Sunday, December 31, 2017

A look back at 2017

Well, here we are at the end of another year.

2017 was a crazy year for me--a year of challenges, a year of changes. But through it all, I kept plugging away at my writing. My goal of becoming a full-time writer is closer than ever, but I'm not quite there yet.

Since it's New Year's Eve, I'd like to do what I do every year at this time and review the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year.

How did I do? Well, as it turns out, I missed a lot more than usual, but that's not a huge surprise--or even a disappointment.

That's because last New Year's Day, I was unemployed--and had been for 9 months. I was waiting to hear back on a job I had interviewed for, but I didn't want to jinx things. So I set my writing goals sky-high, assuming that I wouldn't get the job and would have 24 hours a day in which to write.

Things didn't turn out that way. I got the job (yay!), and besides spending a lot of time and energy learning my way around that, I also had to sell my home in Colorado Springs, pack up all my stuff and schlep it all down to my new home in Gilbert, AZ.

My writing time dropped significantly, from 4.5 to 1.5 hours a day, but I'm not missing many day. And, of course, I can pay the bills now, which makes for a much more sustainable lifestyle (it's hard to concentrate on writing when your stomach's empty and the bank's about to foreclose on your house).

Without further ado then, here are my goals for 2017 and how close I came to reaching them:

1) Complete eight new plays

Not even close. I only completed three new plays, but that's not entirely due to the unavoidable drop in my writing time.

I spent all of March and April making revisions that my publisher requested on two previously accepted plays. The revisions were time-consuming, but I have to admit, they made the plays a whole lot better.

And from October to December, I took a break from my playwriting to work on something a little bit different: a screenplay.

So I only had seven months to work on new plays. Taking that into consideration, having completed three plays isn't so bad.

2) Publish six new plays

I fell short here too, with only three new plays being released during the year. Since I didn't finish as many plays as last year, I wasn't able to make as many submissions.

But my hit rate on the ones I did complete was much better this year than last. In 2017, Pioneer accepted three of my submissions and rejected one. In 2016, they accepted two and rejected three.

I still haven't gotten any of my rejected plays picked up by other publishers, but I'm still waiting to hear from a few so I hope that'll change soon.

3) Have a successful premiere of The Purrfect Crime

Bingo. As previously reported on this blog, Palmer Ridge High School of Monument, Colorado performed the play in March of this year and it was a big success all around. Audiences loved it, and I got the feedback I needed to punch up the script before I submitted it to my publisher (they accepted it in October).

4) Get another production of Kill the Critic!

Not even close. The script was rejected by two more publishers and the LA theatre that had given it a professional reading in February 2016 didn't pick it up for a production.

It's still being considered by one publisher, but at this point, I'm focusing on my other plays. This one is just too risque fpr the schools and community theaters that form the bulk of my market.

5) Get another production of The Last Radio Show

Success. The play was performed in April by Johnston Heights Church in British Columbia, the only performance group that has done three of my plays (have I mentioned how much I love Canada?). My contact there told me that people came up after the show saying they had stomachaches from laughing so hard.

Unfortunately, publishers aren't seeing it that way. This script was also rejected by two publishers, but I'm still holding out hope as it's squeaky clean and is relatively inexpensive (if not exactly easy) to produce.

So there you have it. Two successes out of five. Not the best, but considering where I was a year ago, I'll take it.

I hope 2017 was a great year for you too.

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