IWSG: 2017 Year-End Round-Up

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to the IWSG page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! If it links to Google+, be sure your blog is listed there. Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can't find you to comment back.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the December 6 posting of the IWSG are Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner! 
December 6  (optional) question - As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

I'm going to take this opportunity, as I do each year, to look back on my year as a writer and see what I have to celebrate, to regret, and to do better next year. 

The first and most obvious thing I see is that I'm not publishing anything in 2017. Book 3 of the Pismawallops PTA mystery series is nearly ready, but won't be out until early in the new year. I wanted it to be ready for the holiday season, but somehow, it just didn't happen. In part, that's because the revisions proved to be a great deal more challenging than I expected, requiring some re-jiggering of the plot, which means a big mess when you are writing a mystery. But I will also confess to some significant periods this year when I just didn't work on it, or anything else. Not sure why, for sure, though I may blame a lot of it on big changes in the family, as our youngest started college and my husband is preparing for retirement (and that will be another huge disruption to work, so I can expect my production of books to slow down even more for the next few years as we do long-awaited traveling).

On the up side, I'm doing great with the blog (too bad hardly anyone's reading it). I have written 64 book reviews for the blog so far (with several more to come), and somewhere around 30 flash fiction pieces, put together several photo-essay posts, and drafted 3 longer short stories, one of which I submitted to the IWSG anthology (no word yet, but I'm not holding my breath). That last bit fell short of my intentions of submitting at least one story a month (which I reduced to one/month over the summer, and didn't even manage that!). But I do have 2 stories that are a good polish away from submission, and plan to make that a priority after the book edits.

That raises a question for y'all: how do you manage books and shorter works at the same time? Or do you? Flash fiction is easy--by its nature, it's not as polished, and at 1000 words or less it's a matter of an hour or two. But a 3000-5000 word story for submission takes a lot more time and effort, and I can't seem to do that without destroying my focus on the book.

In a nutshell, 2017 has been a bit of a disappointing year for me. Sales are stagnant (maybe because I'm not doing any marketing? Ya' think?) and my writing editing pace is glacial, though committing to a set of editing steps each day during November (instead of drafting another mess) helped a lot.  I have a feeling my focus isn't going to get better any time soon, so maybe I need to think about a new normal.

So...to bring it back to the IWSG question, what would I do differently? Maybe work more diligently at getting the edits done? Maybe plan so that I could bring the book out more quickly when they are? Maybe backtrack all the way to 2015 when I drafted Death By Adverb during NaNo and take the time to make a more thorough outline so the final thing wouldn't have been such a mess?

There's one other thing I may want to change going forward: how I blog. I am getting burned out on all the book reviews, which have meant reviewing virtually everything I read. I'd like to keep blogging 3X/week, but I want to think of some different things to blog about, to keep myself and others reminded that this is primarily a writer's blog, not a review site. I think I let myself get swept into something didn't intend because it was an easy way to have content for the blog.

Oh, and one final plus: this fall, I took over managing the Fiction in 50 blog hop (#Fi50) from Bruce Gargoyle. It had lost pretty much all momentum, and is rather slow to get it back, but I'm trying. Check it out and feel free to join in during the last week of each month. Or even just leave me some ideas for prompts!

Okay--over to you! Let me know how your year went, and what you are proudest of.


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