Reaching to Succeed

Blogging is like exercising. If you do it consistently and keep to a schedule of workouts, it becomes routine. But when you break your routine and don’t post to your blog for over a week, getting back is as difficult as dragging your butt back to the gym.

But here I am again, with plans to be less of a stranger going forward.

Since completing NaNoWriMo last month, I’ve been focused on my short fiction, with an ambitious goal of completing and submitting three more stories. That didn’t happen; one awaits a final proofread, I need some time away from the second before its next revision, and the third needs even more time. If I pressed myself, I could still complete the first two by the end of this year… but quality, not quantity, is my primary concern. Which means I’m shutting done the machine of fiction until I return from vacation.

Time now to think about the goal I set for myself early this year for my short stories. After identifying seven stories I’d drafted which I felt had potential, I made the following announcement:

My goal for this year is to revise all seven, and by year’s end begin submitting them to literary journals, genre magazines, fiction contests, online collections — any place that will get my name out there, or at least send a rejection to add to my collection. Party at my place when I reach 100!

Soon after this post, I identified an eighth story draft strong enough to warrant revision. As 2019 winds down, here’s what I’ve accomplished:

  • All eight stories were revised and submitted to either a fiction workshop or writer’s group, and have been further revised after the “peer review” process. Advancing each story to this stage is a signficant accomplishment.
  • Five stories have been completed and submitted
  • Two stories were published in an anthology edited and published by one of my writer’s groups
  • The three stories submitted but not published have garnered 19 rejections so far. Maybe I’ll throw that party sometime this coming summer.
  • I’ll begin submitting the final three in the first quarter of the coming year
  • While I didn’t hit the mark I set for myself, I knew at that time that going from zero completed stories to eight in one year would be a reach. And I now realize how setting the bar so high inspired me to achieve more than I would have had I not been so ambitious.
  • I’ll need to be similarly eager when I set my goals for 2020. But that’s a post for another day, hopefully one not too far into the future.

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