Shmo’s 2016 Writing Review

Dramatic life of the pilot/writer.

Dramatic life of the pilot/writer.

“You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.” — Ray Bradbury

I stumbled across this quote this year. It was helpful. Rejection is part of the writing life and I might as well get used to it. I had a book of poetry get rejected. I reworked a book manuscript, doubled the length, and resubmitted it, all at a publisher’s request. They rejected it. But they want to hang on to it for next year. So they can reject it, I imagine.

Some of these experiences, combined with this year’s politics, helped me invent a new mantra:

“Transmit only.” — Eric Chandler

I’m compelled to write. Maybe someday I’ll actually figure out what those reasons are. But this year, the dumpster fire of 2016 made me choose how to spend my writing time. I started out trying to directly engage with the avalanche of confirmation bias and the Dunning-Kruger effect. I entered a rage spiral. So I stopped directly engaging.

Instead, I tried to put my thoughts into the world without dialogue. I stopped engaging with the world. I withdrew. And somehow, this gave me more motivation to write. Like my writing. Don’t like it. I don’t care. Accept rejection. Reject acceptance. I care less about what other people think, either way.

It’s weird, but feeling like the lone dude with a ham radio transmitting from a bunker after the zombie apocalypse is somehow motivational to me. Transmit only. I don’t expect a response.

How did my writing goals for this year go? Here they were:

  • Submit an updated version of my e-book Outside Duluth to a publisher.
  • Finish first draft of memoir and complete editing.
  • Establish weekly and monthly goals that support 1 and 2.

I submitted my reworked book to a publisher. They rejected it, but at least I met one third of my goals.

2017 writing goals:

  1. Finish first draft of memoir and complete editing.
  2. Establish weekly and monthly goals to support #1.
  3. Begin work on a writing workshop for veterans to take place in Duluth in late spring 2018.
  4. Submit Outside Duluth and poetry manuscripts to other publishers.

Some other great things happened this year that weren’t necessarily goals. I was accepted into the Military Writers Guild as an Associate Member. The people there have helped me write better and find new outlets for my work. I also got into the Outdoor Writers Association of America and their national conference is in Duluth this year.

My short story “The Heart Under the Lake” was accepted into the Lake Superior Writers anthology called Going Coastal for publication in 2017. That was cool to get into the first ever anthology being put out by my local writers group.

I won the 2016 Col Darron L. Wright Award for Poetry at the online journal Line of Advance. It was for the poem titled “The Stars and Stripes is Free.”

I wrote a beer review column for 10 months, thanks to Shawn Perich at Northern Wilds. It was a great opportunity. I learned a lot about beer. And I get to write off beer on my taxes, which was one of my life goals. Most importantly, I learned a lot about how to interview people. I talked to a lot of local brewers and it really helped me come up with a process for conducting an interview.

I was also invited to participate in a panel in February 2017 at the annual AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) Conference in Washington, DC. Randy Brown (aka “Charlie Sherpa) is spearheading a panel titled “Citizen-Soldier-Poet: Using Poetry to Bridge the Civil-Military Gap.” I’m excited to read some of my military themed poetry and to meet other writers. Still somewhat flabbergasted about this poetry thing, but I’m going with it.

I read around 15 books this year. You can find my reading list in the above Shmotown menus or via my page at Goodreads. I probably enjoyed the Carver and McGuane I read the most, but I also enjoyed the novel Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.

The rest of this post is an attempt to quantify the precise level of my mediocrity. Of note, I didn’t have a word count as a specific goal for the year for the first time in a while.

Most popular Shmotown posts of 2016:

  1. Dear Cross Country Skier,
  2. E Pluribus Unum: A Review of “Tribe” by Sebastian Junger
  3. Crater in Mosul
  4. Thank You Card
  5. Never Volunteer

28 Pieces Published:

4 poems

  • 2 in print journals
  • 2 in online journals
  • Topics: 1 military, 1 flying, 2 crabby
  • 2016 Col Darron L. Wright Award for Poetry at Line of Advance for military poem

22 non-fiction

  • 10 of 22 about beer
  • 9 of 22 outdoors topics
    • 8 of 9 in print
    • 1 of 9 online
  • 3 of 22 creative nonfiction
    • 2 of 3 in online journals

2 fiction

  • 1 print journal
  • 1 chosen for 2017 anthology Going Coastal by ten Lake Superior Writers

9 Publishers in 2016:

5 print

  • 2 magazines
  • 1 newspaper
  • 2 literary journals

4 online

  • 2 literary journals
  • 2 websites

Northern Wilds

Duluth News Tribune

Sleet Magazine

The Talking Stick (Vol. 25)

Perfect Duluth Day

Line of Advance

Aqueous Magazine

Silent Sports

The War Horse

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About Eric Chandler

Husband. Father. Pilot. Cross Country Skier. Writer. Author of Outside Duluth and Down In It.
This entry was posted in Writing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Shmo’s 2016 Writing Review

  1. Eddy Gilmore says:

    Nice, dude. Keep it up.

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