My goal for 2014 is to act more professionally as a writer, and to keep myself motivated. In order to complete this task, I have to keep myself working. When I began submitting short fiction in 2009, I created a spreadsheet to keep track of what I’ve sent where. It has been very helpful, and when I reviewed it late last year, I discovered that I have a tenancy to let a story sit after it gets rejected. This doesn’t do me any good.

I also noticed that I let my blog go fallow, writing in fits and spurts rather than consistently. I want to have a steady output of work in 2014. This means not just showing up at the page, but being visible to editors, and my audience. So I devised the Page of Awesome.

The Page of Awesome is the front page of a very handsome writing notebook I received from my In-laws this Christmas. It works much like my submission-tracking spreadsheet. Each time I make progress in one of my goals for the year, I make a tally mark, and I’ll be posting my goals throughout the year. But unlike systems like the Magic Spreadsheet, which track showing up at the page, I’m keeping track of work that I send out into the world. My goal is to have three-hundred tallies on the page by the end of 2014. Here is how the page breaks down:

Short Story Submissions:

This is probably the most important box for me personally. The most important skill for a writer, even more than craft, is overcoming the sense of rejection inherent in submitting fiction. A rejection, particularly a form rejection, feels like a punch in the gut. And you’re going to get rejections FAR more often than you will acceptances. Sharing your work is the real wall a writer needs to climb over. Having a slush pile myself for The Way of the Buffalo helped. It became much easier to empathize with the mysterious editors behind the rejection emails when I was writing them myself, looking for the right words to say that the story was good, but not what I wanted. It was also good to get a sense of what kind of stories go into a slush pile, just how towering they can get, and what are good stories, and what are bad ones. But I was still letting stories go idle after they were rejected. So the first part is dedicated to short story submissions to magazines, and I’m hoping to send out at least 100 in 2014. I have five active stories in rotation right now, and I’ve got maybe three or four short stories that need just a little more editing before I send them out. So far I’ve been able to add one new story a month. I’m averaging one to two months per rejection, so I should make this goal fairly easily, I hope.

Podcast Releases:

This will almost certainly be the shortest of the three columns, because I release about two episodes a month, and I’m not great about keeping to a set release schedule. I’m hoping that I can use this motivation to keep me going regularly, and I still have The Dark Wife to finish, so this might be a solid 50 by the end of the year. I’m also hoping to take part in this year’s “31 Days of Podcasting,” so that will add to my numbers as well.

Blog Posts

Finally, there is this humble blog, which you may have noticed I’ve been a bit more active with this year. I’m still not the kind of blogger who posts every day, but I’ve been trying to implement more regular, recurring features, and increasing my output. I’m trying to get at least two posts out a week, and ramping up from there. I’d like to post 100 articles this year.

So how am I doing so far? Not including this post, my stats are:

Short Story Submissions: 9

Podcast Episodes: 3

Blog Posts: 13

I’ll certainly update this figure on the blog as the year rolls on, to let you know how this current motivation experiment plays out.

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