Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010, everyone!

So it's the year 2010 A.D. We're living in the future. The far future, at that. Far from my childhood, at least. I distinctly remember lying bed one night, having watched a television special about the (then) unimaginably distant year 2000, and all the technological wonders it would hold. I remember calculating how old I'd be in the year 2000, and was slightly shocked--and more than a little horrified--to realize I'd be OLD. At least, from the perspective of a child who was only ten at the time.

The year 2000 is now a decade behind us, and I don't feel old. But then, I suspect I'll always feel like that child on the inside, no matter how old I look on the outside.

But, anyhow. 2009.

In 2009 I Got Serious about writing. Starting if February or March, I began working at writing stories on a regular basis and sending them out. At the end of April, I was handed my walking papers by my employers of fifteen years. After consulting with my spouse, much of which occurred during a weekend at the coast, we decided that we could afford to let me pursue the goal of being a professional writer.

To that end, in the year 2009, I completed 18 stories and sent them out. I have received 24 rejections, have 9 stories outstanding (no response yet), and sold 5, all to Cobblestone Press. I also wrote a 50,000 word novel for National Novel Writing Month. It was my first novel, but it won't be my last.

For 2010 my intent is to continue writing short stories--to write, finish, and submit one story per week, and to keep the stories in circulation until they sell, or until I exhaust all the markets, whichever comes first for a given story.

In addition, I've set the goal of writing three novels this year. And, again, with the intent to write, finish, and submit them to at least five publishers each, and when/if a given publisher rejects my query, to send the rejected novel to another publisher. And to continue doing so until either the novel sells, or I run out of publishers.

It's a numbers game, really. If you're a halfway decent writer, you can sell your work if you're persistent. The trick is to write a lot, finish what you write, and keep it out there, where editors can see it and decide to buy it. You have to be willing to face rejection--everyone gets rejected. Even the biggest of big name writers get rejected; it never stops. But if you're focused on writing the next project, and the next, and keeping the work in circulation is just part of the job, rejections don't sting so much.

It's like being a salesman. Or a world-class home run hitter. The salesmen who get a lot of yeses get a lot more nos. Babe Ruth struck out far more often than he hit homers, but if he wasn't swinging for the fences, he'd never have made all those home runs. So this year is the Year of the Numbers.

Lots of stories written.
Lots of stories finished.
Lots of stories submitted.
Lots of stories kept in circulation until they sell.

I hope "Lots of stories sold" will be at the end of that list on January 1, 2011. But that part isn't in my control. Everything on that list IS in my control. So that's the part I'll be focusing on.

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