January 2014 Residency Recap

I thought I’d do a quick recap of the goals I had for January and how I did.

1) I wanted to push forward in my novel 1,000 words a day. Ideally, that would have meant writing 31,000 new fiction words in January. I didn’t meet that goal, but I still think I did pretty good with 22,600 new fiction words. I still consider it a success, even though I didn’t exactly meet my goal.

2) Meet or check-in weekly with my residency mates. Yup. I accomplished this one.

3) Attend 2 readings over the course of the month. Yup. I went to one in the city, and one held by a friend.

4) Buy and read magazines that I want to submit my stories to. I bought a copy of American Short Fiction, and I read a copy of Narrative Magazine. Past this, I spent the month researching all the magazines I’d ever heard of to figure out which ones I should research further. (See my earlier blog posts on researching magazines to see how I do it.) I used Duotrope to look at over 400 magazines, and I eliminated a whole bunch of them from my personal list because they were defunct or closed or didn’t pay.

This still left more than a hundred magazines that I’ll need to read, which is quite a task. When I set the goal of reading all the magazines I wanted to submit to, I didn’t realize there would be quite so many. I had thought I’d be able to do it in a month, but knowing what I know now, I think that reading all these magazines will probably take me more than a year.

This would probably be a good time to talk about changing goals. Changing goals based on having more information isn’t anything to be embarrassed or ashamed of. It’s simply a matter of being realistic. Based on the things I’ve learned this past month, I’m going to have to change some of my goals for February. Here are my new goals:

1) Turn in thesis draft. My top priority in February is finishing my thesis and meeting all the administrative deadlines I have to meet in order to graduate. My thesis is about 120 pages, and it’s going to involve some revision.

2) Continue pushing forward with my novel 1,000 words a day. I don’t expect to finish my novel this month, but I’d still like to get another substantial chunk of it done.

3) Meet or check in weekly with residency mates.

4) Read at least one of the magazines I want to submit to. On my list is American Short Fiction and Crab Orchard Review.

About E.S.O. Martin

E.S.O. Martin is a writer, a California native, and a graduate of SF State's Creative Writing MFA program.
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