The week between Christmas and New Year’s is always a time of annual reflection for me, and as I was reflecting on the year that was 2010, I realized how much of a success it has been, and here’s why:

  • I had a total of seven manuscripts published in either print journals, online magazines, websites, or some other medium. Before this year, I had none.
  • I had nine works get accepted for publication. Two of them (ironically enough, the first two) have yet to go to print, so I can’t really count them in the “published” category. What can I say? The world of traditional print publishing is slow.
  • I got a book deal. I didn’t take the book deal, because it was really crappy, but if I can get a really crappy book deal, chances are I can get a less crappy book deal if I keep at it.
  • I started reaching out to other writers, booksellers, and other publishing industry people on Twitter. My relationships on Twitter are directly responsible for three of those seven publications.
  • I pimped my writing – mainly my novel – at South by Southwest and reached out to industry people at the trade shows. This led to two of my publications, both of which were accepted for the site’s best-of-the-year collection.
  • I got a Kindle. This is going to help me understand how writing for this medium is different and will also give me instant access to other independent writers like me and their work.
  • I read. It should be common sense that all writers are readers, but I think we take it for granted. Every time I read something from another author I learn something new.
  • I began participating in an organization to help me with better public speaking skills. I have this pesky slight stutter that comes and goes, and I am an introvert like most writers, and feel uncomfortable talking about my own work, like most writers.
  • I wrote more than 1o new manuscripts. I started far more, but part of a writer’s work is killing the crap.

So, I would say that on a semi-professional writer’s level, the year was a wild success. But I have to keep getting better. Since resolutions are just imaginary, unattainable pipe dreams, I set yearly goals instead of New Year’s Resolutions. Here are my writer’s goals for 2010:

  • Join a writer’s group. I didn’t do it this year because I am not sure if I will be in Kansas City for an entire year, and I didn’t want to pay the year’s dues if I wasn’t going to be.
  • Attend book tour and other events at local bookstores. I’ve already signed up for Pitchapalooza by Rainy Day Books next month, and I attended my first book tour event this year and couldn’t believe I hadn’t done it before. The more I see how other people talk about their work, the better I’ll know how to talk about my own.
  • Give out more business cards at South by Southwest than I did last year. It was my first attempt last year, and I have to get more shameless about it.
  • Write something new, even if it’s just a sentence, once a week, for a total of 25 new manuscripts.
  • Read more books, with 50% of them being independent authors. The Kindle will come in handy here 🙂
  • Publish 10 manuscripts. If I can get 9 accepted manuscripts in one year, I can get at least 10 more if I try harder.
  • Submit something every week. This is always the goal, but I don’t always reach it.
  • Start submitting my novel to both agents and independent book publishers, especially those who specialize in e-print.

I think this is a good set of attainable goals, and I look forward to all that 2011 will bring.