So I Turned Myself to Face Me

First, because he caught the sentiment in a bottle:

Another year has clicked away. This one starts with a few changes for me.  But there’s one, regarding my writing, I have to announce now. As far as the IRS is concerned, I am a freelance writer.  Yep. Self-employment taxes start if you earn $400 or more. I’ve earned around $420 from short story publication. It’s not much at all – I’m not going to do without a day job based on this income.  But it feels like I’ve accomplished something. What was Ambassador Kosh said?

OK, maybe not appropriate. But I’ve wanted to share that portrait for a while now. And while pebbles do get caught in the avalanche, pebbles are how avalanches begin as well. Small actions and small changes. A little more rain than usual. A wildfire which takes out just the right stand of trees.  All of these items build into something bigger, until it keeps rolling along. I’m hoping this will start a personal avalanche.

This will take more than a few short story sales and residuals. I need to keep working (and, yes, I do mean the day job) but on other projects as well. So, here’s my 2018 punch list:

 

  1. Write Another Novel – I’ve gotten out of the novel-writing habit as I’ve focused on short fiction. That has to change. I’m working on a book based on a short story wrote last year, and I think it’ll be an interesting story I haven’t seen in the market before.  But, I’ve got to put the work in. The first part of this year will be planning. All planning.  That way, during the second part of the year, I can just dig in and start grinding out the word count.
  2. Submit Stories – This has to continue.  I’ve got six short stories in various stages of planning and writing. I’ve got to work on more, and work on increasing the quality of the stories. If writing a novel is practice for cross-country running, the stories are how I keep my sprinting skills intact.
  3. Get Serious on Education – 2018 will be a learning year for me. I’ll be retraining myself in quite a few skills, but I need to throw myself into a more structured way of improving my writing.  Books on writing books are lovely, but I can only go so far down that road. I’ve been traveling it since I was in high school…
  4. Network – Last year, my wife challenged me: “Have one conversation with someone at a conference that you don’t already know and did not publish you.” It’s her way of saying I need to network more. And it’s true. How many opportunities do I lose because I’m shy? Or I just don’t say, “Oh, why the Hell not?”  Time to say yes, despite my fears.
  5. Photography – To say my photography has suffered in the last year is being kind. I spent most of my energy just surviving. I focused on writing. But I need to make sure I find time, at least once a month, to go and take photos, then post them. Even if it’s nothing fancy – even if it’s just me trying lighting set-ups.
  6. Podcast – This actually combines with photography. I’ve been told I have a decent voice. So I’m planning on a small podcast named after this site. It’ll likely be something thrown up onto either YouTube or maybe my Flickr account, but I figure it can’t hurt to be heard

Yes, this is a lot. Yes, it may be overly ambitious.

But compared to others, I’m in a good place. I’ve got family, friends, and funds I can rely on.  Now, I have to capitalize on my good fortune and see where I can go from here.

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