So, I’m going to do something different with this writing update and talk about how I started writing. I honestly haven’t given it much thought, so this is as good as any to wax a bit on that escalation of events.
This was also partly inspired by a friend who recently gave an update on FB about his own word count and how it’s impacted him of the course of the year, so I wanted to take some time and think about this myself along with seeing where my stats have landed.
Now for some some cold hard stats thus far! I’ve already surpassed my submission goal (50) for this year, thanks to multiple micro fiction calls, which I’ve taken advantage of.
My breakdown is this so far:
I’m currently waiting on six pending submissions(at the time of writing this). I’ve submitted 59 times with 24 rejections and 29 acceptances.
Now, the acceptances are only so high, because I’ve been submitting a ton of micro fiction to markets that publish in high volume. Not trying to discredit these numbers, but just trying to make sure people understand the reality of this. I’m hoping to boost this to 75+ submissions total by the end of the year, with at least 10 more short story submissions going out.
All in all not too shabby, but this may slow down as we go into the fall, since I will be gearing up for NANOWRIMO and the novella, while also planning on working on some stories for my bucket list markets. I’m still kicking around ideas for another novel next year, since I think it’s time to dust off my long form writing, but that’ll have to wait until the spring.
According to my writing tracker that I have set up with some friends, I have written 93k+ words this year(so far). This includes all outlining, free writing, rough drafts and revision I’ve done creatively. This excludes any nonfiction I’ve done and my blog posts.
Anyway, enough with the cold hard numbers and onto the reflection!
The first time I can remember writing is when I was in 3rd grade. We were given an assignment around Halloween to write a short story. What morphed out of that assignment was this massive fan fiction that spanned every possible fandom/childhood fascination you can imagine, from Lord of the Rings to dinosaurs, this story had it all. It revolved around my friends and I and adventuring into a mountain that had various portals to these different fandoms/realms.
What ended up happening was that this strange mixture of work ended up evolving as my writing became more directed and mature. I began creating my own fantasy world. I was reading a lot of fantasy at the time(shout out to Jim Butcher, Terry Brooks, and R.A. Salvatore!). So, what emerged was a huge epic fantasy, influenced by a whole range of stories and authors that I read over the years and into the future. I worked on this book every day at lunch in high school(I didn’t have many friends) and did so for about a year and a half. I was encouraged by my freshman English teacher, who saw something in my short stories and kept demanding more work from me, sometimes even as side projects with no grades attached. I was thrilled to do them.
When I was a sophomore and I had finished handwriting the story, I began typing the book up and by doing so, I re-wrote the entire thing over again. My writing had refined itself again and I needed to smooth out parts that were not sitting right with me. I was also going back and forth between two spiral notebooks that were filled with handwritten text(front and back).
Once I finished typing the entire book, which I didn’t finish until senior year of high school, I attempted revision(lol) and it was well over 300+ pages of Times New Roman font, double-spaced, all said and done. What did I do then? Well, I should have burned the thing or shelved it, instead I submitted to DAW on a whim, which meant I printed the entire book out on the huge printers at the hotel that I worked. I patiently waited the six months or so and got…a rejection. Shocking, I know. I haven’t touched that project since.
Was I doing other things during this time? Sure, I experimented with poetry. I wrote tons of poems, probably over a hundred, they were all slop, though. I wrote a good portion of those poems for girls I flirted with/dated, as one does. I did some short stories here and there, but after I received that initial rejection, I believe I partially gave up, as an inexperienced, amateur writer with no real direction does.
By senior year of high school, I had joined the last wave of the blogging craze in the late ’00s and tried out writing my own think pieces, more poetry, and short form prose. None of it took off, but I posted every day for over 400 days. And then while I was in college, I stopped. I stopped writing unless it was for class, I stopped blogging unless I felt the need. I spent time with my peers, asking girls out, and going to class. It wasn’t until my junior year of college, that I took another creative writing class, this one exclusively on fantasy writing, that I got the itch again.
This is also right around the time that I read DUNE and was swept away from fantasy and consumed by a steadfast love for science fiction. This must have been in 2011-2012ish. And this “itch” to write hasn’t left and only increased over time. And so, I’ve been writing, in what I would describe as earnestly, for almost ten years. I’ve gotten an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction and I’ve been published several times both online and in print.
It’s a funny thing to think about where I started or at least gotten the itch to write, but writing for me has always been a “red flag” of interests for me. My writing surges when I’m at crisis points or when I’m clearly working through something. I’ve lately been using my stories to process my grief in various forms with the death of my mother a few years back, and it’s only now that I’ve been able to do so.
It is safe to say that writing has been a place of comfort for me. A place that I feel that I can communicate in a way that’s more honest and clear than how I communicate vocally or even one on one. Stories can become their own life, their own thing, but they are never fully removed from me, not entirely. They all carry some strain of soul or piece of heart.
I’m sure other writers can relate to that and that I’m no different in that way, but as much as I think writing would be a great full time gig, I’m somewhat content it’s a passion project right now.