A few days back I hit the one year mark since my re-entry into the world of writing. I've done a fair amount of thinking about this past year as a result. In that time, I've written on the order of 200,000 words of fiction and another 50,000 or more words of non-fiction. I've written more than 200 blog posts, nearly 70 short and short-short (aka "flash") stories, a novelette, and a novel. I've sent about 50 of those short stories out to publications for their consideration; many of the rest are awaiting final revisions before going out. I've also self-published three items for the Kindle.
I say all that not (just) to brag, but to note that this is something I've invested a lot of effort into. I would guess that my pure writing/editing time for the past year is over 400 hours and that's ignoring time spent on submissions and other correspondence related to writing. Writing has been one of the three most major parts of my life in this past year, along with family and work.
One of my earliest blog posts was titled "Why Write?" and I wrote that post as a way of trying to make sense of my very sudden return to writing fiction last summer. I re-read that post before starting this one and I was struck by how much of what I wrote then is still true in terms of my motivations. Though there is a certain irony that I said "Now, I don't think I can keep this [writing routine] up as an everyday thing." Little did I know...
The biggest thing that's changed for me, personally, since then is that being a writer -- specifically, being a writer primarily of short fiction in the speculative fiction genres -- has become part of my identity and has led me to meet a bunch of really smart, really cool people that I enjoy conversing with. And, particularly since the field of short speculative fiction is somewhat, much as I hate to say this, of a niche market it has been possible to really become a (very, very) small part of the dialogue in that area.
And this ties back to some of my original reasons for writing which I blogged about last summer. I still "like the idea that other people could get enjoyment from ideas I've
created from nothing, just like I've gotten enjoyment from other
peoples' ideas." But that's even stronger now because of the initial ties I've developed into that overall community. It means something when someone who has written stories that meant something to me comments on my own stories. And, of course, it also means something when someone I've never met (in person or virtually) and to whom I'm a complete stranger takes the time to say that they liked something I wrote. They're both incredibly cool, in two very different ways.
I'm very glad for what the last year has brought me and excited to see what the next 12 months of writing have in store for me.