Hello, faithful readers!
To celebrate, we wanted to each take a moment to talk about what this blog has meant for us and how we’ve grown as writers in the past year. Then, we wanted to also talk about what personal goals each of us had, going forward, both for ourselves as writers and for this blog.
Reflections: At the start of the year, I was beating myself up for not having completed even one novel in 2016. That was the barest minimum I had set myself, and I felt like I had fallen short by a long way. I was stuck in query hell, getting rejected at every turn and not knowing how to improve my manuscript. It didn’t help that I was increasingly putting pressure on myself for not squeezing out some words every day on the next WiP.
But by some twist of fate, I’d found the three other muses in late 2016. And they’ve been unfailingly supportive, kind, and encouraging. After getting our blog up and running, the deadlines for posting short stories helped me get back on track in the writing game. Writing short stories while working on a recalcitrant novel helped me break out of the pit of despair for a while and rediscover the joy of telling stories again, however wild or strange they were.
I had been writing short stories before, but never with a group, especially not with a group of such talented, passionate writers with so much heart and hope. It’s an incredible honour to be chasing the writing dream alongside them, and I am truly looking forward to more adventures with them and someday grabbing their books off the shelves!
Revisions: I was determined not to let 2017 end up like a repeat of 2016, where I was spread too thin and had nothing to show despite all my efforts. So I entered 2017 with a game plan.
It’s simple enough: baby steps, but constant progress. Be it rewriting, editing, researching for the WiP, writing a short story (and trying frantically to meet deadline), or cranking out just 100 crappy words, every little bit of progress counts for something.
And it worked. It was hard to see where I was going with what little I did every day, but by the end of 2017, I can actually look back and say that I hadn’t let the year go to waste, writing-wise. I not only have the three other Muses to thank for this, I thank you too, dear readers, for reading, commenting, and for sharing your thoughts and stories with us. You make my heart so full, and you make me want to be a better writer for you.
Now that we’re on the brink of 2018, I’m just hoping to take the lessons I’d gained in 2017 with me, forget the tears and fears, and continue living for serendipitous moments when my stories take me into uncharted territory, when hard work and perseverance pay off, and when I meet kindred spirits who make this journey less lonely and so much more rewarding.
Reflections: I cannot believe it’s been a year of blogging and short-story writing with these ladies, but at the same time, it has absolutely flown by. I feel like we’ve all grown as writers and bloggers, and have really stretched our wings with this new endeavor. I remember vividly this time last year, when I was freaking out about sharing my first short story on *GASP* the Internet (dun dun dunnnn), and wondering what everyone would think, and if I could hack it at this blogging thing. Clicking ‘Publish’ on my first story was so exhilarating – and okay, mostly terrifying – and since then this whole blogging experience has felt like riding bikes downhill with your friends. Things are picking up speed, and you’re not sure how far you’ll end up going, but weeeeeeeee it sure is a fun journey!
I will be eternally grateful that I found these ladies, and they found me, and that we’re on this adventure together. I can’t wait for our next year of writing and dreaming and sharing this journey with you all. Thank you for reading, liking, and commenting, we hope this next year will be just – if not more – exciting!
Revisions: This year was full of personal milestones for me, so while my novel-writing took a backseat for the most part, these short stories have helped me to stay engaged and creative. I might not have met my word-count goals for this year, but I did brainstorm lots of ideas for new novels, so I’m chalking 2017 up as a year of personal achievements and
daydreaming stretching my creative boundaries. As we move into 2018, I’m really looking forward to finishing more half-read books (oops), finishing another round of edits on my novel HONORS, and finishing the draft for another historical fiction project. Here’s to 2018 being a year of finishing projects, and starting new ones!
Reflections: So, I thought the past year with this blog was really, really cool. Back when Joyce first came up with this idea and invited me to do this, I was both honored and really freakin’ nervous. I was a writer, sure, but I wrote novels. Short stories were what I wrote in undergrad and always got ripped apart by 20 of my peers. I couldn’t possibly do that and have my audience be the Internet.
Fast forward to now and I have eight short stories published here (including my first brave attempt).
And some of them, I really, really like.
I think the biggest thing I gained was the confidence to write short stories; to know that I can try something new with my writing and it isn’t automatically going to become a dumpster fire. But I also gained something else equally important to me: this writing group. These three ladies, who have encouraged me every step of the way. Our email threads, I look forward to always, and have gotten me through some tough times. Each one of my fellow Muses inspires me daily and I am so lucky to count them as friends, inspirations, mentors and part of my wonderful support system.
I also learned, from being part of this blog for one year, what’s it’s like to write on a deadline. Sometimes, I had a draft of my story done weeks before the deadline. Other times, I had to write it days before it was due. I’m still learning exactly how to write under a deadline, but it was a great experience. It was also really fun to collaborate with these ladies, swapping ideas and picking prompts and reading all their stories. I also loved having a platform where we could invite guest writers to share their stories, as well. We featured at least two, that I know of, writers who’d never shared their works publicly before, which I thought was incredible. Their bravery was inspiring.
Finally, I gotta shout out to every reader who has read one of our stories and left a like, shared a post or, better yet, offered a comment to let us know what they thought. To a writer, that kind of feedback means more than you can ever imagine.
So thank you.
Revisions: Looking to the future, I’m hoping to keep up the awesome foundation we have started now. I’m hoping to be able to invest more time into the blog, looking at doing different posts or features, alongside the monthly stories. It’s always a balance with life and schedules, especially between four writers on different corners of the planet (but how cool is that?), but that is one of my hopes for the blog in the future.
For my own writing, I’m hoping to continue to really delve into science fiction and fantasy and see what stories I can add to them. It’s funny, but most of the time, when I look at a prompt for a short story, for some reason, I assume I *have* to write it in a contemporary setting (I know, stupid moment, on my part). So I want to continue to explore and challenge my genres.
I’m also hoping to try and read more short stories. I’d like to read stories from magazines like Uncanny, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clarkesworld, Apex, Strange Horizons. I don’t think I’ll have the money to actually purchase any subscriptions, but it’d be neat to read more of what I’m trying to write for this blog. So we’ll see how that goes!
On a final note, 2017 has been a good run. We are so thankful to each and every one of you readers and writers, and we can’t wait to see what 2018 brings us. Here’s to the storytellers, the story-lovers, and the ones who won’t stop dreaming — may your days be merry and bright, and may the Muse be ever kind to you!