This is the End – 2017 in Review

I’ve been working on a long post about our nation and our current political climate, but that’s a dissertation that’ll require another month to sort out in my head and hone. In the meantime, I wanted to reflect on 2017 and look forward to what 2018 may have in store for us.

2017 Writing Goals:

I’d set a goal of writing 52 short stories (one story a week) last year. I fell woefully short of that, with two complete and another dozen started. But that’s okay, I realized pretty quickly it was an unrealistic goal for me, and I prefer focusing on novel-length books. On that side, I made significant progress on both the WWI fantasy novel (possibly trilogy) and the current WIP (multiverse science fiction).

I continue to pitch both novels I’ve completed. I’ve gotten some really good positive feedback on SUMMER, and still get a trickle of requests for SHADOW OF A DOUBT. At this point, though, I’m considering self-publishing SHADOW rather than trying to re-write it again. There will be one more major edit based on some reader feedback I recently received, so it’ll hit the market sometime by the middle of next year if I go this route.

My goals for 2018: finish the WIP. Finish the first draft of each section of the WWI story (four main viewpoints, with a few minor ones). Finish five new short stories. See SHADOW OF  A DOUBT agented or self-published. Read fifty novel-length works (bonus goal: read 100 novel-length works).

 

2017 Professional Goals:

I’d hoped 2017 would be the year I become a Relationship Manager at work. Alas, though I applied and felt I nailed the interviews, my application was ultimately undermined by an untimely “joke” from an important customer and another was selected in my place. It was a job I was well suited for and had wanted for six years, so it was a bit of a let down and, to be honest, a little angry, too. I continue to look for new opportunities at work to expand my career in new directions, moving away from the technical side of PC repair and maintenance, servers and routers, and all that jazz. Right now I’m up for another job as Software Licensing Analyst, and I hope that one works out, I’m even more well suited for it.

But obviously the career I really want is “published author.” On that end, I attended two important events this year. My first was GatewayCON, the first writer’s conference I’ve ever attended. It was a wonderful three days in St. Louis sitting in on panels, meeting “real” authors like Ann Leckie, and absorbing what the industry had to offer for us. I loved it, and though we may not go to GatewayCON again (for reasons I’ll mention next), it was a fantastic introduction and they put on a wonderful event in their first year. I highly recommend this, it’s affordable and they get quality guests.

Bigger than GatewayCON, though, was my attendance and participation at 2017’s Viable Paradise writer’s conference in Martha’s Vineyard. Getting accepted helped me feel how much “closer” I was to achieving my career goal than I realized. Going was a dream, meeting all the authors I loved, from Elizabeth Bear to Scott Lynch to Darryl Gregory. A huge shout out to Laura Mixon, who was one of the two authors I had private discussions scheduled with, and who was so encouraging about the work I’m doing. If anyone can be considered a mentor to a fifty year old writer, she’d be mine. I can’t express how positive this event was on my life, and the great new friendships we formed that will last us a lifetime as we move forward in our careers. This is the sort of thing that stays with you the rest of your life.

My goals for 2018: attend at least one writer’s conference (leaning towards Readercon since the other students in my class all seem to be interested in attending, which will make for a fun reunion, and maybe Balticon since it’s close by). For current job, look into getting a Masters of Library Sciences, which I’m very interested in these days and would benefit me as the kids graduate and I’m ready to move into something new. But it would be beneficial for my current employer as well, both salary wise (raises for Masters degree) and career wise (might be a pretty good fit for the SLA position I’m up for, which means they’ll pay for my classes).

 

2017 Everything Else:

Life is good. My personal life is great. My home life is wonderful. My kids are doing good. You can’t ask for much more than that. I’m lucky in many ways, and remind myself of it often. Though the world outside our boundaries is growing shittier by the hour, and life is getting harder for many other folks, I count the blessings and acknowledge that I am very lucky and very privileged. If I were a minority, a woman, a Muslim… life would be so much harder for me, the structural barriers tougher to climb. My job is to support in whatever way is needed those folks who do not have the privileges I do in achieving their goals of equality and justice for all in equal measure. To fight back those who want to tear down all the good work liberals and others have done to build a society that cares for its citizens. Not just the wealthy, but the poor and middle class. Education that’s free, infrastructure that’s not crumbling, healthcare for all, a just legal system. More about all that in my long diatribe whenever I manage to finish it.

Media wise, I’ve felt no loss of Hulu and broadcast television (shout out to Hulu’s Handmaid’s Tale, though… when it comes back, I’ll re-up for a while). There’s almost always something to watch on Netflix, or Amazon. That said, the market is fragmenting further, with Disney now wishing to get in on the game of streaming. With the FCC removing Net Neutrality protections, it remains to be seen how this will all shake out, but if nothing is done, I suspect in five or ten years, you’ll be buying “packages” of internet sites bundled like cable channels currently are. Anything for the huge monopolies that control regional markets to make more money hand over fist for themselves. We are in a tough situation these days, my friends, where monopolies are growing once more and the government conservatives seem hell bent on letting it happen, despite the negatives that means for us.

We got some great movies last year, and some real duds (I’m looking at you, Great Wall… ugh!). I’ve also made a list of books from 2017 I want to read in 2018 as part of my goal of fifty books, and will keep adding to it. It goes far beyond the normal SFF I read, and includes history, biography, non-fiction essay collections, literary fiction, mysteries, and more. I want to expand out again my reading habits. I want to learn more things, see the world from other eyes, find new knowledge I can incorporate into my own writing efforts. I want to read something and jealousy say “oh my god, I’ll never be this great,” and use that to inspire me to greater efforts.

Hello 2018. You’re just about here. Let’s make it an awesome year.

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