Writing – a 2013 recap and 2014 plan

My 2013 writing year was a hit and miss affair. I had two flash fiction pieces published at Antipodean SF (The Regersek Zone and Hindsight is a Bitch). Nuke at Antipodean SF has been a great supporter, and I was very pleased to get a couple of pieces done for him.

This year I decided to put my novel writing on hold and focus on a few shorter pieces, to try and get more “end to end” experience of writing something. The result was four pieces in addition to the published two above:

  • 11,000 word fantasy piece that I’m still tinkering with called The Reclaimers.
  • 5,000 word I guess you’d call it urban/modern rural fantasy short story called Showdown.
  • 4,000 word science fiction piece called Wefting the Warp.
  • 600 word flash piece called Learning and Development.

I like all four, but it is fair to say that I have accumulated a lot of rejections on the last three so I don’t think that feeling is shared in the broader publishing community! Still, I’m very happy to have finished some pieces.

2013 was a difficult year work wise and with a few family issues, so my writing fell away a lot, especially towards the end of the year. I wasn’t writing regularly enough and it became more and more difficult to pick up a pen or a keyboard and start typing. Genrecon came along and gave me a good kick in the backside and I’ve had a few weeks off over Christmas to hopefully do some battery recharging. Given I’m going back into work I figure I’m as recharged as I’m going to get, so I’ve decided on the following for 2014:

  1. I don’t like telling people I have 2/3rds of an awful first draft of a novel. It’s a bit embarrassing. I’ve decided that I want to tell people that I have a full crappy first draft of a novel. Getting that last third of the novel out onto paper is a now a goal.
  2. I’m going to rest my short stories for a couple of months and come back at them with fresh eyes. Given the feedback I’ve been getting they are just not good enough but I think I need a little distance before I can pull them apart effectively.
  3. I need to be writing more regularly. I’ve worked out that writing longhand, if I write one page in the notebooks I like to use it equates to about 100 words. I’ve set myself the goal of writing at least one page every day, even if it means staying up a bit later of an evening to do so. As is often the way, one page often turns into 2 or 3 or 10, but I think I’m going to have to keep this “slow and steady” approach or I’m never going to get anywhere.
  4. I’d like to try and get involved with the right writing group – somewhere where I can get feedback of course but also get more of a support network for my writing. Fitting something like a writing group in around my family and work commitments is difficult, but it is something I’d like to make time for. I’ve had some great support from some individual writers out there as well and I’d also like to continue to build that network.
  5. Assuming all this goes to plan, the back half of the year I’d like to spend time editing my crappy novel first draft into a slightly-less-crappy-but-still-crappy second draft.
  6. I enjoy writing the shorter pieces, so I’m hoping a couple more flash fiction stories might find their way onto the Antipodean SF website during the year.

Now, by writing all this down and putting it into the public domain I’m hoping I can embarrass myself into actually following through. So, if you see me around the traps feel free to ask how things are going. If I look shifty and try to distract you by asking if that is Elvis Presley in the corner, you’ll know things aren’t going so well!

Author: mark

A writer of speculative fiction and all round good egg. Well, mostly good. OK, sometimes good.

2 thoughts on “Writing – a 2013 recap and 2014 plan”

  1. Hi Mark,
    Good post.
    We seem to be running in parallel when it comes to writing. I have a fairly similar blog on my page. I'm also out to finish the first draft of my novel. Although, my goals are slightly more ambitious (read impossible).
    What do you think of working out a way to encourage (read push) each other to finish our first drafts. Send me an email if you are interested.

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