Tag Archives: failing

2018: The Year of Writing Limbo

29 Dec

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.

~SAT

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2017 Wasn’t My Writing Year

9 Dec

Last year, I wrote an incredibly positive article called, Dear Writers, 2017 Can Be Your Year! It summed up my 2016 accomplishments and how I got there by taking advantage of every opportunity I could and working hard, and how you can, too. (Oh, how I side-eye myself so hard now.)

This year? 

I failed most of my goals. There, I said it.  

Following the format of last year, I had three main goals.

1. I wanted an internship with a literary agency.

2. I wanted to work for a library.

3. I wanted a literary agent.

To be honest, I got SO, SO close to most of these goals. So close that I feel like crying just thinking about it. But it ultimately didn’t work out.

Why? Well, there are numerous reasons why.

Firstly, adjusting to my new job (while keeping my old job) allows me very little free time. Then I got sick. Like really, really sick. To be honest, I’m still super sick, but I’m currently undergoing a lot of health assessments to figure out what is happening to me. It’s scary not knowing. It’s worse feeling like something unknown has such a negative impact on my life…and there’s nothing I can do about it except get more tests done so I can be healthy again. (Not to mention medical tests cost a lot of money.) My savings for conferences has gone toward medical expenses.

Basically, it didn’t matter that I took advantage of every opportunity I could…because most of the opportunities I received I couldn’t take advantage of due to health, finances, and other issues.

Basically, this year failed. I failed. I failed so hard.

I’m trying to be kind to myself though.

I mean, I didn’t completely “fail” in 2017. Clean Teen Publishing released Bad Bloods: July Thunder (#3) and July Lightning (#4). My first audiobook released! I revised one of my books three times. (I’m determined to make this book work.) And I began writing my first historical. I attended my first writing retreat, joined SCBWI (and an in-person writers group), and began a new job as a publicist for a YA/MG publisher. As an editor, I worked with some amazing authors, and I was featured in YASH and signed books at BFest in Barnes & Noble. On top of that, I was invited to speak at Wizard World Comic Con again! (Oh, how I wish I could’ve attended.) Denver Comic Con also featured my monster panel, even though I couldn’t attend last minute, but fellow Clean Teen authors enjoyed it, and that makes me happy.

2017 highlights

So why do I feel so awful?

It hurt so much watching opportunities pass me by. It still hurts. But I’m grateful that those offering opportunities thought of me in the first place. I’m hoping I’ll have more opportunities in the future when I am healthy—and have more time—again. I’m not giving up. Just because I failed my goals this year doesn’t mean I can’t succeed in those goals next year. In fact, I’m holding onto my 2017 goals as I move into 2018. I’ll probably add new goals, too!

Who knows what 2018 will bring? Maybe I’ll repeat a successful 2016. Maybe I’ll repeat my terrible 2017. Or—and here’s a crazy thought—maybe 2018 will be 2018, with all its failures and accomplishments and surprises.

Not every year is going to be successful and wonderful and feel amazing, but you can always try your best. And that’s what I’m planning for 2018.

Here’s to working as hard as I am able to and keeping my chin up.

I hope you keep trying, too!

~SAT

Why Writers Should Watch “Adult World”

24 Oct

Announcements: 

The latest poem in my Wattpad poetry series has been added! Share, like, and comment for your chance to be mentioned during my next YouTube video. This week’s poem is titled – The Affair – and here are the opening lines:

I fell in love with childhood,

he wore a red cape

made of polyester plaid,

There are a few spoilers in my latest interview with Read to Write Stories, including what The Odyssey has to do with the sequel and why certain elements of the book were mentioned in very subtle ways, so I hope you check it out by clicking the link.  I even talk a little about November Snow and how much my writing has changed in seven years, but – again – I’ll leave that up for you to read about.

But that wasn’t my ONLY interview I did. On Life of a Young Adult Writer, I talked about my personal life, the sequel, Death Before Daylight, and writing advice. When asked how I create believable characters, my first piece of advice was to stop thinking of them as characters, but you can read the entire conversation by clicking the link!

Finally, Real Rad Reads reviewed Minutes Before Sunset, stating, “Whenever I read a really good book, and something amazing happens, I find myself compelled to shout the author’s name out of excitement. Rick Yancey (The 5th Wave) and Susan Ee (Angelfall) have been some recent authors included in my repertoire for this, and Shannon’s name was added to the mix just last week after I read Minutes Before Sunset. In other words, I enjoyed this book.” Check out why she enjoyed Minutes Before Sunset by clicking the link! (And click here to check out Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon – only $3.89)

Why Writers Should Watch “Adult World”

Every now and then, I stumble across a movie MADE for writers. Last time, I wrote Why Writers Should Watch “Authors Anonymous” and now I am here to explain why you should also watch “Adult World” – especially if you are a poet.

MV5BMjIzNDY1NjgzOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzMzMDEwMTE@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_Here is the IMDB synopsis:

Amy, a naive college graduate who believes she’s destined to be a great poet, begrudgingly accepts a job at a sex shop while she pursues a mentorship with reclusive writer Rat Billings.

Amy is played by Emma Roberts, and although I am a HUGE fan of American Horror Story, I’ve never really been a fan of hers. The presence of Evan Peters convinced me to watch it, and I must admit – I enjoyed Emma Roberts a lot in this role, so I must take this moment to praise her for that. In fact, I enjoyed every bit of this movie. It’s charming, hilarious, and very relatable to a young writer’s journey.

We see a budding writer’s obsession with the famous – in this case, Sylvia Plath – and we see the melodramatics of someone trying to force drama in order to be the stereotypical “writing is misery” cliché, which – as good timing has it – I’ve written about recently (click the link). But we also see someone trying to find themselves, fighting to follow their dreams, and unexpectedly making a connection with a fantastically talented poet they’ve always loved, only to realize that role model may not be who they hoped they were.

On the surface, Adult World might seem like it is simply about writing, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about finding yourself and learning how to live so that you can write better each and every time you pick up a pen.

John Cusack is also a genius, and I hope sharing my favorite line that his character speaks might convince you to try this writer’s movie out on a rainy night.

“If you want to make art, you have to fail. And so, the hardest job is to fail better.”

Adult World is a perfect reminder of that.

~SAT

 

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