The Nameless Horror

The last 12 months, professionally speaking

2017 was a solid, pretty average year in most respects. In those 12 months, I:

  • edited 57 short stories: 228k words*.
  • edited 10 novels: 900k words*.
  • wrote 51 editor’s reports: 153k words*.
  • wrote non-fiction (trade journalism, an RPG bound eventually for DriveThru, misc. stuff): 100k words.
  • wrote fiction: 4k words.

*Estimates based on rough averages for each category, probably on the low side for most (particularly the novels). Reports don’t include later-draft follow-ups in correspondence either. I tend to be quite lengthy in editing feedback, and you could probably tack on another 30-40k in email form if you were so inclined. I don’t write reports for copy edits, hence the number disparity.

So as a freelance editor (my schedule’s not bad at the moment, hit me up, blah blah blah), I’m clearly keeping busy. Which is good; it’s generally enjoyable work and it’s nice to help writers across ability groups and backgrounds polish their output, build their skills and confidence, or learn the basics of the craft.

And as a fiction writer in my own right, I’ve clearly managed piss-bugger-all. That’s not strictly true - I’ve done a lot of tidying of a novel finished the year before, done a lot of research for that one I got 4k into, done a lot of planning, and replanning, and planning again - but in terms of words-on-page, jack shit.

That needs to change this year if I’m not to fall out of the habit entirely. I think it’s partly a case of time limitations, partly a case of tidying/fixing last year’s output turning into an interminable slog that’s made me want to stab toothpicks in my eyes rather than even think about writing anything, and partly the creeping doubt that builds over time between making progress on something, the sense that maybe you haven’t gotten anywhere because you’re not going to, you’re never going to, because you’ve somehow forgotten how. It’s over. Stick a fork in you, you’re done.

Which, frankly, is all bullshit. Other than maybe the time thing, but even then; I used to be strict at carving out a little chunk of the week for my own stuff. Little by little, while keeping the editing rolling along because that’s what pays the bills, I need to return to taking my own writing/career seriously too this year, particularly if I stick to self-pub, which I’ve been very half-arsed with. (Yes, we’re a month into 2018 already, but I’ve had flu. I’ve also turned 40 and am now therefore Old and Old People forget things like the simple procession of time.)

So, 2018: keep editing, start enjoying writing again, finish a damn novel.