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Red sky at morning

This is how the New Year began.

I hope it isn’t an omen

And here’s how the old year went, or at least the SFF-related bits:

According to my Goodreads list, I read 108 books in 2010 (not counting things read purely for work). Not bad.

One of my goals for the year was to read more fiction, and to make an effort to keep up with current SFF, especially that not written by old white men. I did okay with that latter bit, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. Recommendations gladly accepted.

I sold my first two stories (Crossed Genres and the Rigor Amortis antho), and a nonfiction piece to Clarkesworld.

I wrote regularly for Science in My Fiction. My December article on hydrothermal vents was picked up by io9.

I signed up to review for The Portal, though no reviews have appeared yet. (I need to rewrite my first one; I’m not very good at this yet.)

I attended the Viable Paradise workshop, an experience I’m still digesting several months later. And by the way, applications for this year are now open. You should all apply. Really.

And I attended my first-ever con: World Fantasy in Columbus. I had a very good and educational time, and came away with a whole pile of story ideas. (See above, behind on short fiction.) I signed zombie books and did a reading, and felt just like a real author.

I did not finish the novel-in-progress, but I’m very close. I wrote 12,500 words over my brief Christmas vacation. I learned that I can write 4,000 words a day and still have time for cookies as long as I’ve done a good job planning. And no internet. If it’s a workday, I’m lucky to get 500 words written.

I thought I might get it finished over New Year’s, but I didn’t write at all. I cleaned the gutters (on New Year’s Eve!), cooked a lot of very tasty food, spent time with friends, read a lot. I think it was a necessary break after the chaos that my life has been, even if I feel a bit guilty about not finishing PM by my self-imposed December deadline.

My new plan is to finish it up within the next few weeks. Then I want to spend a month or so writing short fiction; I have a lot of things in progress that have been sitting idle while I tried to finish the novel. I only have one short story out in the world right now. That needs to change.

Then: rewrites. Badly, badly needed rewrites. I learned so much while writing this over the past year, about writing and the characters and how to put a novel together, that the whole thing needs to be done over.

But first goal: a completed draft.

On the one hand, I got a lot done. This list doesn’t include day job, fiber arts, and all of the real-life stuff that occurred this year. On the other hand, I didn’t write nearly as much as I’d hoped, or accomplish several other things I wanted to work on. I spent the entire year in a perpetual state of not-caught-up.

Travel and family crises contributed to the stress and lack of time. This year should be better on both fronts. Day job is going to be more intense, though, due to changes in both scientific personnel and management. I hope the latter doesn’t cancel out the former.

And a completely unrelated bit: this “Facts of Life” essay has been making the rounds. It is very much worth your time and thought.

Here is where I should put in good wishes for all my blog readers for 2011. But wouldn’t you know? I’m running late…