Writing Year in Review: 2019
Aside from publishing “Number Seven and the Life Left Behind,” my thriller novella, I didn’t achieve any writing milestones in 2019. On the other hand, I did write several thousand words in my sci-fi action novel, Riding Through the Dark. I started tearing apart Fearless, my romance novel, and sewing up a more thoughtful outline for it. I also hired an editor to do a developmental edit of my coming-of-age novella, “Finding Mister Wright”, and I started work on revisions there. But I don’t have anything concrete to show for those projects, yet.
Part of my difficulties with meeting goals this past year had to do with work and life interruptions. We can’t help those. One thing I discovered, though, was that my writing mindset increased whenever I got a little win. This usually came in the form of a reaction or comment to some kind of prompt. The tricky part of prompts is that they don’t always mesh with my stories or characters. So, I got to thinking: Why not control that by making my own prompts?
How to Prompt?
There are lots of different kinds of writing prompts: photos, phrases, key words, character traits. I don’t think I could name even most of them, let alone all! I know I need structure for my prompts, as well as variety. When considering which way I wanted to go, and taking into account my habits and style, I knew I couldn’t stick to just one format. Then I thought about time. The year has 52 weeks in it. The alphabet has 26 letters. Every two weeks, I could focus on one letter. That seemed easy, straightforward, and variable enough that I decided to go for it. Get ready for…
Writing in 2020: BonusParts from A to Z
I love writing stories. I also love talking about my stories. Nobody wants to listen, though, which is where this website comes in.
Every 2 weeks or so, I’m going to talk about my stories, from A to Z. The first post will be based on the prompt of “A”, and what “A” makes me think of when it comes to my stories. The next post, I’ll move on to the prompt “B”, and so on. I’m putting no restrictions on what I’ll write: It could be an article, a character sketch, a story excerpt, or some idea I haven’t come up with, yet. I’ll keep my focus to stories finished or already in progress. This is not the time to start completely new stories! I simply don’t have the time, haha.
My hope with this year-long challenge is that readers like you will learn something new about my stories and process, and maybe leave me some feedback. Even if I end up just shouting into the void, I think the more regular attention I’ll need to pay to my stories to keep these prompts going through the year will help me stay on-track with my larger writing endeavors.
What say you, friends and followers? Want to join me on my 26-week writing adventure? What are your writing goals for 2020?
Whenever I feel like I haven’t produced anything in a while, I look at what stories I’ve posted. 2016 might not have been my most prolific year, but I did write – and post – a little bit over 66,000 words, across 22 stories. I’m not including the work I did on the rewrite of my sci-fi adventure story, or all of the back story snippets I hashed out when the editing wasn’t working to my liking, or the starts to stories I scrapped or set aside because I went back to editing and rewrites, because those have not been seen by eyes other than mine. They would also be a lot harder to calculate.
Not a great year for output, but not as poor as I’d originally suspected when thinking back on it.
Not every one of these stories is great, but each one represents a personal effort, and my desire to become a better storyteller. If I had to pick a favorite, I know which one I’d choose…but I won’t say because a parent playing favorites is not a good thing. 😉
For those of you who took time out of your lives to read any of these, and especially to those folks who let me know what they thought, thank you from the depths of my artist’s heart. Hearing that I’ve touched, amused, or entertained someone else with these stories keeps me going day after day.
What was your 2016 year in writing like? Any surprises, challenges, or turnarounds? Here’s looking forward to a strong 2017 in all of our writing goals!
Here’s my list of posted story words for the year 2015:
The majority of my story writing through January and February was finishing up my 2014 NaNoWriMo endeavor, Highs, Lows, and In-Betweens, which I’m currently editing for another free book. March was a bad month, so we won’t go there. April brought a return to form a little bit, but I made a concerted effort in May to focus on getting back into my game, by writing and posting a vignette per day, which definitely went a long way toward restoring my good feelings about writing. I managed to keep on through the second half of the year despite very little feedback, proof that I don’t need an audience to keep me interested in my characters and universes, a trait I’m finding increasingly more valuable the more I go back and edit my work. Make no mistake: I love feedback, but my stories don’t generate much of it. Despite that, I wrote and posted just over 150,000 story words in 2015. Not bad for a no-talent hack.
While I know that the numbers truly don’t mean anything, they do represent my honest effort over time to craft words into theme, plot, and dialogue that resonates. And posting them is a public prod for me to keep developing my skills, in a way that keeping these stories in a desk drawer could never do. Not every story will resonate to the same degree, of course, not even for me…but every single one of them is a tiny piece of myself that I’ve put out there for folks to read and – just maybe – enjoy.
Sharing stories is one of the biggest reasons why I write. I take a lot of comfort and joy in thinking them up and writing them down, but when I hear that someone else has read and found joy in one of my stories, that’s a feeling like no other. That’s why I think it’s so important for us to share our stories, whether we publish our books for a global audience or we just click the “Add attachment” button to send it along to a friend.
Everyone’s writing goals are different, and everybody’s stories are going to be different. But every story made with honesty, care, and love is worth sharing. We might not think so because we see our own writing all of the time, and it can often start to look the same. But what makes our stories unique is that they’re ours, and no one else can craft that story in the exact same way that we can do.
For the coming year, I wish for you many words of the good and precious kind, and, if you haven’t yet done so, the courage to press Publish or Send on a story of your making.
What was your 2015 Year of Writing like?
Apparently, WordPress has monkeys working for them, to calculate my 2014 statistics. That sounds about right, I think.
This was a weird year for me. I wouldn’t want to repeat it, but I definitely learned a lot. The one thing this recap post doesn’t recognize is that I actually did a lot of writing this year. In fact, all of my “Finding Mister Wright” vignettes were written in this year alone! That’s eight little stories, in all!
Thank you to everyone who stayed with me through this year. I won’t name names because that’s not very fair, but please know that I’m grateful for every look, like, and comment you’ve sent my way, because those little gestures have always made me feel not so alone.
I hope to be more productive in the year to come, and I hope that you’ll join me for it!
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 28 trips to carry that many people.
Click here to see the complete report.