Deadlines are not something that so far have worked well for me–with my writing that is, I always hit deadlines for the day job, even if it means bringing work home and getting it done in the evenings.  I’ve given myself deadlines, and most of the time I forget that I’ve done that. I think the only time I managed to finish before one was with my first novel draft.  And possibly a rough draft of a short story.

But usually, I tell Rob what date I’ve given myself, or I put it on my whiteboard by the bed, and then something or other happens and I forget about it until I’m erasing it to set it further back.

Yesterday, I thought of what I think is probably the best and worst possible deadline I can give myself, and the best and worst possible reward.  So much so that I was extremely hesitant to even mention it to Rob.

I did tell him, and now he’s holding me to it.

So, I have to finish one of three projects–an outline for my space opera, a polished short story, or the current novel draft–by December 18.  That date specifically because it’s the release of The Force Awakens. If I finish, I get to see the movie.  If not, no movie.

Sometimes, I hate what I do to myself. But I have a deadline, so I’ve gotta write.

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Last year; this year; wait, what?


Goals and high points

In January, I wrote goals on several index cards and put them into the blue envelope, to be opened at the end of the year to find out how well I did. I also started writing high points on slips of paper and putting them into my TARDIS mug.

I went through both last night–Rob and I went to visit friends for New Years, and last night was when I found time to get to it.  With the envelope, well, I didn’t do horrible. Though I also didn’t remember most of what I put in there.  Several were writing goals–write, re-outline and revise a story, finish a story revision. Some were health related–exercise regularly. There was also a goal to read a book a week.

Mostly, I fell short. Not incredibly surprising as some of the goals were extremely optimistic. I didn’t read a book a week, though I did manage to get through about 57 books. And while I didn’t finish either revision, I still wrote quite a bit.


Seanan McGuire bartending. This is an awesome thing that happened.

Going through the papers from the TARDIS mug was fun.  It included some of the obvious high points, like going to London and Iceland and sending off my first submission and getting my first rejection, but it also included some other fun stuff, like having Seanan McGuire (who writes the Toby Daye and Newsflesh [under the name Mira Grant] series) mix drinks while singing “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”  Rob didn’t really want to watch Frozen, but that convinced him.

The other thing I did this year was keep somewhat close track of my writing.  I say somewhat because the way I revise stuff, there’s no real word count to keep track of.  At least, not with the stuff that only needs minor tweaks.  But between a day planner and a calendar with stickers, I have a visual of how good/bad I did.

Overall, I wrote a decent amount–54,593 total words.  That’s not including most revisions or blog posts. I wrote the most in February–10,853 words, and the least in November–193 words. But I also wrote 3 blog posts, revised 2 scenes, and figured out a revised rough outline for my story.

I started out well, writing consistently, for the most part, until August, when Rob and I went to Iceland and London, and after that, I started slacking.  Not just with writing, but also with getting any writing/revisions typed up and keeping track of what I was getting done.

Except for October, when I challenged myself to write 250 words a day, no matter what, because I knew my biggest issue was trying to write when traveling, and we went to Bangor for a weekend.  I managed to write every day, except for the last two days of the month, and ended October with 6,771 words, a short story, and a couple blog posts.

Then there were the holidays, and I actually ended up doing better than I would’ve expected, and I managed to get some revisions done.


The word count/rewards thingie I made up. Definitely needs tweaking.

This year, I do need to make some tweaks to the calendar/reward system I set up. I have to take into account the lack of new words when revising, and maybe give myself an incentive for writing during and after conventions. And I should maybe have consequences for when I don’t do so well.

This blog post will give me my first sticker of the year, and then there are things to be organized and planned, and words to be revised.

(And I have got to figure out why my Macbook doesn’t sit level on my desk. Frikkin annoying.)

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Impostor Syndrome

I’ve not been doing well with keeping up with either writing or revising the past couple  weeks, more so than usual.  This isn’t because I’m not wanting to; I’m quite happy with where the novel is going, and I really want to get a short story revised to submit for an anthology, as well as submitting another short when I can figure out the best place to try.  It’s also not any sort of writer’s block/creativity block/whatever you want to call it.

It’s a big, huge, ginormous whopping case of impostor syndrome.

I have this issue normally, but going to World Fantasy sort of exacerbated it.  The previously mentioned stories and novel don’t help.  The novel is in draft number I-don’t-know, and I so far have two rejections for one of the shorts. All that combined makes me feel like I shouldn’t bother going to a con like WFC, and that I have absolutely no business even trying to talk to agents or editors.

Rob, good as his intentions were, didn’t help much.  He kept pushing me to include, when introducing myself, that I’ve been proofreading the last several issues of Analog. His reasoning–it’s something more on my resume.  And yes, I understand that, and to an extent agree, but like I told him over the weekend, I don’t want copyediting to be how people know me. I consider myself a writer first.  The other factor that didn’t help was that Rob seemed to continually forget that my main reason for being there was the writing, and the project we’re working on jointly is secondary for me.

WFC ended up being a huge drain on me because it’s so much more a networking con than any other that we’ve attended, and that really pushed at my introversion. Noise overstimulation also seemed to be a much bigger factor, too, to the point where I couldn’t stay in a room with a party, big or small, because the noise was overwhelming and stabby. I couldn’t stay in the bar area, where most everyone was, for too long for the same noise overstimulation reason.

Combine that all together, and I felt incredibly out of my element, and want to do little else other than curl into a ball and lose myself in a book.  But I would be doing a disservice to myself if I let this keep me from writing.  I love my stories, and each time I go back to read through to remind myself of the story, I get excited about finishing it and wanting to share.

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World Fantasy

I’ve finally been to my first World Fantasy Con.  It’s a small pro con–small because there’s an attendance cap–and I’ve been wanting to attend almost since I first learned about it.  This year’s was in DC, so it was something that Rob and I could drive to, which is one of the reasons we were able to attend.

It was a good weekend; we met new people–Myke Cole (author of the Shadow Ops series) always introduces us to someone new, and Rob was finally able to meet Kat Richardson (author of the Greywalker series)–they’d been talking for a long time online, and he helped her with a leak when she lived on a boat, but we never managed to be in the same place at the same time.

We spent a large portion of the weekend with our friend Richard (though most everyone we know calls him Shecky). He’s a freelance copyeditor––and it was his first WFC, as well. He kept saying we know everyone, but most of the people we met were through him. Also, he’s damn good at his job; he’s the person that I ask for help when I get stuck.


Laura Anne Gilman, Kat Richardson, Dana Cameron

There was a mass signing on Friday, but we only had books for Kat to sign–we didn’t want to take too many, and we didn’t know everyone who would be there. And I wish I’d remembered to take my old Kindle; Kat’s one of the authors I haven’t gotten to sign it yet.

We attended one panel on Saturday; Shecky was one of the panelists, and it was about editing. We all intended to go to more, but it was incredibly easy to not notice time passing, and when Rob and Shecky are together, it’s a little difficult to get them to stop talking. (Seriously, I’ve had to physically push Rob out the door to get home when we’ve visited Shecky and his wife for the weekend.)

There was a banquet and awards on Sunday, but Rob needed to get home for work, so we didn’t stay for that.  We did see several attendees in their awards attire, including Myke (in his Coast Guard dress uniform) and his girlfriend Mallory, and another friend, Jennie (an editor for Fantasy-Faction), who looked great in her dress, before we got our car to leave.

Other highlights–we each got a very nice zippered tote bag full of books, though we haven’t done more than a cursory look through to see what we got. Mur Lafferty (author of The Shambling Guides and last year’s Campbell award winner) gave both me and Rob a hug our first night there, though we didn’t see her the rest of the con–her’s was one of the panels I’d wanted to attend but spaced on the time and missed.

Most everything else is a bit of a blur of names and people, and I don’t remember too many specifics.

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London Trip Part 2: LonCon 3


Me and Rob dressed up for the Hugo Awards

This is up pretty late, but I got distracted.

LonCon 3 was my second WorldCon–the first was LoneStarCon 3 in San Antonio last year–and I had a fantastic time.

Good stuff:

–Seeing Lisa again and getting to introduce her to lots of authors.

–I got to see Issica again! She was awesome and let me stay with her during my last trip to England, and it was great seeing her again and meeting her boyfriend and daughter.

–The Fan Village. It was an awesome idea, having a central location for people to hang out, have parties, and it included a bar.

–Awesome people. Rob and I got to spend a little bit of time with Seanan McGuire and Emma Newman, both a couple of our favorite authors, and we met some people who are also pretty cool.  We ended up skipping a couple panels to talk to them about stuff from DSC_0939politics and history to Doctor Who and gaming.

–Rob and I watched about half of the symphony rehearsal (we had plans and couldn’t get to the actual concert), though I only recognized a few of the pieces they played. The room got cleared during a break, and we didn’t make our way back in.


Me, Rob, and Lisa after the Retro Hugo Awards

–Dressing up and going to the ’39 Retro Hugo awards, which had a War of the Worlds bit, and also dressing up and going to the normal Hugo awards.


Seanan McGuire and Dead Sexy, miniature camera effect

–Attending Seanan McGuire’s concert.  She’s an awesome singer, and during the concert, I played around with my camera and figured out how to take black and white photos.

–Seanan gave us an ARC of The Winter Long after her reading, so I got to read the book a couple days before it came out.

–Myke Cole moderated a panel about military sci-fi.  He’s always fantastic as a moderator or panelist, and this was no exception. (He’s got a fantastic black humor story that has to do with elephants.) I took a lot of notes, although I now don’t entirely remember the context for all of them.


Seanan and Dead Sexy in black and white

Not so good stuff:

–The Fan Village.  I loved the idea, but the room had concrete floors and cinderblock walls. The noise level had a tendency to rise and echo and build on itself, and that only got worse as parties started up. Also, there weren’t enough places to be able to sit, unless you didn’t mind sitting on the floor.

–The pocket program. It had a lot of great info in it, but the type for the schedule portion was so small that I had trouble reading it.

–The schedule. This isn’t really an issue; it’s just that there were so many interesting panels that were scheduled against each other, or they overlapped because some were 60 minutes long and others were 90. Rob and I ended up just not going to most of them.

More photos can be found here–pictures!–though I tend to not take quite as many at cons.

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