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Friday, December 27, 2013

* I Did It*

     One of my Facebook friends (I'm sorry I don't remember who) posted the following request for writers to document their productivity over the last year.

     I thought about it for several days. This kind of public accountability was the very reason I established my writing blog in the first place, and I think that without question 2013 has been the most productive of my ten year writing career. I'm not sure why then, I am hesitant to do this. Something about it makes me nervous ... but here it goes.

    I reviewed all of my blog posts for the year. There were a few accomplishments I had completely forgotten, proving you do need to journal what you are up to in some way.

    Here is what I can say I got done;

~ I wrote more than 75,000 words over the year. Unfortunately I am not well organized enough to say for certain what the number is. I do know I never came anywhere close to that number before. I also feel it is the most important of all that I will discuss next.

~ I birthed two books that I had been working on for years. Both are self-published and I see that as an important part of my platform.

~ Can't possibly say how many hours of research I have done this year or even how many books I read that were research related, but know that the number is very high. I also took a research trip that was an investment in my novel.

~ I attended my first professional writing retreat (AROHO in August). Most of the gifts that come from that are yet to be known. It was a wonderful, life changing experience.

~ I attended AWP for the first time. I did that because it was within driving distance of my home. It was interesting but not at all life changing. The biggest impression I got from it was how many of us there in this country trying to make a go of the same occupation. The size of that conference is overwhelming. The highlight of it for me was having lunch with other poets who will be published along with me in the forthcoming The Widow's Handbook.

~ I attended the annual NH Writer's Day conference as I do every year. I took a class there taught by Paul Harding that has stayed with me. I also pitched my novel to an agent who is interested in it. That felt like a huge achievement, and I'm still excited about it.

~ I can not count how many readings I attended, or even how many I gave. Not because the number is so high but because I am not very good about keeping track of things. Last month I was a featured reader at the monthly poetry hoots in my hometown that I have attended for a decade and even curated for a couple of years, and it was very special to me to have been invited to do so for the very first time.

~ This year I was also nominated to be the local poet laureate which of course is nice.

~ I'm terribly disappointed in myself to say I don't know how many submissions I made, probably about a dozen. I had several poems accepted for publication, but no prose.

~ I submitted one application for a significant fellowship that took a lot of work. (Still waiting to hear about that one.)

~ Can't seem to figure out how many blog posts I made during 2013, but in reviewing my blog for the year it doesn't seem as boring as I thought it was. I usually feel like a slacker regarding my blog.

~ I've started to find my way in the marketing of my work. I do not like this one aspect of being a writer at all. It is so unpleasant, but know that it is necessary. I try to devote a small part of each day to marketing the two books I have released. I have not been successful at this, especially in getting reviews. That seems to be much harder than I had anticipated. I've also failed several times in trying to get a good website up and running, though I made a few attempts.

~ I joined a local writing group that is proving to be helpful in my progress with my novel.

~ As I have for many years, I wrote twelve columns and several articles, for my local newspaper.

~ I curated a book discussion group for the museum where I work.

      I may be forgetting a few things. It has been a busy year, and I am feeling pretty good about what I got done. What this inventory does seem most useful for is in showing me where I can do better. I need to step it up in the marketing department, and in submitting more short stories and my completed children's manuscripts. I need to do better saving and protecting my work. And I need to do a better job in keeping track of what I have accomplished. I need a secretary!