2018 in Review

It’s the end of Lexember, the constructed language month that is somewhat between NaNoWriMo and Inktober in its intensity level.

Autumn was busy for me. Academia is always more intense in the fall semester than in the spring — everything is so compressed between mid-August and late December. At work, I was running an event committee. I also wrote two academic articles, one of which has appeared in the publication already.

This autumn, I also took time off to go to my youngest sister’s wedding and visited my mom for a few days. I attended a library conference in Montréal and ate gluten-free croissants. It’s probably no wonder that I felt so tired.

Writing-wise, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much this year. 2018 felt like several years experienced in layers all on top of each other. There have been so many discrete chunks and cycles of time within this year that it feels long and endless even after the fact.

Major things

I sold a sort story to Misfit Stories this summer, and it will be published in the February 2019 issue. I am very excited because I have not sold a short story before.

It’s not an overtly queer story, but it does have some #ownvoices elements in that the main character is from a similar religious background to me, raised in Western Neopaganism. It’s about two women who land on a new planet and have to figure out what happened to the rest of the landing crew.

I decided a few years ago that all of the main characters in my contemporary and near-future work would be from that background because I don’t see us accurately represented in stories.*

I also had a poem published in Illumen and another one published in Kaleidotrope.

Other things that happened

Thing One

I moved into a new apartment, and I have a better writing/reading area.

Thing Two

I wrote a novella about library science in a far-future setting. I guess if I wanted to get jargon-y about it, it’s a New Adult piece about a librarian apprentice adjusting to her first professional job while investigating an act of information vandalism that could harm the delicate postwar politics in her country.

It’s the least dour story I have ever written.

Thing Three

I wrote a lot of #OssiaPodcast and then took a pause from it because I realized that I needed to do a bit more worldbuilding for it to write an effective draft.

That’s one of the reasons Lexember is focusing on the language Eamaru. As many who know what I write may have heard, almost all of my stories are set in a timeline that spans 35,000 years on a set of planets even if the stories are otherwise very disconnected.

I have not world-built the Canyon regions of 20,000 years before the events of the podcast monologue of Epiphany, and I need to develop a bit more of the geopolitics and how the regime there collapsed beyond the fact that a supervolcanic eruption was the main environmental culprit. I also need to figure out which cultural elements survived into the present day and which will be unique to Eamau culture.

Thing Four

I’m plugging away at my epic that draws themes from the stories of Iphigenia in a far-future setting, and I’m near the end of a part of it that I know will have to be significantly overhauled (Book 5, which has a target of 120K for length; I’m currently a few K over) — but at least it’s good to have all of this down on paper.

I can’t create the story I want until I have a draft of all 1.3 million words or so, and I anticipate that only 20-30% of the words will be the same as the words in the final version. Also, the continuity edits will be a monster.

Word Count

I saved this for last because word count is not an accurate reflection of how much time and effort I spend writing. I can say that after I subscribed to RescueTime premium, it became much easier to pull out the amount of time I was spending on creative writing and librarian article work.

After my account integration, I spent 124 hours in Scrivener writing, 11 hours in Overleaf working on conlangs and worldbuilding, 12 hours in Microsoft Word proofreading/typesetting/&c, and about 2 hours of time in Typora and MWeb reviewing character notes and the like. Total = ~149 hours

Before my account integration, my informal tallies of “Design and Composition”-category time — which includes Scrivener, Word, and the like, only I can’t break out the stats — was somewhere in the ballpark of 205 hours.

The total, of course, is ~354 hours of creative time. This doesn’t include any of the time I spent reading through my writing offline or in my ereading app to proofread novellas or stories, and it also does not account for the fact that I do most early poetry drafts in longhand.

I wrote 321,000 words this year. This was divided among the various novella, short story, podcast, and novel projects I have.


* Tangent: I hate the new Sabrina, but I grew up Neopagan in the Midwest during the Satanic Panic, so the feelings I have about its centering of Christianity and the potential damage its portrayals can do to Wicca, Neopaganisms, and witchcraft are not trivial. I agree with many of the opinions expressed in this article — I am also very anxious about a new Satanic Panic, probably because of what happened to me during the first one when I was still a child. The writers in Sabrina even named their student reading club “WICCA,” which will eventually distort Google search results for anyone trying to look up non-fandom-related content online. My experiences as a religious minority in Missouri as a kid have contributed to so much of my adult outlook in good and bad ways. In a good way, they taught me to value religious freedom and pluralism and to stand up for my core values. In a bad way, growing up in a religious minority and worshipping many gods worsened the bullying I experienced as a kid, and I am not over what happened to me psychologically. I think that the best way to improve rep and shift the dial towards the positive is to deliberately focus on writing characters from a background similar — but not necessarily identical — to mine.