2018: The Year of Writing Limbo

Last year I wrote this article—2017 Wasn’t My Writing Year—and I talked about failing my top three goals. Those goals were wanting an internship at literary agency, working for a library, and signing with a literary agent.

Every year, I write an article like this. But this year, despite struggling to find time to blog, I had to make myself follow up about this year. I mean, come on, I succeeded at one of my major goals! Two months after my past article, I was hired by the library, and last month, I was promoted and became full time. In regards to my other goals, I actually had the opportunity to speak to two literary agencies about internships this year, but with all my life changes going on, I had to back out. But hey, I’m still in contact with them about a future opportunity once life settles down.

This year, I didn’t make any goals for myself.Mainly because I realized how hard I was on myself last year due to the goals I created. In fact, I took a long, hard look at those goals and realized I shouldn’t have goals with uncontrollable results. Ex. “Signing with a literary agent” shouldn’t be a goal dependent on one year. The goal should’ve been “finish writing that new book,” or “query X amount of good fits this summer,” or “take a query workshop to improve your skills.” So, yes, signing with an agent is still a dream of mine, but I’ve learned how to redefine my goals overtime.

So what did I do this year to achieve my dreams?

To be honest, I barely wrote. I sent out a limited number of queries. I didn’t have a single publication come out for the first time in six years.

I could concentrate on the negative, or I could concentrate on this:

I was hired by the library, one of my dreams, and I was promoted eight months later. We moved into a better, healthier house and neighborhood, and my health is improving. I was featured in YASH (the Young Adult Scavenger Hunt) twice! I was invited to speak and sign books at the LitUp Festival, a YA festival run by teens. They were amazing, and I had so much fun. I even got to meet one of my memoir heroes, Ishmael Beah. Clean Teen Publishing released  Bad Bloods: November Snow as an audiobook, narrated by Jonathan Johns, and Minutes Before Sunset also released as an audiobook, narrated by Sarah Puckett and Steve Campbell. They were a blast to work with. I also signed books at the Local Author Fair here in Kansas City, and saw my books in a library for the first time. And I never stopped writing. I finished writing my first historical fantasy during NaNoWriMo, worked on lots of beta reader notes, beta read many books myself, and began writing my next sci-fi.

2018 highlights

So you know what? I did just fine, new publications or not, agent or not, internship or not.

I did my best every day, and I’m going to continue doing my best every day, and I feel pretty good about it in retrospect. Now, to be kinder to myself on a regular basis. I think I’d be a much happier, healthier person.

This is my only goal for 2019.


20 thoughts on “2018: The Year of Writing Limbo

      1. I know my 2019 is going to be wonderful if I’m able to fully regrow my hair naturally.
        I’ve seen regrowth with what I’ve been using so I’m optimistic it is going to happen. Then I won’t have to keep wishing I was in the past when I had full thick hair.

  1. Congrats on the library gig. I know several librarians and they love their work.
    While the standard advice on goal-setting is not to pick things that are out of your control, I usually include one or two like “sell a short-story to a high-paying market.” But if not happening bums you out, you’re smart to keep it off the list.

    1. Thank you! I used to be able to set goals that were ultimately out of control, but I think the last two years have been really hard and setting those types wasn’t helping. But one day! When things are a bit easier, I bet I go back to setting those big, fun goals. Happy New Year to you!

  2. Shannon, I applaud your honesty. I’ve been a fan of your blog for quite some time and I wish you all the best in your future work. Honestly, I used to think that getting an agent was almost a guarantee of being published, but I’ve been working with my agent for nearly four years now (during that time I wrote four novels) and we are still trying to get something out there. If I were to give any writer advice on setting goals for a new year, I would simply advise them to keep working and keep concentrating only on getting better. Good luck! I’m in your corner!

    1. Thank you, Paul! That means a lot to me. 😀 And I wish you the best of luck with your publications as well. I’m sure your agent and you will find a great home for your work in the near future!

  3. I enjoy reading your blog, Shannon. I had hoped to accomplish much more in 2018 (writing-wise), but I just couldn’t. Still have half a novel in the works – maybe 2019 will be my year.

  4. I loved this comment:

    I did my best every day, and I’m going to continue doing my best every day, and I feel pretty good about it in retrospect. Now, to be kinder to myself on a regular basis. I think I’d be a much happier, healthier person.

    My goal too this year is to be kinder to myself – so best of luck with it too!

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