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Begin as I Mean to Go On

2015 is finally behind us, and 2016 has begun! Last year was definitely one of my busiest, both on the day job and writerly fronts. I thought I’d start this post with a round of stats from my writing this year. For the second year in a row, I participated in a LiveJournal challenge to write 150,000 words in a year. Also for the second year in a row, I didn’t manage to make the overall word count, but I got a heck of a lot farther than I did in 2014. I’m doing the same challenge this year, and I’m planning to make it this time. (Thus starting off the year right with writing this blog post!)

So to the numbers:

My total word count: 129,823

Average words per month: 10,818

Month with the highest word count: February 23,337 (First year it hasn’t been in November due to NaNoWriMo which was interesting to consider.)

Month with the lowest word count: April 3,459

Months without writing: ZERO!! (Much better compared to 2014 where I didn’t write at all in September and had 2 other months with less than 1k)

Overall, it was a productive year. About half the words were on novel type projects (including both new WIPs and additions to TRACES during Pitch Wars) and/or short stories for magazines and anthologies. The rest was split between blog posts, queries/synopses, and fanfiction (mostly gift fics for exchanges though I started a Big Bang I never finished – whoops?)

I think I might have had more words if so much of the year hadn’t been focused on editing – I did all of my own rounds of edits for TRACES from January to July, then September and October were Pitch Wars with all edits all the time. That’s a good 9 months out of the 12 with the focus at least half on edits compared to new words.

I’ve got edits planned for 2016, but my big goals are finishing up first drafts of at least 1, preferably 2 of my WIPS, as well as at least a couple of short stories for both our charity anthology (as the next Cliché for a Cause is already in the works) and for submission to magazines and non-Herding Cats anthologies.

…of course, those plans may be derailed if/when I get a book picked up by an agent or press. Let’s be real – that really is my goal for the year. It’s rough as for the most part it’s a goal that’s out of my hands beyond having the best book and query package as I possibly can, but I really do think it’s possible this year. Last year saw me with a huge disappointment after the offer of a book deal on my other manuscript ended up vanishing into the ether when that press when under, but I still feel beyond all doubt that writing and publishing is what I want to do professionally. All I can do is keep trucking on – I know there will be challenges with getting TRACES out there due to age category and genre, but I truly believe that it is ready to be picked up. I just have to find the right person/place for it.

Aside from my writing goal of 150k, I am excited to keep going with the networking I started this year with my Twitter buds and attending my first conference in July at DFWCon. I’m attending the same conference (in April this time), and some of the Herding Cats and I are having a writing retreat out at my family ranch in early February, too. We’re even debating on a second retreat later in the year, though we’ll see how that turns out. The latter half of the year is still up in the air as far as events go, but I’m excited to see how it turns out. The #MimosaThursday podcasts will continue, too – we’ve had a blast with that, and I don’t think we’d stop our weekly babbles no matter how many listeners we do or don’t pick up.

I also intend to keep up this blog. It took a while to get a website and blog up and running in the first place, but I’ve enjoyed having a place to share my thoughts on books and writerly topics, and better yet to get to put a spotlight on some of my fave author buds that I’ve met online. So yeah, that will continue too – well, obviously considering I posted this right? ;)

So yeah, that’s my random babbling on my plans for 2016 – what’s on y’all’s goal or resolution list? Let me know on Twitter @C_L_McCollum!

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