Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Year in Review

So, 2013. Kind of a year. Recap time!

Writing: I wrote ten short stories this year, which includes three flash-length pieces and one novelette. (This only counts stories that I sent out for submission.) This is three times as many stories as I've written in any other single year dating back to 2005 when I made my first sale, and comes very close to equaling the amount of stories that I have written in all years combined since that time, counting the two or so years I was all "fuck writing" and didn't type a word of fiction. I didn't track word count, I only care about individual stories.

I sold five of these stories, plus two written in previous years. Three are currently out:

...and the remainder will be out sometime next year. I sold a story to a dream market and three to print anthologies. I joined SFWA as an associate member, and then became active a month later. I went to four conventions, and paneled at two of them (although one was a "stealth" paneling, ha!). I did not work on any novels.

But though sales and publications are certainly nice, the most important thing is that I was writing. Even though certain things in my life are less than ideal right now, I kept writing, and I didn't stop. It's like a switch has been flipped, and while I wish this switch-flipping would have happened in the mid-aughts, better it happened now than not at all.

What is this thing?
Non-Writing: Okay, here's the part where I get to talk about Portland. We went to Portland, and it was amazing. We also visited Boston, which was similarly amazing. I've made no bones about the fact that I haven't enjoyed living in Baltimore, where we relocated in 2010 for Rob's Teach for America job. We went to both Portland and Boston partly for a vacation (and in the case of Boston, an excuse to go to Readercon), but also to "audition" these cities as possible places of habitation. Boston, I love you but you're expensive as hell. Portland, however, lives squarely in the center of an imaginary Venn diagram with "affordable" on one side and "spectacular" on the other, and in that space is a one-bedroom apartment for less than a thousand dollars a month with our name on it.

Everyone, or at least a lot of people, love Portland and I didn't expect it to live up to the hype. But it totally did! It reminded me of the best parts of Pittsburgh (which never gets any hype). The weather is beautiful, even the rain. Bike lanes, cheap food carts, and Powell's Books, yay! Also, we already have a lot of friends there, as opposed to Baltimore where we knew nobody before moving here and had to build everything from the ground up. And even though we did manage to do that, it was very hard going there for awhile.

So yep, we're shipping out, hopefully in April. I will dearly miss the friends I've made here in Baltimore, but this is something we have to do (also there's this thing called "the Internet" now, which makes distance easier to take).

What's up for 2014? Well, moving to Portland and acquiring at least one of their notoriously scarce jobs will take up a lot of our time. I still plan to write at least one more short story in 2014 than I did in 2013, and keep on submitting them. I plan to finally, finally, FINALLY get my novel (yes, that one) ready for submission to agents and/or small presses. I want to put out a zine and keep my hand in the zine community, since my fiction writing has essentially put zining on hiatus. That won't be hard in Portland (will you be at the Portland Zine Symposium? I will, for the first time!), but my priority going forward will still likely be fiction. I feel grateful to have my creative life on track


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