Erin Lausten

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The Year in Review

Posted by erinlausten on December 20, 2011

I recently read a blog by Michael Stackpole where he stated he’d written over 400 thousand words over the last year. Holy smokes batman, that’s a lot of words!

The great thing about awesome blogs is they will get you thinking. So I did some math. Counting the two short stories that will be out by the end of the year I will have written approximately 135 published words (not including blogs). Add in the 60 thousand I have already written on Book 2 of the Viator series, and I have written over 200 thousand words. I know I have written more than that, but those are works that either will never see the light of day or will be revamped next year or even beyond. I finished a children’s book through an alter ego and that will be in print shortly. It was an adventure and worth the time and effort.  And at the end of the year, barring any disasters, I will have five items published as Erin Lausten through various online retailers.

Wow. Not too bad for a first year newbie.

And that’s just the words. In addition, I have taught myself how to create digital documents, fought endlessly with templates only to nuke them and start from scratch, and delved into a tiny bit of cover design. I made invaluable contacts with various writing professionals and developed relationships with artists to help with said book covers, because honestly, I suck at covers. I have developed an online presence I never expected to grow. And I’ve kept up this blog. It was sketchy at times. This business has a high learning curve and requires a ton of self-discipline and drive. And I mean, a TON of drive.

And in the end? I’ve produced and made some money. Not a lot of money. But some money. Am I a professional? Well the Oxford English Dictionary defines Professional as:  “a person or persons: that engages in a specified occupation or activity for money or as a means of earning a living, rather than as a pastime. Contrasted with amateur.”

I may not be “earning a living,” not by my standard of living, at least. But, I am engaging in the profession with an eye to monetary gain, so sure, I’m a professional.

What does that matter? Well, to me it does. Because, being a professional writer is what I want to do. It is my dream. Step one is complete. I feel pretty darn good about it.

Step two is next. I will do what it takes to be able to do this full time– as my sole occupation. It’s what I want. This one will take longer than a year, I can guarantee, but I am on my way with a plan and focus. So onward we go.

Step three is one I have been and will continue to work on into infinity. To be the best writer I can be. That is the true dream and the one that really, is the most fun.

The year has been full of successes. (I don’t care about the failures, not today. We can evaluate those later) What have you done this year that makes you smile or feel good? Remember, each is a step along the way and even the smallest step is an accomplishment. No matter how small or how grandiose, I would love to know what you have done to make your dreams come true.

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4 Responses to “The Year in Review”

  1. I’ve made connections with like minded writers like you, gotten a whole lot done on two manuscripts.

  2. Erin, it’s snowing on your blog!

    I’ve revised one book to multiple first-person POVs. I’ve almost completed two more. I’ve developed a plot for another and finally set up a website I can manage myself. I’ve learned to market my own books after years of having it done for me. And my former publishers are releasing my backlist as ebooks. I’m a happy camper!

  3. William I think the connections may have been the most rewarding experience that they year had to offer…it has been a pleasure meeting you.

    Norma, What an amazing year! It must feel incredibly good to look back and see how much you have accomplished, and congratulations on gaining control of your backlist! I foresee awesomeness in your future!

  4. AJ Sikes said

    Ditto William’s comment 🙂 It’s been a year of networking and rubbing elbows for me. It’s also the year I decided to take myself seriously enough to commit to writing as a career. Being laid off helped give me that precious free time all writer’s need 😉 and while I still need a day job and continue to hunt for one, it’s been lovely to get roughly 60K words written this year. The initial 35K word effort was a false start, but it was really helpful at getting me grounded as a writer, realizing just how much work this job entails, and striking out in the right direction.

    I’ve also submitted to one short story contest, a call from an anthology, and researched the market for science fiction and fantasy magazines. Oh, and happiest of all moments, I dropped $50 for some original artwork by Danny Kelly, a New Jersey based artist who works in the sci-fi/fantasy/comic superhero vein. He did a pen and ink piece, then colored it digitally. I keep it on my desktop while I write and it does wonders for getting me into my story world and letting things flow.

    In the realm of reading, I just gobbled up Stephen King’s “On Writing,” which was excellent. I’d previously re-read Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird,” also excellent. I’ve also been breezing through short stories in sci-fi anthologies and magazines.

    An online writing class (gift of Ma and Pa Sikes) helped get me into the craft and connect with some of my fellow novice writers.

    It’s been a great year for writing and being a writer. Thanks for being a part of it!

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