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A new short story and a flash fiction drafted, and a second short story underway. Over 7,500 new words this year, with my average rising to 509 words/day. The Honorable Mention nod and a personal rejection also came in. The year is off to a good start. I’m still struggling with revisions. I failed my weekly goals this week, getting almost no editing done nor my outline for the Dollhouse essay.

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I felt a little blue this week, grousing over revisions and my sometimes fragile ego. I distracted myself by patiently refreshing the Writers of the Future blog and checking the mail every few minutes, hoping to see some word of the 2009 Q4 results. Well, the list of Honorable Mentions was released before they had a chance to update the blog. “Out of the thousands of stories that get submitted to the contest, a small percentage make it this far,” Wentworth continued.

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When I kicked off the year writing 250 new words a day, I had a plan. A story. An outline, man. I finished that story yesterday. Plus an impromptu flash fiction piece. Today? I have no plan. I have a theme (thank you, upcoming anthology). I have the kernel of a plot and main character. Tonight, I write without my safety net. I’m curious to see what this change in process produces.

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It started with an announcement by Realms of Fantasy (RoF) magazine. A special themed issue. “Girl writers only.” A slight faux pas that was eventually correctly revised and apologized for. In the interim, some people were vocal about their discern that RoF would again make such a slip given the last gender-related fail. Catherine Valente, a well-respected writer, commented on the issue. She noted her take on the problem, and why she would rather see the issue of gender balance addressed in a smart way, not an appease-the-greasy-wheel way.

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When I started out following Booklife and documenting my writing progress, I suspected the first few weeks would either be really easy or really hard. Establishing a habit takes times and it’s easy to make excuses to skip writing. We all hear or use them — I’m too busy, too much day job work, kids/family, etc. Then there’s the Resolutionists, who make a bunch of goals at the beginning of the year and waver after a few weeks.

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Writing It’s really too early to tell how things are going to work out long-term but so far I feel good. Not overwhelmed by keeping my spreadsheets updated or gut checking my short-term goals. I’m right where I want to be. I hope I can say the same thing a week and a month from now. I’m writing a little bit every day. I’ve surpassed my 250 words/day goal.

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On the heels of yesterdays post about Booklife and my personal mission statement, I have added My Booklife to the sidebar. From here, I have posted and will keep updated my public weekly, monthly, 1 year and 5 year goals. I’ve also included my list of career achievements. I’m feeling pretty good about how things are shaping. I’m starting the year with a more or less clean slate; new domain, new blog, and new goals.

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I am horrible with deadlines. In high school I was forced to take a special class on time management because I never turned anything in on time. It’s one of those things that I struggle with on a daily basis. Occasionally I discover something useful that helps, like Things, that help me keep track of the things I need to be doing. The most recent one was Jeff VanderMeer‘s Booklife.

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It wasn’t the best year writing-wise. Eight new stories, one of which was flash and four were “hint fiction”. Two stories from 2008 were edited repeatedly and eventually submitted, both to Writers of the Future. Fifteen submissions, thirteen rejections, and one rewrite request. If my Duotope statistics are accurate, nine were personal rejections (one from a pro market).

Could be worse. 2010 will be much better, though.

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I’m going to try keeping this brief, because there’s not much good to say about two thousand and nine. I’m sure that, many years ahead, I’ll look back upon this year and have kinder words for it: character building, challenging, a turning point. Right now the pain is too close to analyze. I believe the next year will be a turning point. There are many fine tendrils weaving their way towards good things.

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