October 1st marked the first day of the first quarter of the Writers of the Future contest and one year since I began to seriously pursue a professional writing career. It’s often good practice in any career to look back over the year to see what progress has been made, both for a sense of accomplishment and to hopefully shed light on where to go next.
My goal before the start of the year was to 1) write six stories (four for Writers of the Future, entering every quarter) and two extra, 2) attend one craft workshop. You’ll notice I didn’t set any goals about publications—that way lies madness. I have no control over whether a magazine will buy my story, all I can control is my output and ensuring it’s the highest quality I can make it, so that’s what I slanted my goals toward.
My progress: I wrote 13 stories, more than twice as much as my goal. Total new fiction word count: 100,148 words. I’m quite happy with that number (particularly since I didn’t have a solid writing routine until halfway through the year). I attended my first workshop: The Character and Voice Workshop by Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch, it was certainly the highlight of my first writing year (soooo much fun [and work]). And I had my very first professional publication!
It was a great first year. Based on some preliminary decisions for the following year I have decided to shift my writing year to the calendar year, instead of the Writers of the Future quarters (although I’m going to continue to entering every quarter). So I have three months of in-between time to gear up for an even better second year. I have yet to sit down and realistically set my second year goals, but I have a rough idea where I’m headed (in fact I’m already taking steps in anticipation for the second year, so exciting!).
It was an excellent first year. I have no reason to suspect the second year won’t be even better. Standby for second year goals, which I’ll roll out sometime in December.