Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I'm not sad to see 2013 go

It’s not that 2013 was bad. Not at all, in fact, I’d say that 2013 was better than the two years proceeding it, but for me, 2013 had more manure than roses.

But here’s where I’m going to try my optimism on for size (it hasn’t fit properly in the past, so stand back, this might pop some buttons).

2013 was a big year for my writing. I learned things I didn’t expect to. I didn’t get an agent or land a publishing contract, but I planted a lot of seeds. I got a lot of invitations. I learned. I grew as a person—though at times I didn’t grow as a person at all. Sometimes what I really wanted was a hug, and a lot of the time I just wanted to be ten so I could climb into my tree fort and throw rocks at the bad guys who lurked in the nearby trees (conveniently placed in the cruxes of branches to be knocked over when I really needed it). At one point I whined to a friend that while I wanted to be more like Iroh, I was all Zucko.

But even Zucko finds his way in the end, so maybe being Zucko isn’t so bad. Just because his path wasn’t the convenient one doesn’t mean his path was any less because of his wrong turns.

And boy have I made wrong turns.

I think that if I were going to give Zucko advice, I think I would ask him to take it easy on himself. He holds himself to such high standards, and he’s always frustrated because he hasn’t gotten there. His goals are out of reach, but along the way, he does amazing things. He shapes the future by just passing through.  If only he could see his own greatness, but all he can focus on is how he didn’t do the things he set out to do.

In that, I am all Zucko.

So, here’s what I actually did in 2013:
I rewrote one novel twice. From scratch, both times. Talk about a test of endurance. And better still, I absolutely love that book. I’ve already decided that if it doesn’t find a home in traditional publishing land, I’ll probably look into self pubbing it. That being said, getting through the traditional publishing gauntlet could take a long time to wait and hear back, so that can’t really go on the goals for 2014 (maybe 2015?)

I finished two different first drafts. One of them I wrote 60k of the words in 2013, one was start to finish in 2013. So look for me moaning about editing those in the upcoming months.

I also started two different novels that I haven’t yet completed. One is definitely taking up more headspace than the other, but still, they account for a pretty good chunk of words and time.

So 2013 was good.

Here are my goals for 2014:

I am going to self pub a novella (under a pen name, though I doubt this will be any kind of secret, so look for me to announce it).

I am going to read more books. I think I read something like fifteen books in 2013. That’s just not enough, so I’m going to aim for twenty this year (I want to be able to reach the goal).

I am going to finish my WIP. Considering that I’m at Act II, I suspect I’ll finish it either in January or early Feb.  It’s a strange project, entirely unlike what I normally do, so it’ll probably also go out under a pen name as well (which is why you don’t see it here).

That’s it for my goals. A year is so hard to predict that I think that’s plenty of goals. Well, I’d like to be a bit more Iroh. Maybe I’ll try to make peace with my Zucko nature… and drink more calming tea.


  1. I love the comparison with the characters. I feel like Zuko often myself. It's good advice for so many of us.

    Love this post and the voice of your blog. It's just fun and makes me feel I know you even though I don't personally. Very admirable goals for the new year. I hope you achieve every one. ^_^

    1. Thank you. And if you're here, you know me more than plenty. I play it very close to the vest in person, so I"m definitely more open here. I hope you continue to enjoy my blog, but there are definitely some changes on the horizon.

  2. Yeeessss! More calming tea, please. Your goals are great! Attainable, but pushing yourself. I look forward to sharing your progress with you here (at first I typoed "sharing" as "sharking" - Ha!).

    I'm still deciding if I'm going to ring in 2014 or if I'm going to sleep off the rest of 2013. And blog about my resolutions/goals tomorrow. :)

    1. You know, we need to get together. And I think we could totally shark some progress here in the golden state.

      As for ringing in the new year... I've decided to feed it some words. That way, 2014 and I understand each other nice and early. Words, words, and words. (also, this WIP brought me to my knees when it crashed through my life, so I need to get it done).

  3. Love your goals. And love your perspective on life, Rena. You really do have it together---and I know you'll succeed because of that. 2013 was a rough year... so to me, because we survived, means that 2014 will be different. :)

  4. Yay for new goals! One day at a time, eh? You wrote the same book twice -- from scratch? That's insane, woman! Still, the lessons you learn from doing something like that... I have one book I rewrote about 5 times before getting it right, and I learned so much from every single rewrite. (Note, I didn't say draft. There were only about 100 of those.)

    I'm totally behind you on the reading goal. I think in order to truly be a great writer you must be an avid reader. About two years ago that epiphany struck me, and I set a new goal. After two years of practice, I am managing to get in my one fiction book a week (sometimes more) plus one study book a month, and other miscellaneous reading in the cracks. I'm tempted to set the 100 books goal for 2014 -- counting novellas and short stories as books -- since I pretty much accomplished that in 2013. It's been a good year.

    Oh, and loop me in when you release your novella! I'm so excited! I'll even reserve you a Writerly Wednesday. (But let me know asap so we can set the optimal date in stone.)

  5. It's weird - I don't think I've seen a single person say they're upset 2013 is over. You've told me many times it's bad luck to be superstitious, but seriously, it's like the whole year kind of sucked for everyone. Yes, me too. But hey, it's over. And I well and truly hope the self-publishing thing works and works well for you - pen name or not, it'll be awesome to finally have your work in print.

    Also: whether you're Zuko or Iroh, I claim being Bumi. ^_^

    1. Yes, you may be Bumi (either one really), but I'd love if I could be Katara. She's so confident. She pretty much never doubts.

      Zucko can't even figure out what side he's on.

      So yeah, hate to admit it, but I'm so very Zucko.

  6. Rena, best of luck with everything! Even though you didn't achieve quite what you hoped, you still had a very productive year from the sound of it!

  7. Zucko had a rough road. But man, he was badass ;)

    The only thing i'm kind of bummed about for me (for stuff in my control) is that didn't write a new novel. I revised one for a loooong time, and i started one, but i didn't write a whole one, probably because i didn't NaNo this year, which is kind of sad for me

  8. I'm placing my money on you hitting a home run with your stories no matter which route you go. You have tenacity and talent...what more does a gal need?

    1. What more does a gal need?

      Chocolate. Definitely chocolate.

  9. Ah! I wanted Crissy to be published so bad! I think she still can, but maybe the story is before its time - ie, over the agents' puny heads!

    looking forward to all your mysteries to be revealed - especially your pen name! and i'd love to get a read on! keep me in the loop!

    happier 2014!!

    1. Oh, there's still time for Chrissy! She's a stubborn woman, so she's not out of the running yet.

      However, another character who has made an appearance on the blog is going in for the novella ::rubs hands together while cackling with evil intent::


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