Writing Year in Review

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions.  Somehow it seems that even the fun ones, like the year that I decided that I would do at least three cartwheels every day, fall off after maybe a week.  My soul is contrarian to the core, so setting goals let alone voicing them aloud is something like setting myself up for failure.  But I figure maybe it’s not so bad to do a retrospective on the year.  I’m not setting goals, just reviewing accomplishments.  Maybe it will be a boost going into the new year.

Two marks in the “Yay!” column:

Drafted three short stories, one of which is currently under review.  Short stories are not a new genre for me, I cut my teeth on them (didn’t we all)–but I haven’t really written one in years.  This year though, the ideas just kept flowing.  Dark and twisted ideas, far more disturbing than the novels I have written so far.  Short stories are great because I’ve gotten to wade into my more twisted fantasy and sci-fi imaginings without having to commit to a novel length project. Plus, I finish them far more quickly than a novel, which is a boost when I feel like the novel writing is not going as well (so, umm, 365 and yo 24/7).

I have a really great idea for my next book! However, instead of being sidetracked from my Shifters Novel series as I was with skinless, I am going to table it, let it marinate, and finish my series first.

One mark in the “Keep Truckin'” column:

Still working on the concluding novels to my Shifters Novels series.  I had hoped to have drafted the last two novels in the series this year, but with just 14 days remaining I don’t see that happening (barring a Christmas miracle that is).  Still, I have made great progress and have much more fleshed out outlines for both novels than I had at the beginning of 2014, so that’s a win.

One mark in the “Artistic Crisis of Consciousness” column:

I have always fought the idea of writing fiction with a political agenda while recognizing that writing and the creation of “art” at its core is a deeply political act.  To each writer their own and I acknowledge the long and world-changing history of fiction as propaganda and for a cause, but for me, I’ve always found the idea of writing with an agenda (be it “uplift”, moralizing, or whatever) rather than to tell a story to be a stifling place from which to begin the creative process.  This year, the last few years really, have tested me in this respect.

I am always political and socially aware and I cannot witness travesties and injustices nationally and globally without taking a step back to assess what I am doing, why I am doing it (especially when it seems like such a luxury) and should I be doing things differently.  After much soul searching, I still land on the same side of the fiction as propaganda line, but I more aware than ever of the cultural work that art, be it writing, photography, film, does in the world and I am owning even more that responsibility for the stories I tell.  (If that makes sense.)

What this really means is that I take seriously every story I tell and understand that, regardless of my intent, it can and will shape the ideas of my readers.  I accept that reality for the responsibility that it is, and I try to do right by them.

Four marks in the “Awesome as Hell Author Interviews” column:

Did you see the authors that I wrangled for my NaNoWriMo interviews.  They were awesome.  No, seriously, so awesome.  The end.

Lastly, no marks in the “Sell those books, Dagnabit!” column:

I’ve been so much about the writing, that I’ve slipped on my promotional pimping.  I suppose it can’t be called slipping if it’s a function of a deliberate choice, but still I have missed being at the festivals and the Cons this year.  But I did do Dragon*Con this year, and hopefully I can see the light of day more in the next year.

So how about you?  How was your year in writing?

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