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  • Writer's pictureSheri McGuinn

A Satisfying End to 2023

Chipmunk sentinel. Looking into distance.

Happy New Year.

I'm getting this post out a few hours later than usual because I spent New Year's Eve refining and submitting an anthology of my short stories - with a Dec. 31 deadline. I'd been thinking of creating an anthology for a long time, but didn't realize I had more than enough stories to do so. Once I sent it off, I stayed up until morning working on copyrighting stories that hadn't been yet. As I was doing that, I realized I wanted to swap out one of the stories for one that hadn't made it into the manuscript. Since it's already submitted, that's not an immediate option, but I've made a note for pre-publication. Whether or not that publisher takes the book, their deadline got me to pull it together - a satisfying end to 2023.

Looking back, I accomplished quite a bit this year:

  1. I helped my son move twice - first from near me to about ten hours away, then a little closer (but not much). At least he's near his brother now, so I can visit both at the same time. It's only one long day's drive.

  2. I put my place up for sale, thinking there was nothing to tie me here, looking at real houses and applying for jobs back in NY. After a few months in a sluggish market, I decided to settle in and make the place mine. I painted the roof with insulating paint and remodeled the sunroom.

  3. Meanwhile, I got books and screenplays into contests and kept several short stories submitted at all times. The screenplays don't announce winners until sometime in the next couple months, but Tough Times made it to the finals in the YA category of Kindle Book Awards. The anthology decision will be announced later this summer.

  4. I also updated my website, and then got this blog going twice a week and linked it to Facebook and Instagram. I even "boosted" a couple Facebook posts. First steps on the way to improved marketing.

  5. I found a critique group online that's helping me with a novel I first wrote in 1981 - I'm aging the characters and making it more contemporary.

  6. I started going to a local writer's group and unintentionally became the leader - though I've drafted an executive committee to assist.

  7. My income improved primarily through writing gigs, a few editing gigs, and teaching an online reading/writing course for the community college as an adjunct - and developing another course for them. Royalties still trickle in as much as can be expected with virtually no marketing.

So, looking back:The first two items above were unexpected and demanded focus for months - and they were not part of my 2023 plan. Neither was taking charge of a writer's group, which is time-intensive. Seeing the request for anthology manuscripts was a December gift that spurred action on something from the back burner.

Lesson learned: whatever I plan, however I prioritize today, expect to adapt.

Sheri McGuinn. I write. Award-winning stories and novels. Screenplays and more.

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