I don’t think I can say much about 2015 without touching on 2014. Without going into detail, that year was terrible on many fronts, and the further I get from it, the worse it looks. I spent a large chunk of it thinking I would never write again, and that wasn’t melodrama or self-indulgence, but the clear trajectory things were taking.
I did write again, of course, and I even wrote a couple of things that year that I was very proud of, but my work really suffered. My routine was shot. My focus was a disaster. Half my sentences were completely incoherent, and even basic grammar seemed to escape me.
The reason I’m giving this background is this: 2015 may not have been filled with dazzling successes. The year had its ups and downs, in life as well as writing. I stalled badly on a couple of projects, and I’m still not selling fiction at the level or the rate I’d hoped to be by now. But it’s been a year in which I’ve picked up the pieces of my baby writing career and somehow shoved them back together. Sometimes with strategy, sometimes with help, more often than not how I always did jigsaws – by applying brute force to the pieces until they somehow fitted together.
(I ruined a number of jigsaws.)
And, you know, the picture may not be quite what it should be, but the edges are in the right space and you can tell which part is sky and which is land. That’s progress.
Enough with my dubious metaphors. Here’s some of what I did in 2015:
- Had a short story, “Puppetry” – arguably my favourite short to date – published in the Accessing the Future anthology.
- Graduated with my MA!
- Attended Reconnaissance. Regular readers will know that that was a mixed experience, but I enjoyed hanging out with friends and attending some good panels and talks.
- Made my first foray into self-publishing, beginning with a novelette, Invisible City, which was followed by a novella, Liquid City.
- Somehow signed myself up to co-chair a convention.
- Joined a critique group. It’s been a while since I’ve been a member of an active critique group and it’s been so, so good for me, not just in terms of feedback but in re-establishing a routine.
- Read some books – not as many as I’d hoped, but books worth reading just the same.
- More significantly, I got back into the habit of reading short stories on a regular basis. I’d got into a spiral where I was trying to review them, then getting stressed about it, and ended up almost stopping reading shorts for a while. This year I cut back, aimed for one short a day and tweeting a link, no reviews. I didn’t manage it every day, but I’d say I read a couple of hundred, which was really, really worth doing.
- Spent three weeks in North America, attended ReaderCon (which was amazing), met some writer friends in person and made some new ones.
- Had a novelette, Bree’s Dinosaur, published by Paper Road Press.
- Wrote a bunch of short stories.
- Made 28 short story submissions.
- Set up, and published two issues of, a new magazine, Capricious.
- Sold a story to the At The Edge anthology.
- Made some progress – albeit slow – on two novels.
- Resigned from my day job and embarked on a career change.
I signed off my first post with a request to the year: “Don’t be shit, ok? I have things to do.” 2015 has been tough in places (mostly with dealing with the results of 2014 (have I mentioned I hate 2014?) and a couple of other years) but overall it was not shit, and stuff got done.
I’m good with that.