I’m not going to linger too much on a year that was, well–you lived it, you know. Below is my 2020, writing-wise.
The headline: I submitted more short fiction in 2020 than in every previous year combined. Since my first-ever submission to an NPR Three-Minute Fiction contest in 2013, I’ve had a fairly erratic submission history, including a handful of years (’13, ’14, ’18) where I only managed a single sub. While my focus has regularly been elsewhere throughout this time–novel work, work-work, etc–a lot of it came down to putting my stories aside right before a final revision, the last step before I’d consider them ready to go on sub.
Thinking back, forgoing that final revision (and effectively trunking the story) is a form of self-rejection. After all, if I don’t take the training wheels off a story, I’ll never know if it can ride unaided or not. This year I was much better about taking off the training wheels and giving my stories a good push.
Since I track my short fiction progress in Mario Party terms, here’s a look at my final tally of stars (stories drafted) & coins (submissions):
On the stories drafted side, 11 is the most stories I’ve ever drafted in a single year. Of those, two were short stories, and nine were flash. Eight of them were produced for Codex contests, which provide the much-needed deadlines this ex-journalist craves. On the submissions side, of the 11 different stories I submitted, five of them were first drafted this year. I submitted to 19 different markets, 13 of which I’d never submitted to before.
I was thrilled to have “Acquisition: Earth” published in Translunar Travelers Lounge. Additionally, I just sold a story to another incredible market, and I look forward to sharing that story, too!
Now, with all of the above said, did I meet the goals I set out at the beginning of the year? Not even close! But I didn’t set submission or publication goals, so I’m quite happy with how things turned out. Shoot moon, land stars.
Other highlights from a wretched year:
- Like many people, I got into baking. Primarily bagels, which I made cheerfully and ceaselessly
- I backpacked across the US, sailed the Caribbean, and fought pirate crocodiles in Donkey Kong Country—all from the comfort of my own home!
- Inspired by countless Inktober posts, I started drawing again after a long hiatus. I’m gearing up to do Inktober in 2021
Wishing you a safe and joyful start to what hopefully will be a better year.