Pro-writer career path meme

Pro-writer career path meme via chris_reynaga

Current Status as of this morning:

  • 7 stories in circulation (usually it’s somewhere in the high teens)
  • 2 stories awaiting rewrite
  • 4 stories waiting for particular markets to open up (some of my favorites are closed in December)
  • 38 stories completed but trunked
  • 22 complete drafts that I haven’t decided whether to polish or trunk
  • 75 partial story drafts (these last two numbers are kind of embarrassing)
  • 3 complete novel drafts, all trunked
  • 0.8 current novel draft, to be finished this week, dammit! (this is why my short story inventory is lower lately)
  • 3 partial novel drafts, trunked
  • 18 poems, in varied but currently idle state
  • 126 freewrites of various sorts
  • 1 very organized filing system that made assessing these numbers very easy

Age when I decided I wanted to be a writer: 10.

Age when I wrote my first story: 8. It was about Sara, who had gorgeous long black hair and liked to play on a slide. There’s one first edition of this work, hand-lettered in pencil on red-and-blue striped paper.

Age when I got my hands on a typewriter: Mom always had one. But my first non-handwritten stories were done on an IBM PC Jr in 1987.

Age when I first submitted a short story to a magazine: 10.

Thickness of file of rejection slips prior to first story sale: 0. I won that contest… and the next half-dozen or so I entered. I made $80 in about two months. It was the worst thing that could have happened to me; I had no idea that writing was supposed to be difficult.

Age when I sold my first short story: 10, as described above.

Age when I killed my first market: 30? Within the last few years, but I can’t recall quite when.

Approximate number of short stories/novelettes/novellas sold for copies (small press): 0. I have always gotten prize money or payment for my work, except some poems.

Approximate number of short stories/novelettes/novellas sold for cash money: 25 as an adult. I’m not sure as a kid; maybe half a dozen. It’s in my records somewhere. (All of my younger-self work is stored under my bed. I think I’ve kept a copy of everything.)

Age when I first sold a poem: I don’t think I’ve gotten paid for poetry. I had my first one published at 19.

Age when I wrote my first novel/book: 19. I asked the president of Grinnell College to give me a grant to spend the summer writing a book. She was impressed with my plan and gave me $1,000 from her personal slush fund plus free campus housing. It was a seriously awesome summer. The novel got trunked, but I learned a ton of things. Mostly stuff never to do again in a novel.

Age when a work was first shortlisted for an award: 10. I won. As mentioned above, this was the worst thing that could have happened to me.

Awards won: I have honestly lost track, and I’m not saying that to show off. There’s a ton of minor and meaningless awards out there, especially for kids. I have not won an award that I consider meaningful in the world of professional adult sf/f writing. The best I’ve done is second place in the Pagan Fiction Contest, for “Black Doe.” Check out the Pagan Anthology of Short Fiction if that’s an interest for you.

Age when I became a full-time writer: Depends on how you count it, but I’ve been a part-time writer since 2004. Arguably I was full-time at first, but looking for a part-time job–which I now have.

Age now: 32.

Consider this a journal meme: if you write professionally, feel free to post your own equivalent of this list. (Obviously you’ll need to customize it to track your career path — but you get the idea.)

[I’m really glad I did this meme. I’ve been frustrated with having no new stories to send out–but they’re right there, just waiting for me to spend some time on them. That cheered me up. So did looking at how much I’ve done in the last four years. I’d love to see how others feel after doing this meme.]

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