Thursday, January 8, 2015

2014 Accomplishments – 2015 Goals

Wow, what a year.

I struggle to live in the moment, because in most moments, I fail to recognize what I'm accomplishing and what I have accomplished. My wishlist is always much longer than my completed list. So it's important to sit back and take stock, lest my self collapse under the weight of might-have-beens and ought-to-dos.

  • Of course my biggest accomplishment was publishing Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control. This has been on my bucket list for nearly ten years, and "write a nonfiction book" has been on the bucket list forever. It was the culmination of 15 months of concentrated effort, in addition to the years of research I'd done prior. It's sold over 650 copies, and sales are still steady. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, with eighteen 5-star reviews on Amazon, and a glowing review by Richard Packham, who is a prominent voice in the exmormon community. It's helped hundreds of people. I've been personally told by dozens of people about how it's helped their struggle after leaving Mormonism.

    So for all my doubts about interrupting my fiction career to veer off in a completely different direction, this is one of those things that I was meant to do. And so I did it.
  • In the midst of promoting Recovering Agency, I had a few accomplishments that would be worthy of note all on their own:
  • I became an SFWA Associate member based on my 2013 story, Touch of Tides. This is a very exciting accomplishment to me because I put stock in prestigious professional organizations.
  • I became Campbell eligible for 2013-2014, also based on my 2013 story, Touch of Tides.
  • I sold another story to The Journal of Unlikely Entomology: Meltdown in Freezer Three.
  • I attended Rainforest Writer's Retreat again.
  • Emerald City Dreamer won the NIWA NSQ Award of Excellence for 2013.
  • I was a panelist at Radcon 6B, for my second year. I really love doing panels.
  • I was accepted as a panelist to Norwescon 38. This has been on my bucket list for 15 years, so I'm really excited.
  • I participated as a speaker in the first DEFCON Unlocked videocast to help encourage women and minorities to submit talks to DEFCON.
  • I was extremely active on social media social justice issues, particularly centered around the Ferguson (aka Black Lives Matter) movement. I also participated in a couple of protests in downtown Seattle.
This was also a year for rejections. I had a much higher ratio of losses to wins, but this might be because I pursued more opportunities. Since these rejections took quite a bit of work, they are worthy of mention. Here are a few of my missed targets:
  • I wrote a talk for DEFCON 22. The whole talk. With outline, slides, and draft of the text. Even though it was rejected, I did win the award for "Most prepared talk." I'm not sure if that was "ever" or "for 2014" but I prefer to think of it as "ever."
  • I submitted the same talk to Shmoocon, where it was also rejected.
  • I submitted an application to Launchpad Astronomy Workshop, which was rejected.
  • I submitted 26 stories and all but one were rejected. (Two are still out.) Many of these were personal rejections, and as Christie Yant says, that means my writing is good, but now it's just a matter of editors' personal taste. I keep that advice handy when I get discouraged.
Quite a lot of work. So now I'm wondering why last week I felt like I hadn't gotten anything done!

What are my goals for next year? These are difficult to quantify this time, because I'm reconsidering my direction. So some things that I'd planned, I'm not sure if I have the splines/spoons to pursue them. I'm taking a cold, hard look at how much I've bitten off. But I can at least say I'd like to:
  • Find confidence and self-worth in my occupation that is not measured in dollar signs and sales figures.
  • Publish Emerald City Iron.
  • Speak at Radcon, Norwescon, and one or two other SF/geek cons. (I've already applied to five or six!)
  • Speak at a Mormon-related conference, such as the Exmormon Conference and/or Sunstone.
  • More blog posts, particularly on autism, but maybe also on Mormonism, mind control, and atheism-related topics.
  • Get into Launchpad.
  • Write and publish more short stories.
  • Become an SFWA Active member.
  • Complete another big project: either a draft of the next Dreams by Streetlight book, edit Sun Never Rises, or draft one of the other novel/novella projects I've had in mind.
Here's to a happy and productive 2015!

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