Writing

2014 Year in Review

2014 is slowly drawing to a close, so it’s about time I did my annual “year in review” blog post!  The end/start of the year is a great time to reevaluate my progress, my goals, to remember how far I’ve come and how far I have yet to go. So enough chatter, here we go!

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The Numbers

In 2014…

  • I received 117 rejections (according to Duotrope, the true number may be a bit higher).  That’s 26 more than last year, which is exciting.  Exciting?  Yes!  I love my rejection stats.  It’s the mark of how hard I tried.  They’re my war wounds, the scars I touch to remember how consistently I fought.  (Okay, that’s a bit over-the-top maybe, but I’m a writer–that’s my job!)
  • I sold 7 stories (+1 or 2 if you count anthologies I was invited to submit to).  This is a noticeable decline from last year when I sold 17.  This number makes me a little sad, but it’s an area I can work on this year.
    • 2 of those stories went to pro markets–Shimmer and Apex.
    • 4 of those stories went to semi-pro markets–Spark and Every Day Fiction
    • While the numbers here are lower than last year, I’d like to note that last year I sold 9 stories to Token markets. I’d like to thing the large downtrend in story sales has something to do with rarely submitting to Token markets anymore.
  • I sent out 137 submissions (possibly a few more).  That’s 7 more than last year.  Interesting to see how this number remained about the same!
  • I had 9 stories published this year (as opposed to 22 last year). Another decline, but not one that bothers me much.  I think this can also be attributed to submitting less to Tokens.  (That said, i could just have really missed the mark this year!)

The Experiences

In 2014…

  • I wrote one flash piece every week for almost the entire year.
    • This is in thanks to meeting up with a local writer, having lunch, and giving each other writing prompts every week.  Give or take a few weeks here or there due to sickness, travel, etc, and I wrote somewhere close to 45 flash pieces over the course of the year.
  • I completed Story-a-Day May for the fourth year in a row.
    • I wrote 32 stories over the 31 days in the month of May…
    • …For a total of 57,514 words (a bit of a decrease from last year).
    • I’ve sold one of those stories so far.  Many of them are out on submission currently; I hope to up this number soon.
  • I drafted a novel.
    • No, really, this short-story-writing son-of-a-gun drafted a YA Science Fantasy novel over the course of about two months.
    • It maxed out at 93,000 words
    • I still have not edited it. In fact, I’m considering abandoning the story all-together, but a good writing friend has offered to read it and see if it’s worth salvaging.
    • Either way, I’m still damn proud about the whole outlining and drafting process!
  • I started reading submissions for Bastion, in addition to continuing work at Plasma Frequency.
    • While I only got to work with Bastion for a few months before they had to temporarily (I hope!) close, it was such an honor and learning experience, as well as a good old fun time.  I’m hoping the magazine can get back in action eventually as I really believe in this magazine.  It puts out amazing stories, incredible art, and has one heck of an awesome Editor-in-Chief–R. Leigh Hennig–that I’m proud to know.  So if you haven’t yet, go check out their previous issues.  I swear, you won’t be disappointed.
  • I got my first guest-editing gig.
    • What the heck does that mean? Well, it means the excellent editor of Plasma Frequency, Richard Flores IV, trusted Molly N. Moss and I enough to let us co-edit a special issue of the magazine.  We’re currently nearing the end of our themed submission call, looking for “Anti-Apocalypse” submissions.
    • This has been an utterly fascinating journey and I’m really happy with how it’s going so far.  I’ve learned so much about how editorial tastes can differ and about how supportive the writing community can be (thanks for spreading the word about our sub call, guys!).

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Comparison to Previous Years

  • 2010 Story Sales: 3
  • 2011 Story Sales: 14
  • 2012 Story Sales: 19
  • 2013 Story Sales: 17
  • 2014 Story Sales: 7

This tells me most of all that the writing journey is not a straight line sometimes.  It’s up and down and side-to-side.  It’s an adventure and I couldn’t be happier with how things went this year.


 

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Last year, I listed one specific goal:

Once again, my goal is to sell to a pro market, well-established: something like Shimmer or Nightmare or Daily Science Fiction.

And I’m happy to say, I reached that goal by selling “Be Not Unequally Yoked”–probably the best story I’ve ever written–to Shimmer.  The sale to Apex was delicious icing on a delicious cake.

As I begin to move into next year, I grow contemplative. I thought today about how the journey of a writer is without end.  I firmly believe that you never reach “the top,” that there’s always another step ahead.  And that’s what makes it so addicting to me.  There’s the constant thrill of achievement, the daily struggles and frustrations that fade when you finally reach a goal, there’s always something ahead yet to learn.

I think that the writer’s journey resembles a really awesome RPG.  You’re constantly unlocking new abilities, leveling up your craft, failing and starting over again, and making amazing friends along the way.  I love being a writer.  It’s one of the few things about myself that I know with utter certainty: down to the very core of me, I am a writer.

2015 lies ahead.  Who knows what it has in store.  My goal this year is to keep attacking the pro markets.  I aim to crack another of my dream markets: Nightmare, Lightspeed, or Shock Totem.  Maybe I will, and maybe I won’t. I guess you’ll have to stay tuned to find out.

~Alexis

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8 thoughts on “2014 Year in Review

  1. You spent two months working on a novel – that may have had something to do with the decline in story sales this year. You wrote some really good stories for the Story-a-Day challenge; I’m sure you’ll be able to sell those stories when you find the right home for them. I look forward to seeing what you produce in 2015. Happy holidays!

  2. I seriously just stalked you to your website! For real. I got up this morning and opened my e-copy of Shimmer. I scanned the TOC waiting for a title to catch my attention–“Be Not Unequally Yoked” grabbed it immediately. I started reading and could not stop. A twisty, turny story, I had no idea where it was going or where it would end. Incredible skillful storytelling! Your writing was as light as a feather, never ever getting in the way of the story–awesome work on that. I fell in love with the characters, their relationships, and their journey. (And the names were a wonderful reminder of home for me. I spent over half my life attending a Mennonite church.) Then I read the interview and noticed your name. Of course I’ve seen your name before. I’ve read you at EDF, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen you around some of the blogs and sites I visit. Anyway, just wanted to tell you I loved your story. I found it inspiring as a writer and deeply moving as a reader. Wishing you the best in 2015.

    1. Yvonne, thank you so much for stalking me to my website! ^_^ Your amazingly kind words and the time you took to find me and deliver them really mean so much to me. Wishing you the happiest of New Years!

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