2009 Lessons & 2010 Resolutions

Originally published on 12.30.09

Yes, this is a few days early, but I figure that’s better than a week late.

First off, I’ve learned alot in the past year, whether it was finally determining what was meant by standard manuscript format, or how in the world to write a hook. And for that matter, how, while I know I’m improving with every word I write, I also have no idea some times what will succeed where and what won’t.

That last has been proven a few times when things I’ve sent out ‘just to get something to the market but I have no illusions as to the rejection that will be shortly returning’ have come back as ‘held’ or accepted. On the flip side, things I’ve been certain will give me at least a nice comment or two would return with a form or having been ripped to shreds.

Now, part of that could be that the pieces I have more confidence in end up in harder to crack market slush piles than the ones I have concerns about. The other part could be that I’ve still got a ton of learning to do.

I will say, my finally figuring out that a hook was more than a bunch of cool words thrown on the first page was a real eye opener. The fact that Emerald Tales was kind enough to publish my first short story gave me something to contrast a successful beginning to all my other subs so that the lesson hit home like it should. Put the body on page one indeed…my first sale had a body in the first sentence. A very good lesson that is now posted upon my wall. In large letters.

It’s been a rocky first eight months, but, as most other writers seem to agree, rejection dulls over time. For me, rejection began to truly dull after I’d learned why my pieces were rejected. Not knowing why is a killer. Armed with a bit of knowledge (and a sterner constitution), rejections pile up around me without half the emotion I’d had with my first handful.

And being that within that first eight months I’ve still had four acceptances along with around forty rejections, I’d say I’m doing pretty well.

That said, I’ve tried to make this year’s resolutions as realistic as possible, so that no matter how tired I am after work and chasing the boy I will still accomplish them:

-Every piece returned goes back out within 48 hours.

-Write at least 500 words every day. (I have a habit of writing 2-6k in one day then slacking off for a week…or two…or three.)

-Invest the time to revamp and update my web site. (If you knew how computer literate I’m not, you’d understand why this is even on the list.) 

-Have at least two new finished pieces every month. (I’m giving myself permission to let them be flash – sanity during some months might be at stake otherwise.)
-By the end of 2010 have my total number of submissions hovering above 25.

So there you have it. Now lets see if I can possibly finish that goal of finally hitting a total number of submissions equaling 15 before the end of the year. I have one day…

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