2014 In Review: Writing

Oh, writing. :/


Work, both my real job and my side jobs, kept me so incredibly busy in 2014. So busy it hurt my brain. So busy that when I did have free time, work had sucked all my creative juices dry. That means this years word count is a sad number and there were no short stories this year, even though I had two I wanted to work on. I literally went months without writing a single word. MONTHS. In fact, it’s been so long since I’ve written something new, I’m not even sure how to throw myself back into it. Like Victoria Schwab says, “I’ve forgotten how to book.” But I will figure it out again and soon, I promise you that.


And it’s not all sad news to report this year. Even though I’m disappointed in only writing 29,415 words this year, I can proudly say that I actually finished my first novel in 2014. And I don’t hate it. In fact, I like it so much I hope that 2015 is the year I shop it around and publishing becomes a real, achievable dream. Another thing worth noting is the writing workshop I attended this year. Even if I couldn’t be producing new words, I still made sure to finally start learning what it takes to be published. Prior to my novels completion, I’d sort of avoided it like the plague. You know, no sense in learning about a future that can’t even be a possibility without a finished manuscript. I’ll be facing 2015 with some valuable information now!


Last year, I only promised myself I’d write and that’s all well and good, but this year I really do hope to achieve more and so as a guideline or reminder when I’m starting to drift from it again, in 2015 I’d like to:


  • Start looking for an agent with a finalized version of Dreamsters
  • Write at least 1 short story
  • Move Crack the Sky towards completion 


If I try extra hard and track my progress with the sticker method, these could be feasible goals. Just so long as work doesn’t steal my life again. *Fingers Crossed*



2013 In Review: Writing

Last year I resolved to finish a first draft of any of my novels. I even went as far to say that if I didn’t finish one, I’d throw in the towel.


It was a foolish resolution.


Not necessarily because it’s unachievable, because it could be, but to just give up writing altogether over not finishing a first draft in a year was just stupid of me to say. Writing will always be a part of me, no matter how long it takes me to produce a final product. And I shouldn’t put such ridiculous limitations on myself so that I feel like a failure when I don’t meet them.


I refuse to feel like a failure.


So, what did I achieve in 2013 writing wise, if I didn’t complete a first draft? Lots, actually.


First, I wrote two short stories this year, just like the year before. And I sort of like this “habit” of writing two a year. It’s a good way to remind myself that I can in fact close a story and in less words than feels necessary for a novel. If by some chance you missed those short stories this year, you can find them below.


In Pursuit of Jenna Mae 


The Christmas Ban 


Also, that last short story became a sequel to a short story I’d written back in 2010 and I’ve already got a third and final installment to this Christmas collection planned for next year. I might even try to publish them all together for real. I really might.


Overall, I wrote 51,798 words this year. That’s more than the last two years combined. This might not seem all that impressive to all those writers who can churn out 90K manuscripts a year, but it’s big for me, that I wrote so much more than I have in the past two years combined. That’s quality progress.


Also, about those 51,798 words, with the exception of the short stories, almost all of those words were for Dreamsters, which I had started in the beginning 2012 and sat aside for the rest of the year. This is the first year I’ve successfully overcome my seasonal writer status and worked every month of the year on the same project. I miss my other stories, I do, but Dreamsters will be the first one I actually finish. Now that I know I can stay focused on the same story, regardless of the weather, I refuse to stop working on this one until it’s finished now.


I owe a lot of my accomplishments to a writing group I’m a part of on Facebook – Grapemo – hosted by author Jeannine Garsee. Not only are the weekly check-in’s about our writing progress a motivator, but the Teaser Tuesday and Thursday Specials have really opened me up and encouraged me as a writer. I’m grateful to be surrounded by so many like-minded folks.


I also gave Victoria Schwab’s star technique a shot towards the end of the year (and not just for writing) and found that seeing my daily success on a calendar really helped keep me focused. I plan to practice this again in 2014 for sure.


So my goals for 2014… well, I just hope to keep writing. I’d love to kick out another two short stories and I do have two ideas brewing, but I won’t punish myself if they don’t happen. That takes all the fun out of writing. And ideally it would be nice to finish Dreamsters in 2014 because technically I’ve already written more than half the book, but again I won’t punish myself if this doesn’t happen either.


I will write in 2014, that is all I’ll hope for. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll report an even more successful year to you next January.




2011 In Review: Writing

My writing achievements this year were a joke. Such a joke that I’m embarrassed to even share a total word count. It’s laughable.

While I could argue that all the “life events” I was involved in this year had an effect on my ability to find the time to write, it’s not wholly the truth either. I just didn’t have it in me this year.

The beginning of the year was met with the unexpected loss of a critique partner (not loss like death, loss like abandonment). I guess I hadn’t realized what kind of impact that truly had on me until it was months later and I was still dwelling on the why’s rather than moving on.

Then in my attempts to move on, my characters decided to pull a disappearing act on me too, frolicking around in a part of my mind I just couldn’t access. For a long time I begged and pleaded for them to return, even going as far as ignoring other characters from shiny new story ideas, all to try and complete the book I said I’d finish this year. But as more months passed, I finally just gave up. And giving up felt like an overall thing, not that I’d just say bye to that particular book, that I’d say bye to the possibility of being a writer altogether.

Thank God Heather never lets that happen. 

By the time fall was approaching and I had all these pathetic attempts at accumulating a word count all year, I got the writing bug again. Creative juices working overtime in my brain, filling me with a sense of excitement I had forgotten writing had given me before. And I had a startling revelation, one that shouldn’t have been so surprising because people had suggested it to me before, but since I apparently like to live in denial, it was.

I am a seasonal writer.

With fall and winter being my favorite times of the year, my overall demeanor is happier – more at peace and therefore easier to tap into my creative ways. It’s a bit strange, I suppose, since fall and winter are more commonly known to bring on seasonal depression, yet the opposite seems true for me. I might write something of value in my “off” seasons, but it is likely to be in small quantities, hardly worth noting. Fall and winter are where the magic happens for me. Finally accepting this newly discovered trait about myself forced me to make the most of fall this year and finally “move on” to something new.

Cue Crack the Sky

I still love my first story and truly hope to finish it one day, but maybe it was foolish of me to think I was capable of writing an epic fantasy series as my first book. Maybe once I successfully complete a couple standalone novels, revisiting my first series will be easier (and fun again).

I truly hope Crack the Sky stays shiny and bright for me well into the New Year. It’s been a long time since I’ve loved my own work so much. It’d feel really empowering if this time next year I’ve not only finished that book, but started another one!

Writer friends, how did you fare this year writing wise?


2010 in Review: Writing

This year a lot of things changed for me writing wise. Last Christmas I found myself dreading reading my own manuscript because it was extremely long (134,000+ words) and it wasn’t even truly finished. Plus, I knew there was something wrong with it – I just didn’t know what. Still, I forced myself to give it a read and then it sat dormant while plot bunnies ravaged my mind for almost two months straight.

At the end of February I started this journal (in which I’ve made 184 posts on as of this post) with a new direction for my current WIP and it required completely rewriting the story, which I fought for a long time but finally succumbed to a little over a month later. The rewrites have been slow, but definitely worth it in comparison to the product I had in my hands last winter. My writing has improved drastically in the last year and the story has taken such a better turn that I often wonder now why I fought the change so hard (well… I know it’s because I hate change of any sort). I’m not completely finished with it yet, but I intend to be within the next six months and I feel confident that this time when I have the full manuscript in my hands I won’t be scared of it. I will want to read it.

Even though I would have rather finished my book within the first year of beginning it, I’m more proud of the shape it’s taken with time than I would have been if I’d just accepted it as it was last year. Ditching the original version was the best move I could have made. Thank God I didn’t let my stubbornness over change get the best of me.

In 2010 I wrote 66,390 words towards my current WIP. In reality I wrote a lot more than that, but this number reflects what I’m pretty positive will stay in the book. In addition to working on my current WIP I also started a companion novel to the series and wrote several short stories to practice getting the point across in fewer words. Of those short stories I was actually brave enough to post three of them online. For those of you who missed them they can be found here:

Squirrel Territory

The Girl on the Swings

The Christmas Princess

But of all of the writing success I had this year, the biggest one to me was making friends and forming a critique group with Heather aka edgyauthor and Patricia aka poseiwriting. Both of these girls added me on LJ (Heather actually being my first LJ friend aside from my mom) and I am forever grateful for their desire to “know” me. I would have never been brave enough to add them, even if with their appealing nature. Becoming friends with them (and several other aspiring writers as well) has helped me stay guided in a way I couldn’t have imagined. Originally I figured I’d face the writing journey virtually alone, but now I have two people completely dedicated to walking it with me and several others who are hoping to do the same. Being part of a group has somehow empowered me and made the whole writing experience feel more real. I just know that it will only keep me more devoted to truly achieving my goals in 2011 (that and I know they won’t let me just give up because they really want to see the story as whole).

Overall 2010 was a good year for me writing wise, but I’m pretty darn positive that 2011 will be on a whole new level of awesome when it comes to writing. I’m more determined than ever and I don’t accept failure well when I set out to do something.

Writer friends, how was your year in writing?

Peace – Sarah