Saturday, 6 January 2018

Review of 2017

Over for another year!
Today I was determined! I got those pesky Christmas decorations down and packed away the tree. Just waiting for hubby to shunt the boxes into the loft. I also went out for the first time since Boxing Day morning. It wasn't a pleasant experience but it had to be done or I could linger on the sofa getting more down, more lazy.

So, while I'm a a roll I decided to look through my submissions for 2017 and see what the year was like. It was a mixed bag. Here is a run down.

  • January -  Three poems submitted (two published); one flash piece (published); one short story; novel submission
  • February - One poem submitted and published; four flash (one published); seven short stories (one longlisted)
  • March -     Three poems submitted (one published); one flash (published); two short stories; two novel submissions
  • April  -      Four flash pieces submitted (two published); one short story (published)
  • May -        One poem submitted and published; two flash pieces (one published); four short stories - one of which was longlisted
  • June -        One poem submitted and published; one flash piece submitted and shortlisted; one short story
  • July -         Two flash pieces submitted and published; two short stories submitted; poetry pamphlet submission
  • August -    Three flash pieces (all published); four short stories
  • September -Five poems submitted (one published); one flash piece (published); two short stories
  • October   -  One poem (published); three short stories submitted
  • November- Two flash pieces (one published)
  • December - One flash piece submitted (published); one short story
When I look at these results it looks pretty impressive. When I further break things down I know I submitted to Visual Verse every month in response to their photo prompt, so that's twelve times, either a poem or flash, and I was published each time. Paragraph Planet also published several of my flash pieces  and I also found 121 Words who published about three pieces and 50 Word Stories one. The only luck I had with short stories was a flash story set in a prison and was published by Gold Dust magazine. I received one critique with a short story entry and that was really useful. Another short story was revised and submitted somewhere else and was then longlisted. I am still waiting on three entries from last year and also I didn't count the short story finally published in the Retreat West Anthology in September. I think I counted it in last years total!

I attended a writer's weekend in Brighton back in April where I met an agent. That was such an awful experience I said I would never approach an agent ever again, I wasn't ready, I was too nervous and I lost all confidence in my writing ability. It hit me really hard; I was mentally at rock bottom and I didn't write for about two months, though I did continue to submit. I stuck with safe options. I know this might sound silly but I haven't really recovered from that agent meeting. It has made me re-think what I actually want from my writing and I'm still doing that.

I just about managed to pick myself up in time for the Swanwick Summer School in August and I had a frenzied spell of writing in November for NaNoWriMo when I wrote around twenty-six short stories. 

Next on the agenda will be to review the stories I wrote in November and see if any are worth submitting (lots of editing required) and hopefully eventually putting some from the collection together in book form. I have to admit that right now the desire to write isn't great. That maybe to do with the fact that I'm still recovering from this flu thing. I reckon it will be several more days before I'm back to normal activities. Having said that I loved the new picture prompt from Visual Verse this month and I've submitted a poem!

One thing I have decided is not to attend writer's conferences this year. What I need most is feedback on my work. I'm still not sure how to go about this. I may consider a short story writing course with Writing Magazine. I'll look into it.


  1. Happy New Year Heather, that sounds pretty impressive - not least of all your consistency in submitting work every month. I seem to have got out of the habit of submitting lately so one of my pledges to myself this year is not to sit on things for ever but to keep sending them out. I'm sorry you had a bad experience with an agent, it sounds rather like something that happened to me when I sent some poems to a potential mentor for critiquing - I felt completely knocked back by his response and hardly wrote anything new for 6 months. But I got my mojo back and I'm sure you will too. All the best for 2018.

    1. Thank you Robin.I thought I'd got used to knock backs but this was a whole new level! I thought I might do a bit of poetry again when I feel the time is right. I hope you have a good year writing and getting published. Good luck with your submissions.