My Writing Year in Review 2010

Last year was an interesting year – far better than 2009, to be sure, but not without its ups and downs. I went through a lot of mental shifts, the most drastic resulting in the decision to open my own publishing company, and commit to self/indie publishing. It’s less drastic though when you realize that I’ve always had the intention to self-publish my serial drafts (hence the reason I serialized them). Knowing I could never submit them since they were already, in effect, “published” took all the pressure off, and allowed me to write them without worrying about marketability. It kept me writing, when I might otherwise have quit.

In light of all that, my resolutions for last year hit some snags, and that’s perfectly okay. If you’ve been around long, you know I don’t hit all my weekly goals either – for me, the important thing is to *reach* for something…because I will always end up farther along if I have a goal than if I don’t. All that said, here’s how I did with my reading/writing resolutions in 2010.

Establish/keep record of books read during the year
– Create a spreadsheet on January 1st for recording books.
– Update spreadsheet once per week, and list books on the blog weekly.

My goal for reading last year was 100 books for Dolly’s 2010 Reading Challenge .  After deciding that a spreadsheet was both boring, and something I wouldn’t keep up with, I tried out various social reading sites, and made myself a home at Goodreads last Jan. All told, I’ve read around 85 books this year, approximately (because I didn’t record everything I read, usually for genre reasons). I have an account under my pen name as well, and am working on adding the racier titles there. Close enough to “goal” for me…

Don’t over-commit – be more cognizant of time constraints, and schedule projects accordingly.
– No short stories promised unless they’re complete.
– Write blog posts and serial novel installments at least a few days ahead (preferably 1 week when possible.
– Don’t commit to anything without first double checking schedule and knowing for sure I have time to get it done, or that it’s important enough to me to push something else off the schedule for.

We all know I suck at this, right? I just spent nearly all of Dec. editing and formatting to get a book out on time that, had I been thinking, would have been done either earlier or later. But I have done better this year, and I don’t commit to anything that I can’t fit into a pre-defined, sustainable slot on my schedule. I call that progress, at least.

Polish and submit at least two novels for publication
– Finish revising HPC by end Jan/early Feb.
– Submit HPC by mid Feb.
– Start revising DH by early Feb.
– Submit DH by late March/early April

Ironically, reaching for this goal is what pushed me firmly into self-pub territory. I spent months working on HPC, trying to revise it to fit the market I wanted to submit to. And it killed any interest I had in finishing and subbing that story – I trunked it. I realized that not only did HPC not fit the line I thought it would, but DH didn’t either. At that point, to keep going the trad. publishing route, I would have had to start from scratch, writing new novels that hopefully would fit certain markets…and throwing all that work away and putting the writing career I want on hold probably for another full year. Instead I decided to publish Tempest & DH myself, and keep moving forward. Goal tossed out.

Write at least two more drafts.
– Schedule writing time/daily word counts to finish drafts in 8-10 weeks (except NaNo, of course)
– Start next draft in January

This is incomplete – for many different reasons. I did complete another serial draft, but it sucked and I trunked it. I currently have four drafts in progress, one of which is half-done and I dare say my best work yet, which matters more than rushing it out. It would be done by now, but I had to learn how to balance revisions and publication duties with daily writing…and I floundered while I was learning. But the important thing is, I learned, and I’m still moving forward.  

Work out a method for writing and editing/revising at the same time (on different projects), just in case I ever land a multiple-book contract.

This I’ve done. It was fairly simple after I realized I can’t do revisions late at night anyway, because my brain just doesn’t work analytically enough that late to be effective at technical fixes. So when I have edits to do, they happen earlier in the evening. My drafting remains late night, as always. That “multiple-book contract”? I gave it to myself…I’ve got four projects underway at the moment, and a book release next month.

One of the most important things I did last year that wasn’t on my goals list is learning how to revise a novel. It was one of those big, epic things that took me months of thought, instruction, and messing around with before I could manage to make any progress at all, plus I basically ruined a novel learning it. The time was well spent though, and absolutely necessary.

I think all that work on revisions and edits have made me a better writer in terms of structure as well, because in tearing apart my stories, I got a better feel for how plot structure and character arcs work. I still have plenty to learn of course, but I’ve come a long way, in my opinion.

So there you have it. Chalk 2010 up to a good writing year, and on Saturday, I’ll post my writing resolutions for 2011.

What’s the most valuable thing you learned this year with regards to your writing? And what’s your biggest goal for next year

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10 comments on “My Writing Year in Review 2010

  1. Dolly

    Congratulations on a successful year. I think you did wonderful in 2010, and very noticeable achievements too. Your trials and successes have been inspirational.

    It’s been a journey of discovery as you decided how you wanted to move forward, so I am sure 2011 will see even more tangible results.

  2. Carol

    Great work in 2010! And I’m sure 2011 will be even more successful.

    I’ll have my year in review post up on Random Writings tomorrow. 🙂

  3. Jamie DeBree

    Thanks Dolly! You haven’t been slacking yourself – so here’s to both our achievements, and a stellar 2011, no matter where it takes us. 🙂

  4. Jamie DeBree

    Thanks Carol – the future’s bright. 🙂

    Looking forward to your year in review!

  5. Brooklyn Ann

    Wow. Your 2010 was full of triumph! Let’s home 2011 will be even better.

  6. Erica

    Yay!! Nice work ;o) I learned a ton this year. And my 2010 NaNo draft is proof. I think 2011 will be great for us. So proud of you for taking the reins and getting your stuff out there ;o)

    *cheers* Enjoy your New Year’s!

  7. Simon

    Congratulations on a productive year, good lady! Here’s to a wonderful 2011, eh? 🙂

  8. Jamie D.

    Indeed it was. I’m rather optimistic about the new year, and I hope you are too.  Wishing you a nice fat contract next year!

  9. Jamie D.

    Excellent, Erica!! Yay for improvements and progress…you switched to a great new job too. Happy New Year – the best is yet to come…

  10. Jamie D.

    Thanks Simon!  A wonderful new year indeed, with many words and much vodka.