A Look Back at My Year in Writing — 2022

2022…. You were…a lot. A lot of a lot.

I will ignore my other life events here and just focus on the writing milestones. When I first sat down to write this I was like, “Well, I guess I had an O.K. year writing. Steady progress, and all that.”

But no! I have decided that is not giving myself enough credit and that I had really solid progress this year, including some stellar milestones I’m quite proud of. In no real order, here are my top writing accomplishments of 2022.

First Pro Sale Goes Live
Technically, I “sold” the poem in 2021, but 2022 was the year it went live. That’s right! “The King Becomes a Star” went live over at Strange Horizons in February and I couldn’t be happier. It was my first Pro Sale to a big, well-regarded Pro Magazine, and one of the highlights not just of this year, but of my writing career.

The warm reception Pharaoh Unas (and his scribes) received set in motion a cascade of events. The most important of which has been me writing more and more poems—something which I had never even considered as a creative outlet up to that point.

First Podcast (Script) Goes Live
Also, way back when this year, my first script for a Podcast went live. This time, it was courtesy of the good folks over at The No Sleep Podcast who produced my Sci-Fi Horror thriller “The Hatchlings.

I was so overjoyed to listen to the show when it came out! It was such a rush to hear the words I had written become dialogue spoke by voice actors, to hear the cheer of the crowd and the screech of the Arak, all threaded through with eerie background music. Like I said, Orson Welles—eat your heart out!

May the mighty Arak live a thousand lives!

Trigger Warning: “The Hatchlings” would be Rated R for violence if it were a movie, it’s NOT for sharing with children.

Notching My First Flash (Horror) Sale, Second Podcast Sale
Also this year, (and this is the first time I have mentioned it)…I sold my first Flash Fiction piece. (Flash fiction pieces are works of 1,000 words or less).

That’s right, my Alice in Wonderland (riff or FanFic) Horror piece, “Go Ask Alice” was sold as a Podcast late this year. I can’t share details yet on where/to who, but I should be able to share that early next year. The story also was accepted by a magazine for regular, text publication as well.

This marks my first Flash fiction sale (I had one other Flash piece accepted earlier, but wasn’t paid for it). And my first “Horror Flash” sale. And my first Flash Podcast sale. A trifecta of firsts! And one I’m quite proud of since I have struggled mightily with creating/writing Flash Fiction. I never thought I would quite be able to condense things into 1,000 words while still having a coherent plot, characters, etc. But I did it and somehow the editors liked it!

More details soon!

I Joined Three Professional Writing Organizations
My success with “The King Becomes a Star” and “The Hatchlings” gave me the gumption to apply to three professional writing organizations.

I can report that I am now a member of:

  • The Horror Writers Association
  • The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association
  • The Science Fiction Poetry Association.

Right now, I am still learning about all the benefits of membership and how they might help me out. One of the big benefits is putting their acronyms on my cover letters which helps show editors you’re serious.

And here’s a Pro Tip: You don’t need to have a single story sale to join the HWA and SFPA—anyone can join them at any time. (There are different tiers for new writers, those with a few sales, and “professional” writers for all three orgs.)

100 Submissions Sent/Upping Rejection Tolerance
This year, I also sent magazines 102 literary submissions. I also received slightly less than 100 rejections!

So, I upped what I call my “rejection tolerance.” That is, my ability to accept more (literary) rejection and keep going. Keep writing, keep editing, keep submitting. My ability to keep going.

You see, about half way through the year, I was following Ai Jiang (a great up-and-coming writer by the way) on Twitter. She shares her writing/submission statistics freely over there. And, at one point, she had 100 works OUT ON SUBMISSION. Let me clarify how CRAZY that seemed to me. I had a LIFETIME 150 rejections and she had 100 stories waiting in editors’ inboxes at a given moment.

At that point, I realized my rejection tolerance was FAR TOO LOW. I had maybe 2-3 stories/poems out at the time. I resolved at that moment to change that. I started finished off works and submitting them at a much faster rate.

And now, at the end of the year I have submitted over 100 pieces. This is especially gratifying because it was one of my key goals for 2022.  

Another Pro Tip: submitting poems and Flash Fiction as opposed to novellas and novellas helps to up your submission totals. (Duhhhh!!) But still, you also have to develop a “professional” attitude to rejection and realize that editors are not judging you solely on artistic merit FOR ALL TIME. Often the piece is a bad fit or just not what they’re looking for.

I think I’m proudest of this achievement over everything I did this year BECAUSE I know how tough it was for me to shut off that negative voice that wants to take every rejection email personally. Now I’m much better at letting them flow off me and embracing the rejection! I’ve found one of the best ways to recover is to fire the same piece off to the next market immediately.

Proving Poetry Wasn’t a Fluke: 2 New Sales
I always liked poetry, lately, I’ve found I enjoy writing it, too. So it was a pleasant surprise getting two new poems accepted this year, proving my success with “The King” wasn’t a fluke.

First, I somewhat rushed off a poem: “The Darkness” and I thought, “Well, let’s see where this goes…:” I started submitting it, as is, to a few markets and after a few tries, it found a home at Star*Line Magazine, SFPA’s official publication.

Then, I thought, “Well, maybe I should keep trying this poetry thing.” So, I kept writing poetry. Now, the first drafts are relatively straightforward in poetry, for me at least. Where it gets real tough going is in the editing. But editing is vital for making a poem sing.

So, I finished off a third poem, “In the Dose.” I polished it, and polished it some more. I sent it out. It picked up some rejections. Then, Radon Journal accepted it! Then, it was onto some more editing (with an editor, which was new for me). In a couple rounds it got to where we were both satisfied and it was ready to be published.

It was about then that I truly realized poetry wasn’t a fluke for me…And that it was time to get my poetic butt in gear…and start editing and finishing more poems.

I’ve been doing that, but nothing to report yet!

Finding a Poetry Critique Group
Finally, I found a poetry critique group. This was pure serendipity…

Actually, there was an open call on “writer Twitter” and I answered it. Now, I haven’t done critique groups before for my work. So, this is a new thing, a milestone, and a journey in progress. But so far, I’m loving the feedback and the chance it gives me to sharpen my poems. I also loving giving feedback and, I hope, helping others sharpen their poetry.

Going to continue this in 2023!

Where to Next?
This all leads to the question: What next?

Good question.

I’m going to attempt to answer that in my next blog post sometime in January. I have some ideas.

Until then, I have lots of Holiday celebrating and visiting family and friends to attend to. (Maybe even some poetry readings!?) And a welcome break from writing!

And to all of you—wherever you are—happy New Year! And best of luck with all your writing/creative endeavors in 2023!

See you then!

Darius

4 thoughts on “A Look Back at My Year in Writing — 2022

  1. This was quite the year for you. Congratulations! It’s exciting that you found your poetry voice. I look forward to reading your blog about what’s to come in 2023.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I still have some thinking to do on what’s next.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Megan Heather Swanek December 22, 2022 — 1:01 pm

    Can’t wait to learn what’s next!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good! I will post about it soon!

      Like

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