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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

(vol 1) EPILOGUE: “Looking Back: Highs & Lows”



On Wednesday 5th February 2014 I posted my first blog post.

I had decided back then that I had to take writing more seriously. I’d been doing it half-heartedly for years but nothing had ever really come from it and I’d wasted more time than I was comfortable with.

I’ve got big goals, bigger than I’ve talked about so far, but I’m aware of baby steps. To start all I wanted was to have something I’d written available to purchase and read on an e-reader. I had 11 months. It shouldn’t have been too difficult.



PLAN A



I spent the first few months introducing myself and my plans to the world while working on several short stories. I honestly thought back then that it would just be about those seven stories and everything they needed. I planned the format, designed the cover and even drew up extra content to help fellow writers with its background and conception. But things change and you have to roll with the punches.

On the plus side I have technically had my work made available in e-book format. But I ended up going down a completely different path. Like an adventure.



WHAT WENT DOWN

Due to my fear of editing big stuff (I have the first drafts to three novels still sat on a shelf in my dining room) I had planned 2014 to be the year of short stories. It is ironic then that my year ended with something even shorter being my first rung on the publishing ladder.

Thanks to taking the plunge with Flash Fiction I found myself taken in by a newly formed group of Flash authors called the FlashDogs. I began taking part in several weekly contests and, although I’m yet to obtain top honours, my writing was good enough to get an invitation, a golden ticket to join an Anthology project a few of the Dogs were working on.

Only a few weeks before I received my invite I had begun to doubt that I would complete my goal. I had all but given up on having something I was comfortable with being released into the e-book wilds.

The stories were there but I was being put off on a weekly basis. In an effort to learn the path of self-publishing I had tagged onto a few talents out there that had succeeded. Each time I would think I was ready there would come an article or podcast that would make me spot shortcomings in my own work and my own skills.

I think it’s worked out for the best though. Being part of the anthology allowed people more skilled than I to bring their strengths to the project. Editing, formatting and cover design were well above anything I could have accomplished on my own works.

So, although the result isn’t what I’d first proposed to myself, at the end of the day my writing is out there right now, available to down load on an e-reader. And my confidence is higher than it was when I started.



LET’S NOT FORGET



Of course the whole year wasn’t just about Flash Fiction.

Although I never got my own short story compilation finished, a few of the pieces that were going to be included are a lot further on. A couple are available to read on Wattpad.

I also entered a couple of short story competitions which is something I haven’t done for a while. CONDOLENCE (also available to read on Wattpad) was entered into SFX magazines ‘Writing Dead’ competition. GLASS OF MILK was a piece I wrote for Tiny Owl Workshop and is included in the FlashDogs Anthology (available for Kindle).

I managed not one but two projects under NaNoWriMo. In July I completed the first draft of a novella called TATTOO. This is the first part in an ongoing story about a girl who is given a magical piece of body art that leads to a world of trouble. And in Novembers NaNoWriMo I worked on FALLEN SWORDS, an episodic fantasy story that I plan on releasing from early next year.



STATS



Here is 2014 in word count.

FLASH FICTION:      60 stories                  13910 words
SHORT STORIES:     3 stories                   14229 words
NANOWRIMO:         2 stories                    72614 words
                                                                    100753 words

These numbers make me happy. I normally take part in NaNoWriMo but don’t do much else for the rest of the year. So I’m over the moon that 2014 has doubled my annual average word count and I feel like I still had loads more in the tank. Obviously I tried to avoid the ‘Demons of Distraction’ but there have still been things that have had me distracted this year (my son, car accidents, house move). 

What’s more, from those 60 pieces of Flash Fiction I already have ideas to expand and explore. It’s like having a weekly ideas factory on tap.

All in all I’m happy with my first year of writing seriously and can only see things improving as I move into 2015.



ROUNDUP

Before I go just a big thank you to you guys who read this week in and week out. Thank you for your comments. Thank you for reading my fiction. Thank you for taking the time to follow what has been a very meandering journey.

I would like to thank several people by name but I'm worried that I may miss someone out and cause offence. Instead I'll just say that there were several people that have helped me get through this year. Some are friends and family, others are people dotted around the globe who I have not yet met in person. Some helped me in big ways while for others it was just a couple of blog comments or a quick 'Well Done!' via twitter. To everyone that spoke or typed even a single positive word in my direction - you're awesome and I wouldn't be looking forward to more writing in 2015 without you.

Don’t forget to check out links to fellow writers and their work (dotted around the blog). There is some fantastic talent out there.

I hope you all have a good New Year.

See you in seven.



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