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A Year in Reflection

February 12, 2010

Yes, I’m doing a reflection in February.  “Why?” you may ask.  Because this week marks exactly one year since I typed “Chapter One” on Vampire Vacation.

What has that year held for me?  I’m not going to count the doctor visits, the procedures done to me, or the amount of drugs they’ve pumped through my system – it’s too depressing and best left un-counted at the end of the year.

So I’ll focus on the other stuff – the WRITING part of my year.

– I’ve polished, to the best of my abilities, a 90,000-word Erotic Urban Fantasy manuscript.

– I’ve started three blogs, and kept them all going

– Launched a business page on Facebook and attracted over 1400 readers

– Designed and launched my very own website (the entire month of October was focused on that one task, not fun)

– Opened two Second Life accounts, one for my pen name and one for the MC of my book (and yes, I’m still learning how to use it)

– Joined two writing guilds (Romance Writers of America and Sisters In Crime) and four sub-chapters of those guilds (Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal, Passionate Ink, Kiss of Death and Guppies)

– Left one sub-chapter over a stupid disagreement. Maybe I was stressed that day, I don’t know, moving on…

– Had my opening chapters of Vampire Vacation read by over 3,000 people who were willing to share their opinions with me (and thankfully only about 3-5% telling me:”I don’t like it”)

– Entered seven writing contests — four of which V V made finalist or runner up.

– Joined two online critiquing sites and posted V V there (Writing.com and Critique Circle)

– Formed one and joined two critique groups — which later fell apart or I left, but I did learn a lot

– Finally convinced an incredibly talented writer, editor and journalist to be my main writing partner (Supriya) and I’ll be forever grateful to her. She has taught me so much and yet still doesn’t believe me when I tell her (yeah, like I woke up one day in my 38th year of life knowing all this writing crap?)

– Started two beta reading groups – one with writers and one with readers – both totaling 280+ members to focus on Vampire Vacation and give me detailed feedback.

– Posted my work at Author’s Den, Authonomy, Scribd, Textnovel, Vamplit and I’m sure a few more I’ve forgotten

– Opened accounts at Goodreads (for better or for worse ๐Ÿ˜‰ and Library Thing

– Attempted National Novel Writing Month in November and wrote 20k words of my sequel to V V titled The Hunt, before I had to drop out to finish polishing V V for the Dorchester contest.

– Printed at Lulu, and sold for the cost of printing, copies of my manuscript to some of the beta readers on FB. Still amazed they wanted to read it a second (or more) time(s)!

– Have sent out at least four dozen queries to agents and small presses – most all of which I’ve heard back on, and yes, they were all ultimately rejections, even the ones that asked to see my work.

– Attended two online workshops for writing

– Attended my first and last RWA National convention – why last?  Because one thing the rejections have taught me this year is my book is not a Romance and I need to accept that and move on.

– Sent my manuscript to at least two dozen blogging book reviewers, most of which I haven’t heard from, but I’m not going to dwell on what that might mean ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s been a busy year to say the least!  I bet I’ve left some stuff out too, you know, the petty time consuming stuff that you have to get done BEFORE you can finish one of the tasks listed above.

I’ve met more people sitting on my ass in front of a computer this past year then the previous four years combined.  I’ve met people with compassion, sincerity, and honesty as well as cyber bullies, mean-spirited critiquers, judges in contests having a bad day, and a random few that are watching me hoping I fall on my face and fail.

To those last ones I say – what have you done this year?  Or wait – what did you do in that FIRST year from when you decided I want to write a book and typed those famous words “Chapter One?”

To the others – the ones that are watching who want to see me sell this book, well… I’m not going to say thank you again.  You all know how I feel about you because I’m pretty liberal with my gratitude.  But what are your dreams?  If you don’t desire to write, is it something else?  What’s stopping you from giving it a shot?

If the worst that can happen to you is you fail then go for it.  Your failures in life define who you are, and what you do after that failure determines where you will ultimately go in life. If someone points and laughs at you when you fall down then inside you should be thankful – they were mean, nasty son-of-a-bitches for doing so and at least you know now so you can cut them out of your life.

Life’s too short to waste it on “what if’s” and suffering through the pettiness of jackasses. Look forward and don’t look back. You’ll be a better person for it and one day you will succeed.  Don’t ever doubt it.

C.J.

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