Posted by: devonellington | December 22, 2008

2008 Wrap Up

This week, into next week, you can post  in the comments your look back on 2008, where you’ve come, what you have and haven’t achieved, and what you’ve let go because it no longer fit your needs or your life.

AFTER the first of the year (probably on the 2nd, because I may not have access to the internet on the first), I set up the post for 2009’s goals, dreams, and resolutions, and, a day or two later, the post ofor the list for January.

I’ve struggled, looking back at my 2008 list from January.  My life took a very different turn than I expected it to take, and I rolled with it.  Hence, when I look at the list, I feel as though I failed in many areas.

The biggest drag on my energy and my biggest frustration is not having orchestrated the move this past year.  It simply couldn’t happen.  I want and need to move, but, especially in this economy, it’s even more complicated in the coming year.   Hopefully, with the new administration coming in, with a government leader who actually takes his responsibility to the people of this country seriously, rather than seeing it as a way to line his friends’ pockets, which is what we’ve lived under for the past eight years, things will improve.

On the positive side:

HEX BREAKER was published by FireDrakes Weyr publishing.

OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the second Jain Lazarus adventure, was accepted, and will be published in Spring.

“The Possession of Nattie Filmore” released.

The Penny’s Dreadfuls website went up, and “The Ramsey CHase”, the very first Penny’s Dreadful and the very first Cornelia True/Roman Gray story released, with other stories to follow.

I have several manuscripts under consideration at an array of publishers.

A play of mine was accepted and will open in January.

Two more plays have been requested by the same company.

I continue to get steady work from both Confidential Job #1 and Confidential Job #2.

My freelance writing business has grown — not as fast or as far as I’d like, but it’s grown.

I walked away from several clients who were more trouble than they were worth, instead of sticking it out “just for the money”.  Trust me, the money wasn’t worth the aggravation.

I streteched my writing boundaries.

I’m in the midst of, if I can pull it off, could be the first step in a fascinating project (the one nicknamed The Big Project).

I started my first cozy mystery at the Muse Online Writers’ Conference (thanks, Kim).

I taught at the Muse Online Conference for the second consecutive year.  From that, I received another invitation to teach this coming February.

I researched several projects that excite me — but need a lot more research before they’re ready to write.

I learned a lot about the marketing/promotion side of the business.

The direction the writing life took this year is different than I expected, but at the same time, it’s getting me where I need and want to go in a better and more flexible way.

I did not achieve my goals of the house move or finding affordable health insurance, nor did I have the chance to indulge in anythign liek an art class or a pottery class.  But I did get to do a lot of interesting things, and I feel that my writing took a real leap over the course of the year.

I feel as though this year was about building a staircase — 2007 set a foundation, now I’m building walls and stairs and starting to construct the house of my writing life.

Feel free to post your own musings on the year below, and please join us shortly after the first of the year when we set out our goals, dreams, and resolutions for 2009 as a whole and what we hope to break down to achieve in January.



  1. Forgive the typos in the above. I HATE the new WordPress dashboard, and I can’t edit the post, because the tags, etc. boxes are sitting over the box to edit the post and won’t move.

  2. Each year when I set my goals, I’m excited. At the same time I feel like I’m carving my fate in granite, and I spend the year chiseling at the stone surface of my ambition. 2008 was no different, except I didn’t chisel; I graffitied.

    With the exception of starting another draft of “A Lamentation of Swans”, becoming overwhelmed and frustrated and stopping, I did not achieve one writing goal that I had listed. With that in mind, here’s what I accomplished in 2008:

    Rewrote a good deal of “Sweet Taboo”, my 2007 NaNo novel, stopped at 31,705 words.
    Revised and expanded “Loose Daddy” to 45,913 words (from a completed first draft of 42,560).
    Completed NaNo 2008, “A Dance of Demons” at 50,030 words.

    I let go of writing short stories because I’d rather focus on novel writing, and as much as I like short stories, trying to write one distracts and exhausts me.

    Still, I spent most of the year writing, and despite my feeling that I made little progress, I can see that the year was not a total loss.

  3. Debra, you came a long way with your writing this year.

    Since you want to focus on the novels rather than shorter pieces, are you going to make your biggest goal for 2009 finishing?

    I always find unfinished work drags down the rest of my creativity, and I have several albatrosses of unfinished manuscripts around my neck that I need to clear off.

  4. Yes! My priority is to finish “A Lamentation of Swans” and I’m very close to making that my one and only goal for 2009. “Loose Daddy” deserves my attention as far as getting a synopsis written so I’m seriously thinking about whether or not I want to add it as a second goal for 2009. d:)

  5. Hello Devon!

    Here’s a brief summary of my 2008 Review. I’ve posted my full 2008 Review at my blog:

    1. Obtain representation from a literary agent – NOT MET
    2. Have a major piece of fiction published traditionally – ALMOST MET
    3. Write two new novels – MET
    4. Publish a new chapbook – NOT MET
    5. Increase my profile – MET
    6. Develop The Ranfurly Review – MET
    7. Double my freelance earnings from 2007 – ALMOST MET
    8. Double royalty earnings from chapbooks – NOT MET
    9. Become 100% debt-free – NOT MET

    1. To obtain the services of an agent – NOT MET
    2. To have a novel bought by a publisher in a traditional book deal – NOT MET

    1. Lose 2 stones – ALMOST MET
    2. Learn to drive – NOT MET

    Statistically it looks worse then it is, because on some of my goals I was close but not enough to merit a ‘MET’.

    I’ll post my GDRs for 2009 on Friday.

    Happy New Year!



  6. Colin, you accomplished an amazing amount this year, and, from what I’ve read of your writing, you’ve made a real leap. I know there have been a few plateau times, but those have been in preparation for your next leap.

  7. I didn’t do this last year, so my structure’s a lot different. I also didn’t get a huge amount of writing done as I’m a big planner and needed to sort stuff out in my life, my environment, and in my head first. Fortunately I have a day job these days, so it wasn’t imperative. But I’ve been almost 3 years in the wilderness and it’s time I got out of it.

    Here is my own update on the goals I set myself last year. (Available on my blog too:


    manage on what I have – YES – OF A FASHION
    earn a bit more to help pay for extras – FAILED
    stop wasting it – OF A FASHION
    I will do better this year – my budget spreadsheet already proves it.

    Health & fitness

    walk more – YES
    take up yoga again – NOT YET
    get back down below 10 stone again (140lb) – HA, HA, HA, HA, HA.
    eat more healthily – YES
    cook more – YES
    only eat homemade cakes and biscuits (cookies) – MOST OF THE TIME

    Day job

    take control/meet deadlines – YES, A VERY SUCCESSFUL YEAR
    1 extra magazine this year – THIS WAS STOPPED DUE TO CHANGE IN POLICY
    1 extra brochure this year – YES
    get on top of website work – UM …
    achieve all objectives – PRETTY MUCH
    increase working week by 3.5 hours (half a day) – YES
    write at least 1 article per magazine (4 per year) – I WROTE 2


    write at least 1 novel, Catch the Rainbow – NO, BUT IT WAS STARTED
    complete (or find remaining chapters of) Night Crawler – YES, AND IN CIRCULATION
    write 5 publishable short stories – WELL, I WROTE 1; TIME WILL TELL IF IT’S PUBLISHABLE
    write 5 publishable articles/fillers outside my own magazine – DITTO, ALTHOUGH I DID WRITE 3
    manage time better – GETTING THERE

    Personal development

    learn shorthand – FAIL
    complete another Open University module, with a grade 2 pass – FAIL
    complete Writers Bureau full writing course – FAIL
    complete Devon Ellington’s 5 in 10 – STARTED, BUT FAILED
    read a newspaper every day – STARTED, BUT TAILED OFF
    read a novel a month – POSSIBLY


    take at least 2 holidays – YES, DENT IN MARCH AND SPAIN IN SEPTEMBER
    meet someone special – I’VE MET LOTS OF SPECIAL PEOPLE THIS YEAR, but it’s possible that the most special person was already there … then again, I may have yet to meet him … :o)


    get kitchen finished – KITCHEN FINISHED, must remember to post pics …
    start kitchen garden – YES, AND 2 APPLES TO SHOW FOR IT
    cosmetic improvements to lounge – LOUNGE FINISHED
    cosmetic improvements to main bedroom – POSTPONED
    paint outside of house – POSTPONED

  8. You got an amazing amount done in 2008, and you also dealt with necessary changes with a lot of grace.

    The healthy eating choices especially stick out — you wrote a lot about the changes as they happened, and they stand out in my mind, thinking back over your blog.

    It’s amazing how much you got done last year, and what a positive foundation you set in your life.

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