ready by the time Bewere the Night is released.

5. Create enough visual art/craft items to be able to finally open an Etsy shop. Nothing on this one yet, but it's kind of on the back burner anyway. I certainly did enough visual art for the month, though. :)

All in all, not bad considering that I was frantically trying to fill a Moleskine Cahier with art up until the 18th, and then spent the rest of the month planning out the new novella. Once the first draft of that is done, I'll let it cool and get back to knocking out some of the half-finished short stories lying around.
poetigress: (Default)
Reposted from a November entry, with some updates and changes...

1. Finish at least one short story per month. (This can include completing current works in progress or finishing something new. Generally, "finish" should mean "complete the story to the point that it's ready to send out to editors," but I might make exceptions depending on how many rewrites, how long the drafts are, any major unforeseen life events, and so on.)

2. Submit to at least three markets on my "someday" list. (This is a list of, currently, seven markets that I would like to have my short fiction published in eventually. Note that I do not say "get accepted to" any of these, since I have no control over that other than doing my best on the stories and then getting the submissions out there.)

3. Put at least one long short story/novella up for sale on Smashwords. (I think I know which story I'll start with. The draft is about two-thirds complete from NaNoWriMo 2009, though what I have probably needs some structural/pacing work.)

4. Work on my website. (Got a few pages built over the weekend, and starting to figure out how the homepage will look.)

5. Create enough visual art/craft items to be able to finally open an Etsy shop. (Admittedly, this goal is starting to feel less important compared to the writing ones, but I don't want to forget about it entirely.)

I managed to get one last acceptance before 2010 closed out -- my story "Swear Not By the Moon" was accepted (as a reprint) to the anthology Bewere the Night. I'll make a separate post in a bit with a quick rundown of links for 2010's acceptances/publications, even though it's somewhat depressing to me because it's quite a bit shorter and less varied than I'd like it to be.

Which brings me to my overarching writing resolution for the year: Complain less, create more. Regrettably, I'm beginning to get the same sort of impression of fellow writers that the screech owl in Bambi has about relations: "If they're bigger than you, you can't bear them because they're proud, and if they're smaller they can't bear you because you're proud." I recognize that I spend too much time feeling inadequate about what I'm able to do or publish compared to others, or about what other people want to read/publish/buy, and for this year I need to work on keeping my focus on my own work and on what I truly want to do, instead of worry about everybody else's stuff and how much better they're doing at all of it than I am. Obviously, this isn't so much a writing thing as a personality thing (I've always been prone to envy and what I suppose you'd call envy-induced depression), but I can at least make an effort.

For now, though, I have to turn the focus to visual art. My sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project has to be postmarked by the 15th of this month, and true to form, I have procrastinated until almost the last possible moment. (Procrastinators of the world, unite whenever you get around to it! Maybe next week! If we feel like it!) Add in an art commission that's been stalled and overdue for weeks (the commissioner is a saint for being this patient with me, really), and I'll likely be spending the rest of this month in a flurry of pencil and pastel and watercolor and whatever else I can find to stuff into this thing, plus finishing the commissioned piece. My husband tells me I do my best work under this sort of pressure. I can only hope he's still right. At any rate, the deadline gives me an excuse to just do whatever comes into my mind and not worry so much about it being perfect or even that good, which is what I need right now.
poetigress: (spirit star)
Okay, it's a little early, but this year has sucked so much that I'm preferring to just skip the end-of-year introspection and start looking ahead.

1. Finish at least one short story per month. (This can include completing current works in progress or finishing something new. I'm still debating whether "finish" should mean "complete a draft from beginning to end" or "complete the story to the point that it's ready to send out to editors." I'm leaning toward the latter, but that's going to depend on how many rewrites, how long the drafts are, and so on -- so it might end up meaning the former instead.)

2. Submit to at least three markets on my "someday" list. (This is a list of, currently, about seven or eight markets that I would like to have my short fiction published in eventually).

3. Put at least one long short story/novella up for sale on Smashwords.

4. Work on my website (add bio, sample stories and poems, etc).

5. Create enough visual art/craft items to be able to finally open an Etsy shop (once I figure out what to call it).

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Renee Carter Hall

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