Tuesday, January 5, 2021

 2020 Writing in Review

At the conclusion of each year I review my records to see how my so-called writing career is progressing. Until this past year I saw steady, albeit disappointing, progression. It was not only lack of sales but the inability to produce anything novel or exciting to add to my continually increasing number of submissions.

     As 2021 begins, as in previous years, I’ve updated my archives, cleaned out the messes I've created, and looked at the various pieces I've worked on during the year.  I've been doing this assessment since I started writing again in 1990, partly to see how far I've come and partly to torture myself with the realization that I could have done much better.  It also makes me to humbly reassess the wisdom of attempting to  write science fiction.

 During 2020 the COVID-19 hit and affected my desire to write anything new suffered. Despite any writer’s tricks to overcome writer’s block I was able to eke out a pittance and sell even less (none, in fact).  

The chart below sums up my record to date as a pencil of lines.  The primary line represents the number of drafts I count in a given year ( i.e. the gross number of files, not the number of times they’ve been accessed.)  Novels count the same as novellas, novelettes, short stories and articles.  I do not count the number of multiple drafts, edits, and crap I throw away in frustration at my fickle muse.   The source of the chart data is an Excel database.

The BLUE line represents the number of drafts (25) worked on during the year.  The cumulative number of drafts is just  622. 

The GOLD line is the number of submissions for each year.  In 2020 I made 41 submissions bringing the cumulative total to 428. This represents 65.8% of the total drafts. The flattening of the curve from 2014-2020 is when I was attempting novels.

The GRAY line is the number of pieces I've completed during the years. The cumulative total now stands at 192 or 32% of what I worked on.   

The RED line shows the number of unique stories sold by year (I haven't included sales of reprints, audio productions, or donated stories.)  The cumulative number of unique sales is now 140 ( one in 2020). I seem to sell 23.3% of my drafts, which is almost a third of submissions. On the other hand  this indicates that I sell about 73% of everything I manage to complete (and submit.)

It has been a  depressing year.