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In April, I:
- Billy Hazelnuts, a graphic novel by Tony Millionaire. (109 pages)
- Alternative Alanmat, edited by Paolo Chikiamco (collection of speculative fiction based on Filipino mythology)
- started and wrote 1201 words on “Family”, a new short story (SF)
- added 400 words to “A Cage, Her Arms”, a short story I’d written last year. Revised it, and submitted it.
- added 251 words to “Snow”, a short story I’d started two years ago.
- blog posts here, including:
- Barbie, Burquas, April Fool’s Jokes, Writer’s Advice: Small Failures Hurt Us In Big Ways – my most viewed blog post ever (1234 words)
- All Our Young Potential (911 words)
- ADHD, a Serious Caffeine Addiction, and Me (925 words)
- Editing Tips #1 (897 words)
- Editing Tips #2 (1596 words)
- reviews of Richard S. Carbonneau’s “The Marvel: A Biography of Jack Parsons” for SF Signal (697 words) and Billy Hazelnuts (see above, 600 words)
- erotica for a client (4 stories, 40,000 words)
- was written up as part of “Women in Genre” month – read my post about that here (also includes links to free fiction by me)
- and on AC Wise’s list of “Women to Read“
- been more active in the SFWA, including:
- participating in forum discussions
- volunteering with the Bulletin as a proofreader
- interviewed outgoing SFWA President John Scalzi for the June issue of the Bulletin
- started using the StoneCoast “Magic Spreadsheet” on April 14. I wrote fiction on the 14th, 15th, 21st… for a total of 1,298 words.
Wrote 7,140 words of non-fiction and 1,852 of fiction. Worked on one new story and two older stories I’d held on to (which is why we always save old, unfinished, work). Submitted one story to a magazine (will hear back around the end of May). Edited 40,000 words as freelancer, and got a couple of Dagan Books projects out.
Honestly, it wasn’t enough. I should have done twice as much as I did. I should be getting more done each month, making more money, writing more words. I had a lot going on during April–medical stuff, personal drama, job hunting, multiple meetings for Logan’s school/services–but I don’t feel justified in how little I accomplished. I had to step back from my SF Signal column, which bothers me because I asked for that opportunity, and because I love reading & writing about comics.
I have to remind myself that one bad day, bad fight, bad week… it’s not the end of the world. Being upset and stressing over what I lost takes up more time than the event that caused the drama in the first place. Everyone kept telling me that “April is the cruelest month” and perhaps that’s true. But if it is, April’s over now, and I need to start thinking that May is going to be different. Better.
No advice for May. Instead, let me know what your goals for the month are.
In March, I:
- TRESE graphic novels 1 through 5
- Inedible Sins, a novella by KV Taylor
- a collection of short stories, forthcoming from Silvia Moreno-Garcia
- On Writing, by Stephen King
- started a new SF story (572 words), excerpted here
- started a poem in the pantoum style
- a comics review of TRESE for SF Signal (1004 words)
- an SF Signal “Mind Meld” on reading (450 words) (read it here)
- seven blog posts, including:
- Reading, better (570 words)
- Current State: Looking For Work (492 words)
- Step Back and Look at the Forest (230 words)
- When someone on Craigslist wants to hire a writer or editor… (469 words)
- How I Avoided Giving My Banking Account Number to a Hypnotist in China (1354 words)
- Some Notes on Editing a Ten Year Old Writer (899 words)
Edited / Proofed
- edited a noir/erotica short story as part of a job application test (7,800 words) – and got the job
- edited five erotica shorts for a client (30,403 words total)
- edited Inedible Sins, a novella by KV Taylor (30,400 words)
- proofed a short story collection for a client, from a previous editor’s notes (40,000+ words)
- final proof on Bibliotheca Fantastica (83,400+ words)
- submitted a previously published story to a Japanese horror magazine
- got a form rejection on the story I submitted to INTERFICTIONS in February
- filed the paperwork to make Dagan Books a limited liability company (and made the associated banking/financial changes)
- paid the contributors to FISH, and posted several interviews with the authors (check this list for links)
- wrote about my art director, Galen Dara, being nominated for a Hugo Award (read it here) (539 words)
- updated this site as necessary
- researched potential editing jobs and sent out resumes
- revised my editing rate sheet
I wrote 572 words of fiction and 6,007 words of non-fiction. I read five graphic novels, a novella, a collection of short stories, and a book on writing. I did some freelance editing, and looked for more. I edited or proofed more than 184,000 words.
The more time I spend editing, the less time I have for everything else, but that’s the complaint of everyone with a day job ever, so it’s to be expected. I’m going to have to find a way to add in even more editing, while upping the number of words I write and the amount of reading I do.
Advice for April:
Use a stopwatch to keep track of how much time you actually spend writing and editing. I started doing that this month, and found that depending on the task, it was either longer or much shorter than I was estimating. In addition to giving me a better sense of how long it takes to finish something (necessary for billing), it also helped to keep me on track. I was able to say, “wait, I’ve only been editing for 45 minutes, it’s not time for a break yet,” and then keep working, even when my brain was certain it was Miller Time. Try it!
Did you see my stats post from January? Four things I did then posted this month:
- SF Signal podcast #175, The 2013 List of Conventions You’re Looking Forward To This Year, with Gail Carriger, Jaym Gates and Patrick Hester (February 4, 2013).
- My indie comics column on “Gerry Alanguilan’s “Elmer” – The Greatest Chicken Comic Ever” (February 5, 2013).
- A tech column for Functional Nerds, “Free Open-Source Software For Your Windows (or Mac) Machines” (February 13, 2013).
- “The Balancing Act of the Writer“, an essay for Haralambi Markov’s The Alternative Typewriter. (February 15, 2013).
Continuing the trend, in February I:
- an ARC of The Lives of Tao, the forthcoming debut novel from Wesley Chu.
- David Marusek’s collection, Getting to Know You. 10 short stories. (Read my review here.)
- Strange Attractors, a graphic novel.
- a super-short flash piece by Sherman Alexie: “Across The Way“
- The Secret History of Moscow, by Ekatarina Sedia.
- The first 200 pages of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars.
- another 1300 words on “Darling, Daughter, Dear”, which got a new title – “About the Mirror and its Pieces”. (Also edited & revised several times, submitted it on Feb 16 2013.)
- started “Hammer of the Night God”, a Lovecraftian tale set in Slavic Germany in the 12th century (200 words).
- added 174 words to “On The Off Chance”, a modern fantasy story I started at the end of December.
- My Guide to Conventions #1 (snark)
- Two links roundup posts: that one and this one.
- SF Signal comics reviews for Daniel Clowes’s The Death Ray and Strange Attractors by Charles Soule, and part 1 of my Brief History of Indie Comics in the US.
- a bit about how quiet February is, and why that’s good.
- Bibliotheca Fantastica. Edited by Claude Lalumière & Don Pizarro. Included proofing, ebook and print layout, interior art, etc. We’re so very close to this being published… maybe another week. It’s a fantastic book, and everyone involved wants to make sure it’s perfect, which is satisfying.
- donated Dagan Books titles to the World SF Travel Fund.
- updated my profile on the SFWA forums.
- voted on the 2012 Nebula Awards nominations.
- submitted three stories from 2012′s IN SITU to be considered for the WSFA Small Press Award (tough choices, but they only let us pick three).
- updated and started posting a string of interviews from FISH authors (read them here).
- did my taxes, and paid self-employment tax (from writing/publishing) for the first time ever.
- Updated my website, including my “Non-Fiction” page (again), Press and Reviews page, Editing page, theme, widgets, etc.
- Interviewed Wesley Chu (that will post on May 1 to coincide with his book release).
I read two novels & started a third, one graphic novel, and 11 short stories. I wrote 1674 words of fiction, 4350 of non-fiction (slightly more fiction than last month but only 1/2 of the non-fiction words I wrote in January – I’m guessing because the month was a little shorter, because I read more, and because I spent more time doing editing and other work). I also submitted my first work of fiction since June 2012. Proofed and assembled a project for Dagan Books (in progress). Continued to update my website, and did other career-advancing administrative/office type things for both DB and myself.
My advice for March:
Make lists. If you have a list of all the things you need to get done, you can pick whichever one you most feel like doing that day, and it’s still a useful thing to have done. That way you’re doing the one thing a day I suggested in February, but you’re not forcing yourself to do something you hate … you’re making a choice. Less to resent. (Yes, we all have days where we resent the work we have to do, even when we know we have to do it, because isn’t it nicer to drink a beer and watch Firefly instead? But a career isn’t made from taking breaks, it’s made from the work you do in between.)
In an effort to keep better track of the work I do as a writer, reviewer, editor, and publisher, I’m going to try to post regular stats updates. I did this one by creating a post at the beginning of the month, saving it as a draft, and then adding to it whenever I accomplished something. (Much easier than trying to put it together all at once on the day I want it to post.)
In January I …
- “After the Apocalypse”, the last story in the collection of the same name by Maureen F. McHugh. Read my review here.
- The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. Brief review on Goodreads.
- The Bleeding Man, and Other Science Fiction Stories, by Craig Strete. Review here.
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine, issues 104, 105 & 106. Review of 104 & 105 here.
- Started reading Nobokov’s Pale Fire.
- and some Tony Stark/Captain America slash fic, but I blame Conni for that.
- The book reviews listed above, and this post.
- Two Tech Nerd posts for Functional Nerds, which will go up in February and March.
- SF Signal Outside the Frame comics reviews about My Favorite Comics of 2012, Tale of Sand, Raplh Azham No. 1, and Elmer (will post in Feb).
- Guest posts for:
- First draft (1300 words) of “Darling, Daughter, Dear” which I plan to finish and submit to Interfictions: A Journal of Interstitial Arts . They open to subs today – but only for the month of February, so I have a deadline.
- A 990 word lit fiction piece from 2011 called “Skipping Ahead To The End” (see below)
- FISH. (And there was much rejoicing.) This included proofing print and ebooks several times, submitting files to markets, blog posts, a Goodreads giveaway, and so on.
- appeared on two more Functional Nerds podcasts – Episode #133 and Episode #134 (click on the links to listen)
- appeared on an SF Signal podcast (will post in February).
- got my Goodreads account organized, updated my bookshelf, and started using it to keep track of the books I’m reading.
- Updated the Our Staff page on the Dagan Books site; fixed date/link/spelling errors in other places on the site.
- Updated my Non-Fiction page, and my links.
- Chased down and corrected contract issues for two stories I sold back in Spring 2012 (as yet unpublished).
- Critiqued two 4k word stories for a friend.
- Spent some time in the forums at Zoetrope. It’s focused more on literary fiction than genre fiction, and I like getting that perspective on my work.
- Read and critiqued 5 flash-length stories.
- Submitted one of my own (“Skipping Ahead To The End”).
- Put more story ideas into Evernote.
- Interviewed E.C. Meyers (read it here) and Fran Wilde (here).
- And started tracking my fiction submissions in one of these:
That’s about 9,300 new words of non-fiction writing for the month and 1300 of fiction. Read 22 short stories (7 unpublished) and one novel (started a second). Revised and submitted one flash piece to be critiqued & critiqued 7 stories for other writers. Was on 3 podcasts. Got an anthology prepped and published – a year later than I’d originally intended but proof that I am starting to get back on track. Plus a bunch of office work (I am my own middle manager).
I’m planning to write more fiction in February, as well as get at least one more (hopefully two) Dagan Books projects published, and move forward on the other four in-progress titles.
My advice for February:
Do one thing every day. If you can, write. A blog post, or 500 words on your current story. If not, read. A short story, chapter, a couple of articles you need for research, it’s all useful, and often easier than writing when you’ve had a long day. Make a list of the things you’ve been meaning to do and check one off. By focusing on one thing a day, you’ll end up having done 28 things by the end of the month, instead of pushing yourself to do too much and being too burnt out to work for days at a time. That’s reading several magazines, or writing your weekly blog post for the next six months, or 14,000 words on your novel…