This past year was one big writer's block, so I've been going over ideas to move past it. One thing I've decided to try again is submitting as much as possible.
In 2018 my goal was at least two submissions per month. I submitted two each in January and February of that year, but then my Mom died unexpectedly in early March 2018, so March and April were total busts - nothing submitted in those months, which was understandable. There was a lot to deal with suddenly that I was completely unprepared for.
I also moved in July 2018, which was rough for a number of reasons, but I did pretty well with submissions May through September. Then the block seemed to settle in - there were no more submissions for the rest of the year. Still, I had fifteen submissions for the whole year, including five that placed in contests and one that was a winner. On the other hand I didn't get published, so I wasn't thrilled with that. But overall, for a year that was tough I felt okay with my progress.
Although I didn't put a number on submissions for 2019, the year started out with a bang. I had eight submissions in the first three months of the year, then... nothing. April through the rest of the year was pretty much a drought and not only was I not submitting, I wasn't writing much either. The good news was that I did have a story accepted for an anthology, but "Like Deja vu All Over Again", the story that's getting published in Crossing Borders in March 2020, is an old story I had kicking around that just happened to fit the theme for that anthology. I did submit to a short story competition in October that I don't think will place, but the entry fee was minimal and it made me feel like I at least did something, even if it was kind of pointless.
Late October into early November I attended both the Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference in Pasadena and Bouchercon in Dallas and in addition to being exhausted by the time I got home, it did light a fire under me, both in terms of writing and finally tackling some personal stuff that's been lingering since Mom's death and the move away from the beach.
So the new plan is not to have a particular number of submissions per month, but to really examine the markets and opportunities and try to submit to as many as possible. There are a lot of anthologies coming up as well as other short story markets that I want to be more aggressive about submitting to, and I think that's my best shot at getting published again and seeing some progress in my writing career. I really don't want to have to wait another three years to be published again.
I've also got two other longer projects to work on that will be my A/B projects when I'm not working on short stories. One is a play and the other is one of my ideas for a novel. I've had multiple ideas for novels over the past few years and the difficulty has been focusing on just one while setting the others aside. The play is the A project because it will be quicker to complete, while the novel will be the B project with the goal of at least having a first draft by the end of the year.
Yep, that's the plan. We'll see how it rolls out, but for the first time in a long time I actually feel positive not only about writing, but about a lot of personal things as well. The Brother and I have been discussing this lately and he feels the same way - 2019 was rough for a number of reasons, but we're feeling really positive about 2020's potential.
I hope anyone who is reading this is feeling great about the new year and new decade. May the new 20's roar! And may I also take this opportunity to wish you a wonderful, creative, and productive 2020! Let's succeed together!