2023 Retrospective

Six months into my writing journey, I feel I’ve come a long way, but I have so much further to go, and I’m itching to get there. Starting from essentially zero aptitude, I worked hard in 2023 to improve my writing. For months, my writing remained unreadable, but now occasional glimpses of beauty poke through.

After years of dancing with data, I can’t help but start with some numbers (word counts rounded to the nearest 500):

79,000 words written

  • 68 stories, 34 poems, many of which are incomplete and discarded
  • 149 submissions: 76 rejections, 11 acceptances, others still pending
  • $126 earned

3,000

Published

27,000

Potentially publishable*

49,000

Entirely unpublishable*

* My subjective personal assessment. “Publishable” includes works that need a small rewrite (though likely will never get it); “unpublishable” is a lost cause. 2023 involved lots of writing as practice.

48,000

Sci-fi

23,500

Fantasy

2,500

Horror

1,500

Other Spec

3,000

Literary/Other

Categorized based on the main genre. This tracks, since I aimed to write sci-fi and fantasy, dabbling in horror, slipstream, and literary only to test the waters.

55,000

Dark, dystopian, horror

12,000

Neutral, mixed

Positive, utopian, happy

I write a lot of dystopian stories. But very recently in 2024, I’ve been thinking about more uplifting stories, so perhaps this will change.

To celebrate about 2023

  1. Rekindled my love of reading
  2. Started writing!
  3. First publication
  4. First paid publication
  5. Learned how to properly submit works to journals
  6. Sent 100 submissions
  7. Started calling myself a writer
  8. Met other writers for the first time
  9. Joined writing communities

Discovering what I like to write

  1. My very first attempt at writing was a fantasy novel, and I got 3000 words in before I thought: if it turns out unreadable, I will have sunk in so much effort for no return. I soon pivoted to writing flash fiction.
  2. I attempted writing literary fiction, but soon realized I had no clue what literary fiction is. It may be a lost cause for me.
  3. Although I originally had no intention of writing poetry, I discovered narrative poetry works for me.
  4. I wrote a lot of drabbles and microfiction because it was fun. Fitting a story into a condensed format gave me the feeling of solving a puzzle.

My writing-related goals for 2024

  1. Submit 100 stories and 100 poems
  2. Publish 10 works in paying journals
  3. Publish a story in a SFWA pro journal done!
  4. Publish a poem in a market paying at least $25/poem done!
  5. Finish a first draft of a novel
  6. Write better (as measured by compliments??)
  7. Read more than I did in 2023

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