2013 was a good year and instead of closing out the year with where I want to be, I’ve decided to take a look at how I got to where I am now that 2014 has begun.
– 2013 started with me riding high off of the announcement of my first publication. This was huge for me, more so because it was genre work. I have a few literary fiction shorts out there and those matter to me, but as I’ve said, I write weird stuff. So, having my first publication be a genre story validated me as a writer, reminded me that I should continue to pursue what I fancy as a writer and not what others feel I should write. Never mind the fact that I placed second in a writing contest. Or the fact that the anthology was named for my title. Icing on the cake, ladies and gents.
– I rewrote a story that scared the hell out of me. I took something deeply personal to me and put it out there and worked it and reworked it ad nauseum, until I honestly couldn’t bear to look at it again. And though it didn’t get published in the end, the experience was worth every minute of artistic and emotional agony. Not only did I learn a ton about the writing and revision process, but I finally allowed myself to explore the crazy feelings wrapped up in my spinal surgery and that entire time of my life. It was a groundbreaking, cathartic, intensely difficult project, and I haven’t given up on publication yet. It will happen.
– I joined the staff of Sucker Literary for Issue 3 and I learned so much about the lit mag submission process. I also got to read some amazing work and make some great new writing friends and there is so much that makes more sense now. Not only am I super proud of Issue 3 and my contribution to it, but I’m super proud to work for Sucker in general. I’m hopeful that I’ll be returning for Issue 4 and I’m eager to see where that leads.
– I just joined an online literary critique group and brought Ismael along with me. I have since submitted my first story and received excellent feedback that will help me revise that story and hopefully, eventually, up its chances for publication.
– I have rewritten two short stories, wrote a flash fiction piece, and wrote a prequel short story to that book series I always talk about, Keys & Guardians, that I plan to shop out as a stand alone. Not bad for someone who had no intention of pursuing short story writing at all, huh?
– I have outlined and written a few chapters of The Lost Key, sequel to Order.
– I have begun to outline two new stand alone novels, The Broken Hearts Club and Soul Sight.
– I have resurrected a dead novel idea for a short story contest.
– I entered a couple of writing contests, which, while I didn’t win, provided me with the opportunity to create new content I wouldn’t have created otherwise.
– This blog had it’s first guest blog post! By the way, I’m always open for more, so if you’re a reader of my blog and have something relevant to say, please feel free to shoot me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– I have continued writing blog entries for this blog, despite starting this a year and a half ago and basically giving it a life expectancy of a few months. I assumed I’d be too busy to maintain it, but twice a month isn’t so bad, and as yet, I’ve managed to have the time to keep it up.
– Oh, and my big announcement – as of my next blog post (at some point between now and January 15th, this blog will become http://www.justinemanzano.com. I’m making the investment to pay for my own domain, because I expect this blog to one day grow into something bigger than it is, and I want to be ready to make it into a true writer’s homepage. It will still look the same, but I want the potential for growth that owning my own domain will create.
So, that’s my year in review. Here’s to another year of steps forward in the process! So, what advancements have you made in the last year? Share below! I’d love to hear all about your steps forward and the steps you plan to take in the New Year!
And most importantly, here’s wishing all of you a very Happy 2014!