We’re just a few short days away from a new year, which is always a good time to reflect on the past year. So settle in for my 2017 Year in Review.
About 14 months ago, I resolved to take my writing more seriously. I began writing flash fiction and submitting to Splickety, using their prompts and deadlines as motivation to actually write and finish some stories. And I’m happy to say that looking back on 2017, there’s been some great results.
Even though the main focus of this post looks at my writing/reading through a quantitative lens, I know that writing should ultimately be judged on quality. But that doesn’t detract from the satisfaction of attaching a number to these somewhat arbitrary-yet-related data points and using that to measure my commitment over the past year.
And with that caveat, here are the numbers:
- Words written (stories, blog posts, and book reviews): 15,301*
- Stories written: 9
- Stories submitted: 8
- Stories published(!): 2
- Blog posts published: 16 (counting this one)
- Books read: 17
*As a marketing writer, I’ve certainly written more than this, but this number just measures words related to creative writing.
There you have it — my creative writing stats from 2017! Probably the craziest surprise of the year was being super blessed and humbled to see two stories published by Splickety. (I almost feel like that’s a bonus stat since it’s not something I have total control over.) If you haven’t yet, do check out “Journal of Wonders” on their website and “Lunar Eclipse” in their October issue (also on Amazon)!
Even starting this blog has been a great experience, both in terms of motivating me to write something (however small) every week and tinkering around with building a website. I wouldn’t be surprised if it continues to evolve in 2018 — as long as it takes a backseat to actual writing.
It’s been quite a year of change, and I hope it’s just the beginning of a long, fun journey. So many friends (and especially my loving, long-suffering wife) have encouraged me in this, and I’m honored and grateful to have received so much support. And of course, I want to you thank YOU for reading this blog post as I continue to figure all this out. 2018 looks like it’s going to be pretty interesting.
See you then!
As we’re heading into a new year, I’ve started thinking about what I’d like to accomplish in terms of writing in 2018. I’ve never big been on resolutions, but I think these are good goals to pursue to help strengthen my writing. They’re loosely arranged in order of priority, but not necessarily in the order that I’ll tackle them.
- Set aside a consistent weekly time to write. This is the basis for all the other goals. Right now, I don’t have a time of the week dedicated to (personal, creative) writing. Life gets — and will always be — busy, but if I want to take my writing more seriously, I feel like I need to give it the time and space it deserves.
- Submit a flash fiction piece for every Splickety prompt. Already ⅙ of the way done! I didn’t quite achieve this over the past year, but it definitely got me writing on a much more regular basis. You can see the full list (getting a sneak peek at some potential stories!) here.
- Publish a blog post every week. Depending on how things go, this could be the toughest goal. It won’t be enough to just write something every week — I’ll need to come up with some form of content that’ll work as a blog post. On my secret blog I would just do weekly status updates, but for this one, I want to write more posts of actual substance.
- Submit one short story to another publication. Flash fiction is great, but this year I want to expand into slightly longer stories. I’ve done a little research into short fiction markets, but not nearly enough to say exactly which one I’m most interested in. I’m also not sure whether the better course of action is to pick a publication and write a story targeted to them or to write a story based on a preexisting idea, and then shop it around.
- Complete a narrative-driven game. This one may be a stretch, but I really want to try my hand at writing a game! There’s actually a decent number of systems out there that make word-driven game writing quite accessible. The one I’m mostly to attempt is Twine (essentially a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure creator), but there’s also StoryNexus, InkleWriter, ChoiceScript, and probably plenty of others that I haven’t heard of yet.
There you go — my goals for 2018. One thing that I’ve intentionally chosen with these is to not pick a goal that’s beyond my control, such as being published in a publication. After all, why create a goal that ultimately depends on other people? (The thought of setting a goal to grow my following/brand crossed my mind — and I’m sure there are steps I can take to do that — but it still feels beyond something that I can do on my own power.)
It feels really good to have these written down, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they drive the theme of future blog posts. But for now, they’re just here as a reminder to help me focus on a select few things and keep writing!