Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2017 Goal Setting & 2016 Review

We made it through 2016, even if it came with some new scars. It was a year of craziness, as I imagine all election years are, but we survived. 

It's always fun to recap the year then look ahead to what I'd like to achieve. Setting goals helps me think through what I want to do and how I want to end the year.

I submitted short stories and flash fiction 77 times in 2016. This is not 77 stories, just submissions, since I turn the rejected ones back around. In 2015, this number was 60.

I had 4 acceptances in 2016. This is down from 9 the previous year. I know why, and I'll address that in a minute.

I had 9 stories published in 2016 (the 4 accepted, plus end of year acceptances from 2015.)

6 stories submitted in 2016 are still pending.

Which means I had 67 rejections in 2016. Not up to my 100 goal yet, but creeping that way.

And here's another stat to add: I had 4 speaking engagements in 2016. A standalone for Pikes Peak Pen Women, 2 workshops at Pikes Peak Writers Conference, 3 panels at Denver Comic Con, and 4 panels at MileHiCon. In addition, I participated in 5 signings. So cool!

Last year, my goals were:

  • Finish first revision of novel #2 (UF above). Done!
  • Do a second pass through on novel #1 (YA above). Done!
  • Start novel #3. Done!
  • Continue writing short stories, revising them, and submitting them. One per month would be fantastic, and give me time to focus on my novels, but we'll see. Nope (did not achieve one per month)
  • Finish all short story revisions pending. Done!
  • Submit those short stories once revised. Done!
  • Have one of the novels (#1 or #2) ready by April, so I can query an agent at PPWC. Nope
  • Continue experimenting with my writing and finding the joy in it. Done!
  • Get back to my photography (what? I just slipped in a non-writing goal...) Sorta
  • Continue with the horror reading/review challenge Done!
Not bad! I mentioned above that I know why I didn't have better numbers. It's the same reason I didn't have my novel ready by April, and the same reason I didn't get more short stories written. I got insanely busy between two volunteer jobs, and it did not let up until the end of May. My writing suffered severely, which actually led to a mega bout of depression about having fallen behind in my writing, as well as destroying the progress I'd made the previous year. It wasn't until school got started again that I caught up on my writing, so we'll see what happens with these new stories I've got out. I've also pulled a couple to do some re-writes on.

My goals for 2017, understanding that I set goals knowing life is fluid, and that my goals and circumstances may change at any time, are as follows:

  • Final revision on Novel #2
  • Query Novel #2 in April at PPWC
  • Finish Novel #3
  • Write at least one new short story per month
  • Finish current pending revisions
  • Continue to book speaking/signing opportunities (so far, I have 1 definite and 2 possibles)
  • Evaluate Novel #1 to see if I want to continue pursuing it or trunk it for now
  • Continue submitting short stories - aim for 100 rejections and 12 acceptances this year
  • Write for at least two themed issues or anthologies that are outside my normal comfort level
I think that's more than enough goals for now. Part of me wants to achieve one short story per week, but I don't believe that's realistic for me right now. 

Onto links! Bear in mind that I'm passing these along, not endorsing them. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Broken Eye Books is open for submissions to their anthology Ride the Star Wind: Cthulhu, Space Opera, and the Cosmic Weird. They want space opera combined with cosmic weird horror. Short stories of 3000 to 6000 words or flash fiction of up to 1000 words. Pays $.08/word. Deadline January 31.

The First Line puts out a quarterly first line, which acts as the prompt for a story. This quarter's first line is: "Eddie tended to drift into whatever jobs were available that would pay the rent." Story should start with the first line, which cannot be altered. 300 to 5000 words. Pays $25 to $50. Deadline February 1.

Skirt! Magazine is open for submissions to their January theme: The All In Issue - stories about going all in, taking risks, etc. Personal essays relating to women and women's issues. 800 to 1100 words. Pays $200. Deadline February 1.

Mofo Pubs is open for submissions to two literary erotica anthologies: Hotel and Sacrilege. The title is also the theme. 1000 to 5000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline February 3.

Splickety Havok is open for submissions in the theme Tyrannosaurus Reads. Think Jurassic Park. 300 to 1000 words. Pays $.02/word. Deadline February 10.

Bundoran Press is open for submissions to a science fiction anthology entitled 49th Parallels: Alternative Canadian Histories and Futures. 1500 to 7000 words. Pays $.05CAD/word. Deadline February 14.


Creative Writing Ink holds a monthly writing contest. Free to enter. Short stories up to 3000 words or poems up to 40 lines. Any genre/theme. Prize is web publication and £10 Amazon GC. Deadline January 31.

The Chicago Tribune is sponsoring the 2017 Nelson Algren Literary Awards. Fiction short stories up to 8000 words. Prizes of $500, $1000, and $3500. No entry fee. Deadline January 31.

Did you create goals for the year? How about last year? How did you do on those? Do you do resolutions or goals? How strict are you about your goals? Do you go beyond goals and make a plan to complete each item? Are any of these links of interest to you?

May you find your Muse.


  1. I love that you have a goal for rejections :-) I'd love to write one short story a month, but it'd probably be more realistic to aim for one every other month. All the best with achieving your goals this year.

    1. I hope you've managed at least one short story every other month.

  2. You did pretty darn good with your goal! Hears to getting them all done in 2017! Cheers.

  3. Good stuff! The speaking engagements threw you for a loop, but those were still good opportunities.

    1. They were! I'm looking forward to more. So far, so good.

  4. Being on panels at Denver's Comic Con is really impressive. The bigger conferences like that are harder to break into.

    1. I have no idea how it happened either. Definitely don't want to lose it.

  5. Congrats on all the acceptances. I need to submit more, I've got lazy and used writing as an excuse.

    1. The writing's the important and hard part. I hope you've gotten more submissions in, though.

  6. I think you did great on last year's goals! And I love how you allow fluidity for this year's.

    I'm aiming to write one new story a month as well. I feel like that's totally doable for me as I revise one novel and possible start another later in the year (depending on how well the whole revision process on the first one goes!)

    1. I hope you're having good luck with novel writing and revising, and with short stories!

  7. Hi Shannon,

    I shall keep my comment mercifully brief. My kind friend, considering all your struggles, huge kudos to you. You have done a remarkable job over the last year. Here's to a hopeful 2017, Shannon.


  8. Great work on your 2016 goals! And good luck on querying this year!

  9. A Comic Con Panel?! How cool is that!

    Cheers to you for the progress in submissions compared to 2015. While those two volunteering positions took a lot out of you, be proud of those 4 acceptances and 9 published in 2016...hopefully they can help sustain your momentum for meeting your 2017 goals. You will make it!

    I still have a screenplay that I put on the back burner for months in 2016, that I'd like to finish this year. I have yet to reflect on how my last year went or solidify goals but plan to do that soon. I have two goals in mind that might flow over into the next.

    Following previous disappointments, I started last year with no goals or resolutions and then eventually switched over to just living with intention. I've found that making plans to complete a goal only happens if I'm really into it. The Chicago Tribune contest, Skirt! Magazine and The First Line submission openings look interesting.

    1. I hope you're back to working on the screenplay! I keep wanting to try The First Line, but haven't yet.

  10. Yeah 2016 was a really blah year in a lot of ways. That being said, I'm crossing my fingers for this year...come on 2017, help us out:)

  11. Hi Shannon - you've still achieved lots and are constantly learning ... I guess the thing is to be prepared for breaks in writing ... and getting yourself prepared and ready to start up - could be small/tiny steps forward - so ready to go when you can write again.

    Good luck though ... cheers Hilary

    1. That's a good point. I'm not sure how to do a preparation like that, but, barring emergencies (which are always possible), I'm hoping to not have anymore breaks like that.