Discovering Your Favorite Authors Are Misogynists

The harassment of women in geek, tech, science, and other circles has many people taking a closer look at the sexism all around us. Thanks to this newfound awareness, I’m discovering, to my discomfort, that some of my favorite authors are actually misogynists.

tg-bookshelf

Books chez Guidry. Wish I had a misogyny detector, like a Geiger counter.

It’s a disturbing feeling when you realize all those hazy fond memories of curling up in a tree with a book and an apple (because that’s how Jo March reads, dammit, and I didn’t have access to a convenient garret with worn sofa) are contaminated by the fact that those authors, when they were writing those books, touring the con circuits, answering fan mail, were also being what today I’d term total creeper asshats. It’s even more disturbing when you realize this is still going on, and might be getting worse.

Heinlein, I should have known better. It’s right there in his books. But I was a kid and way more fascinated by the computer Mycroft in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress to realize the implications of Time Enough For Love. For the record, I also thought “a man who does not exist” in the Knight Rider opening credits referred to K.I.T.T., not Michael Knight. So I was a teenage idiot, apparently.

But… surely not Asimov. He was shy around women, so I’d heard. There were hardly any in his books and those who were present were almost asexual, like Susan Calvin. And anyway, I was only there for the robots.

Second childhood copy of The Caves Of Steel. I wore the cover off the first one.

And then, quite recently, I find out about this. Oh, no, Isaac, not you too! Can I ever read The Caves Of Steel again without feeling your ghostly hands on my ass?

It’s not fun, doing a web search for “<favorite author> misogynist” but it certainly is illuminating. I’m afraid to know what would happen if I were to type “<favorite author> racist” or “<favorite author> homophobe” or “<favorite author> total creeper asshat who just harassed female author XYZ last week at convention blah-blah-blah”.

I’m not sure I can re-read some of these writers’ books without misogyny leaping out at me like bold italic text. I know I’d have a hard time with Lazarus Long (fist in the face seems appropriate). But is it there in less expected places? Do I want to find out?

And then… there’s my own writing. I recently described my mental crossroads over recent sexist SFWA incidents and what I should do as a fantasy fiction writer. Is the misogyny there, too? Am I secretly a privileged cisgendered idiot who can’t even keep the misogyny out of her own stories? I submitted one recently and afterwards was wracked with guilt that it might be misogynistic. Ugh! I dread getting the rejection: “This thing is a piece of sexist tripe and don’t ever darken our doorstep again.”

I am going to go cry in my Valdemar now.

If you’re interested here are some of the other folks talking about sexism and speculative fiction…

 

 

How Being Female Affects My Strategy As A Writer

If you’re in the speculative fiction field you know about the recent controversy surrounding SFWA (Science Fiction Writers Of America). This has me questioning if women are really invited to the professional writers’ table, and if so, whether we get to sit with the grownups.

gabrielle-scroll

Female writer Gabrielle says, “You USED my SCROLL?!?!?!”

Specifically, recent issues of the SFWA Bulletin (their official publication) contained sexist language combined with stereotypical “sexy girl in unrealistic armor” cover art. You can read more about it here:

As a female writer, this has my attention. I write fantasy fiction as well as nonfiction about technology. For the past several years my goal has been to publish at least one story in a venue that would qualify me for minor status in SFWA. Now I wonder if my gender has been killing my chances, and what other women writers are doing about this dilemma.

SFWA is THE professional organization for writers of speculative fiction. Not being in SFWA hinders my ability to succeed in this field (I measure “success” as “get published more than once and develop a healthy readership”).

And it’s not just genre fiction. I have similar problems with tech writing, too. I guess women are supposed to be penning poetry about teacups instead of doling out advice on cloud storage security. Oops, my bad.

How Being Female Affects My Writing Strategy
I try to submit to publications with female editors. Why? Because I hope they will be more likely to take a chance on another woman. I didn’t start doing this consciously, but once I realized it, it became part of my strategy. Of course, you also have to make sure you’re submitting to an appropriate venue, that you understand manuscript format, that you’re following the guidelines… but for me, gender equality has become equally important. I don’t want to submit to (or, heaven forbid, get published by!) a misogynistic publication.

I also look for publishers who publish women writers, and who have women on staff. As in, more than one and allowed to sit in the big chairs. That seems so basic as to be ridiculous, but again, it subconsciously became part of my research process. If they don’t hire women, they’re not likely to publish women. The search for potential misogyny/unfriendliness has become a not insignificant part of my strategy for both fiction and nonfiction.

As you can imagine this takes additional time and effort, not to mention reducing the number of possible places where I could be published. As a freelancer, more overhead + less potential clients = less paying work. (Good thing I’m not expecting to make money as a fantasy writer… but it hurts on the tech side.)

What Can Women Writers Do?
I’m disappointed, but not surprised. It’s a corollary of my experiences as a woman in IT – less raises, less chances for promotion, less opportunities to work on the high-profile projects. For some time I’ve wondered if my obviously-female name alone is hurting my chances. Maybe I should write under a pseudonym? Worked for D.C. Fontana.

But I don’t want to be an androgynous writer. I am a FEMALE writer. I want to be in a group like SFWA because I want to network with like minds, polish my skills, learn new things from new people… but not if they’re deliberately hopping on the misogyny train. I never thought SFWA was like that until this latest debacle. Not being in it, I’m not sure if I was naive or if this is just an aberration.

I’m disinclined to think such things are mere aberrations, however, because holy Captain Grace Hopper in a handbasket, shit has been BAD for geek women lately! Harassment at cons. Harassment on the job. Harassment in online comments. Rape and death threats for any female who speaks out. And apparently a professional organization like SFWA doesn’t have our backs either? What century is this? What the heck is an aspiring female writer to do?

Some female members of SFWA have chosen to leave. Some are giving it another chance. Many are sharing their experiences with sexism in the field. All are doing so knowing that it could permanently affect their professional careers. (That’s food on the table, people.) As a newbie I find myself at a crossroads because, as Ann Aguirre said in her thought-provoking blog on her own experiences with misogyny in speculative fiction:

My professional work shouldn’t be impacted by my gender, my appearance, my religion, my sexuality, my skin tone, or any other factor. The fact that it is? Makes me so very sad.

And as Patty Jansen expressed in her blog about why she’s giving SFWA another year:

Our genre needs and deserves a decent professional organisation, dammit. Since there are no viable alternatives, THIS IS IT.

THANK YOU To The Women Who Continue To Write
I want to give a big shout out to all the women out there, talking about this, putting up with personal attacks, dealing with the utter filth they receive in comments and on social media, all so that they can continue to write the stories that are sitting on my bookshelf. Thank you. A million times. THANK YOU.

Personally I’m not sure I want to be a member of SFWA anymore. (Easy to say – I don’t have the publication credits to qualify, at this point.) But this isn’t specific to SFWA. I’m not sure I want to be a member of ANYTHING if it’s going to turn into a sexist slugfest. And it stinks not knowing whether the rejections I’ve received mean that I need to polish my work more… or that I’m committing the grave error of Writing While Female.

Meanwhile SFWA has an updated announcement which defines their strategy for dealing with this situation – starting with an immediate hiatus of the Bulletin until improvements can be made. This, I like. This tells me somebody’s taking the matter seriously… unlike, for example, when Microsoft does its sexist thang and then shrugs and walks away. But still… once bitten, twice shy…

I would love to hear from other writers. What’s your strategy? Is this SFWA thing just a hiccup? Are there other organizations/publications more friendly to women? Should we just give up and go back to scratching stories in notebooks that get shoved in drawers, as some might prefer? Or should we wait it out and see if the atmosphere becomes friendlier to geek women in the future? And how might we help make that happen?

 

Fangirl Movie Review: Dragon Age: Dawn Of The Seeker

I’ve been enjoying the Dragon Age universe for the past year or so. It’s got all your basics for good fantasy: epic battles, monsters, magic. Plus, it’s ideal for girl gamers like me who want to play a female role that is actually a FEMALE role and not a guy-hero in a skirt. Geek girls FTW!

So I was in fangirl heaven when Dragon Age: Dawn Of The Seeker came out the same week as the first issue of the Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover AND the season finale of Game of Thrones. So much fandom, so little time!

Message on the Chanter’s Board: Spoiler alert!

Dragon Age: Dawn Of The Seeker is a computer-animated film that acts as a prequel to the Dragon Age 2 video game. Those who have played the series know there’s quite a lot that happens between Dragon Age: Origins + Awakening and Dragon Age 2, so it’s nice to get a feel for that as well as some background for events in DA2.

The animation was good. As I said in my review of the Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover, if there is one thing I dislike it’s bad art. Other reviewers didn’t care for the CGI but I was fine with it. Give me decent visuals and I’m likely to put up with a few trailing plotlines or bad characterizations.

Fortunately there was also decent plot and characterization. I like Cassandra much more now than I did while she was interrogating poor Varric in DA2. There, she was mostly a bully with a closed mind only our smooth-talking dwarf could open. Here she demonstrates compassion, bravery, doubt, fear, regret. Most of all she has Attitude, and there’s nothing I like better than a strong female character with Attitude. (Except a certain possessed renegade mage in my boudoir, but I digress.)

And I like Galyan, except he seemed like your stereotypical Disney prince, didn’t he? The perfect Good Mage, a healer who’s not very good at combat but cares about small animals and little girls. I wish he’d had more personality than that.

I also thought the movie was heavy on the “apostates are bad, Circle mages are good” mantra. Especially given that, if you play a mage as I usually do, there is a big difference between an apostate and a blood mage. Sure, blood mages are by necessity apostates, but my Champion of Kirkwall is an apostate spirit healer (who, yes, took out the Arishok in single combat). It would have been nice to see Cassandra and Galyan spar over whether all apostates are truly evil, during the scene where Cassandra expresses her resentment toward mages while Galyan tries to convince her otherwise.

My main criticism is that I was expecting a few cameos and we didn’t get a single one. For a series that likes cameos, this seemed odd. Such as the aforementioned possessed mage, or an ex-slave from Tevinter… more Anders and Fenris, please! I figured at least Leliana would show up. I swear, for a bard-spy-assassin, that girl stands out. (Dye your hair, dear. Men always notice red.) And what of our gallant King of Ferelden? More Alistair, too!

I also wanted to know how Cassandra went from being rather sweet if single-minded in Dawn of the Seeker to the hardass we know in DA2. Can’t just be the haircut.

A bit more integration into the existing universe would have been nice, too, although I realize that’s difficult since the plots of the games can change radically depending on how you play them. Speaking of – kudos to David Gaider on overcoming that obstacle in his novels. I can only imagine how hard it must be when you have to write in a way that is consistent for all of the multiple potential plotlines in the games. As if writing a novel isn’t hard enough by itself!

I’m enjoying the expansion of the Dragon Age universe through novels, comics, video, and DLC. Eagerly awaiting Dragon Age 3!

Is It Possible To Read A Book Too Fast?

The problem with reading is that books go by too quickly. Or am I reading too fast?

I’ve always been a fast reader. I taught myself to read at age two, which sounds more impressive than it is. A bored toddler will do ANYTHING for entertainment, and I probably figured out that it was much more entertaining than listening to grown-ups. Come to think of it, I still feel that way…

Most of the books available to me were also for grownups. I cut my teeth on Reader’s Digest Condensed Books and had more than one steamy romance novel ripped out of my hands for reasons I would only discover later. Gradually I gained more children’s books, of the Dr. Seuss and Little Golden Books variety.

I was notorious at the local library. The juvenile books were color-coded by reading level. I zipped through yellow, blue, and red, then got special permission from the beaming librarians to access the chapter books. Later I became the only kid allowed to venture across the Sacred Threshold to the section of the library reserved for adults.

(Tips on how to ingratiate yourself to librarians: Always be super-polite, never put books away on the wrong shelves, and don’t try to sneak in snacks when they’re not looking. Asking them for recommendations will get you bonus points, but you really start unlocking the achievements when you start recommending books to them.)

My tastes gravitated from an initial childhood love of mysteries (Nancy Drew! Trixie Belden!) toward fantasy and science fiction. I think that’s when I started to speed-read. I wasn’t trying to race through the books. I kept finding series that were so addictive that I couldn’t wait to get to the next one.

It’s probably Mercedes Lackey’s fault. I was barely thirteen, and what was the first book I encountered in the fantasy genre? A novel about a brown-haired teenage girl who is ostracized by her family, loves to read, and bonds to a magical white not-horse with a flowing silver mane that spirits her away to a new life. Oh, like I was ever going to be able to resist THAT. Especially since the second fantasy series I read was Pern…

In high school I read a novel a day. Time wasn’t a problem given my absolute lack of social life. I got busted by a substitute science teacher once. He made me hand over the book, took one look at it and said, “I can’t punish a student for reading Isaac Asimov in physics class.” Thank you, Foundation’s Edge!

But, looking back, I have to wonder if I was reading too fast. Sometimes I missed things that I picked up on later, which worked fine for Valdemar and Pern since I read the covers off both series. Books I only read once, I probably missed the nuances.

This came to mind recently as I finished reading George R. R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire (aka Game Of Thrones). It was the first fantasy series I picked up during my sabbatical and I figured I should check it out, given what a HUGE Beauty and the Beast fan I remain to this day (except for season 3 thankyouverymuch).

GRRM is not easy reading. It’s not necessarily even pleasant reading. I had to take my time, puzzle things out, try to remember which characters were allied with whom at any particular moment. Part of that is GRRM, because Westeros is an incredibly expansive and detailed universe. Part of it is lack of familiarity. I’m older, with more distractions, and I find that I miss too much if I read unfamiliar things fast.

Other things I still devour. At the moment I’m reading Lackey’s Five Hundred Kingdoms for the first time, and sprinting through it. But then, that’s Mercedes Lackey. She’s one of my favorite authors and I am used to her style. It’s the same with Pern even though Todd McCaffrey is now writing it. I know the universe, I’m comfortable in it. I can read quickly and still get the most out of the book, especially knowing I will be rereading it along with the rest of its siblings in the series.

Do you find you read faster or slower depending on what you’re reading? Do you consume your favorite series like candy or do you savor them slowly? Share in the comments!

Why Video Games Are Good For Your Kids

People are surprised that I allow my children to play video games. I constantly find media-fueled hype like this recent article from the BBC: Pupils ‘made more violent by computer games’

Bradford teacher Alison Sherratt is set to tell the ATL annual conference in Manchester that members of her reception class have been acting out scenes from games well above limit for their age.

“The inspiration for this motion was when I watched my class out on the playground throwing themselves out of the window of the play car in slow motion and acting out blood spurting from their bodies,” she says.

“I followed it up in circle time and talked about what they knew about playing games on the computer.”

She questions how to respond when one of her pupils asks her to join in a game by “stabbing a person in the back”.

Time to party like it’s 1979
For pity’s sake! We’ve had video games for generations and still these hidebound attitudes prevail? Let’s go over it again, folks: Not all video games are violent gorefests. Many of them are not only suitable for children, but can help teach valuable skills like problem solving and cooperative play.

The article eventually gets to the heart of the actual problem:

Ms Sherratt also raises concerns over children having access to games unsupervised in their rooms, and wonders whether their parents are checking on what they are doing.

Exactly. It’s not video games that are the problem, but parental supervision. Except the article only mentions that after we’ve stoked the flames of hysteria. There’s a big difference between My Little Pony and Grand Theft Auto. As parents it’s our responsibility to understand that difference.

Video games are a form of art
I play video games myself. Personally I don’t care for the first-person-shooter variety, but that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with FPS. I simply prefer RPGs like Tales of Symphonia and Dragon Age. I like games with character building, story arcs, and plots worthy of a good novel. In fact, that’s just what many modern video games are – unique universes in a new medium. Rather than television or books, we find art and beauty in video games.

(Art and beauty in video games? Yes. Read this article about the Art Of Video Games exhibit – at the Smithsonian. Good enough for ya?)

The games my kids play are similarly cooperative. We’re fond of the Lego series: Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Harry Potter. I frequently find my kids working together to figure out how they can get beyond an obstacle or find a treasure. This cooperation translates to other aspects of their lives, as you can see when they play board games or build with real Legos.

How families can embrace technology
A former teacher recommended an excellent book which might change your views on kids and video games. The Connected Family: Bridging The Digital Generation Gap by Seymour Papert argues that technology is here to stay, and the only way we can deal with it as parents is to embrace it in ways that enhance our families.

I remember when the Atari 2600 came out, the Apple II, the PC, the family iMac, Sega Genesis. Today it’s Facebook and Twitter and Xbox – same principles, different technology. And every time something new comes out, a certain subset of people have to lash out at it in paranoia, as if this is something new and awful that has suddenly descended upon the planet. Again.

That’s not to say there aren’t dangers on the Internet. Believe me, it’s my job to educate parents on exactly what those dangers are. But you can’t avoid technology for the sake of keeping your kids safe. That’s like never driving your kids anywhere because there might be a car accident.

How our geeky household does it
Here at Chez Guidry, we almost always play video games as a family. The consoles are in the living room so everyone can participate, especially games like Wii Sports. Even if we parents aren’t playing we are still spending time with our kids.

That’s not to say we don’t have rules. Typically there’s no screen time during the school week. We make the occasional exception for important events (like new episodes of MythBusters, which as far as I’m concerned is educational science television). Screen is only allowed on the weekends, and only for limited periods of time. I will also make exceptions for reading ebooks on an e-reader if it’s real reading and not an interactive app that’s more game than book.

Do my kids fight these restrictions? Of course. They want to play video games all the time. (Hey, who doesn’t?) But I don’t let my kids play video games constantly. We don’t take handheld players in the car or to the pediatrician. They know they’ll get to play when it’s appropriate, and they also know that if a punishment goes beyond time-out, the next thing Mom’s going to say is, “You’re grounded from screen time.”

Do you play video games with your kids? What are some of your favorite family-friendly games? Share in the comments!

 

My Love Affair With The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

Today’s the anniversary of the first Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy radio show. How did you first become enamored with that wholly remarkable book?

I discovered Hitchhiker’s in the library of the stodgy girls’ school I attended. Think Catholic school, minus the Catholic but plus plus on the plaid uniforms. As you can guess, the library was dull enough to bring a tear to Giles’s eye (but a bit short on demonology texts for his tastes, I’d imagine). There were the obligatory copies of Emily Dickenson, a bust of Margaret Mead on the table, inspirational “reading is FUNdamental” posters on the walls.

And, way in the back, a whole shelf of science fiction.

Somebody in that school was a serious closet SF fan. It was like a hidden message for future likeminded students, a little cache of bliss among fifty-year-old copies of Great Expectations*. Besides Hitchhiker’s, there was Asimov’s The Caves Of Steel which introduced me to his Robots novels, some Heinlein juveniles including Podkayne of Mars – as well as Stranger In A Strange Land, which proves no real librarian ever looked at that shelf or they would have spirited such naughty tomes away from the innocent eyes of us young ladies.

I’d already become addicted to SFF through Star Trek, Buck Rogers, and the original Battlestar Galactica. Finding Hitchhiker’s was like a fresh delivery of lemon-soaked paper napkins. The library card filled with my initials. I went out and bought what was then a trilogy, in both book and audio form. I could quote parts from memory. My stodgy school became accustomed to the girl who wandered around muttering about Frogstar Fighters. They called me a nerd, but I didn’t care. The fact that somebody had written a bestselling series like Hitchhiker’s proved that I wasn’t the only one who thought science fiction was fun.

I must have discovered Doctor Who and Hitchhiker’s Guide around the same time (insert irony here), because I can’t remember which one I fell in love with first. I do remember that we didn’t get the Douglas Adams episodes for ages thanks to the ridiculous policies of our local PBS station, so by the time I saw The Pirate Planet I was already addicted to Hitchhiker’s. Part of the allure was the quintessential Britishness of it, during the 1980s when everything British was kewl. (I was am also a huge Duran Duran fan, which probably contributed to my infatuation.)

But there was something special about Hitchhiker’s. You couldn’t read it and not laugh your ass off. It was the perfect diversion because it was so ridiculous, so witty, and so British. The latter, as I discovered, doesn’t really translate. I bought a foreign language copy in France, in which Zaphod becomes Zippy Bibicy (as in, BBC) and Ford Prefect is Ford Escort because apparently that’s funnier in French. It just wasn’t the same. As Mickey Smith comments in the Doctor Who episode The Chrismas Invasion (which itself is an homage to Hitchhiker’s), if the world was ending the British would have tea. That’s a very Hitchhiker’s sentiment.

Over thirty years later, Hitchhiker’s has become such a part of our culture here in the U.S. that you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know the meaning of the number 42 or the phrase “Don’t Panic!” Take some time today to celebrate The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, before that Frogstar Fighter Class D comes to get you.

* Don’t get me wrong. I like classic literature, just not Dickens. I’m more of your Mark Twain type. Sorry, Vincent.

A Wrinkle In Time And Other Favorite Childhood Books

It’s the 50th anniversary of A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle, one of the best books anybody ever wrote. I can’t even remember the first time I read it. It seems like Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin were as much a part of my life as school and homework… sometimes more so. Side note: One of these days I am going to find the perfect stargazing rock and put it in my yard, because every yard needs a stargazing rock.

Madeleine L’Engle’s books are such wonderful flights of fancy, it’s hard to put them down. You can’t Hollywood this stuff – A Wrinkle In Time can really only be appreciated in one’s own imagination. The same is true for the rest of the series. I don’t want to see Progo the cherubim as CGI, and if you tried to re-created IT, it would only look like a brain in a jar a la Star Trek: Return To Tomorrow or Futurama.

Thinking about A Wrinkle In Time had me reminiscing about other favorite childhood books. I’m not sure I can pin down only one favorite, but these are some of the ones that still hold an honored place on my bookshelves.

The Girl With The Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts
Katie has silver eyes and weird powers, and has just discovered that there might be other kids like her. Mrs. M in her muumuus, Lobo the cat, Mr. P, Jackson Jones… they all help and hinder Katie in their various ways as she struggles to find the other kids and the secret behind her powers.

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
When the clock strikes, the door opens onto a magical garden that disappears by day. Tom finds himself traveling back in time into the memories of a girl named Hattie. Is Hattie a ghost, or is Tom the ghost? A story of a wonderful and impossible friendship.

The Ghosts by Antonia Barber
When Lucy and Jamie see the ghosts of two children in the garden, they are thrown into an adventure in which the past must be changed to set things right. The children, Sara and Georgie, died in a fire almost a hundred years ago. Lucy and Jamie have to find out how their ghostly friends died and change the past to ensure their own future.

The Case of the Vanishing Boy by Alexander Key
If I did have to pick a single favorite, this might be it. It’s from the author of Escape To Witch Mountain – now, get the movie out of your head, because the book was SO MUCH BETTER. And this book is better still. Jan has lost his memory and is fleeing from something he can’t remember. He encounters a girl, Ginny, who is blind and yet still appears able to see her surroundings. Together they uncover a plot involving mind control, kidnapping, a mad scientist, and a strange place called Elysium.

What are your childhood favorites? Share in the comments!

 

The Big Secret To Re-Inventing Yourself As A Writer

After last year’s sabbatical and mid-career epiphany, I realized it’s time to get serious about writing fiction. I’ve reinvented myself before, when I decided to leave the corporate sector to start my own business and again when I decided to branch out from IT consulting into freelance writing.

And I’ve discovered the big secret to re-inventing yourself as a writer. To become a writer, you have to decide you are a writer.

It doesn’t have anything to do with how many stories you’ve published or how well you’ve built your author platform. Don’t get me wrong, those things are important. They develop you as a writer, but they don’t make you a writer. Only you can do that.

I sat down a few years ago and decided that I wanted to write about business and technology. Actually I was already writing about business and technology, for my clients and on my Tech Tips blog. But I wanted to pursue it in depth, because I love writing about things like social media, cloud computing, and data security. Today, I’m a successful freelance IT writer – because I decided I was. And because I decided I was, other people (read: employers) saw me that way too.

I’m applying the same strategy to fiction. I love science fiction and fantasy, as anyone who’s had the misfortune to utter the words “doctor” and “who” in the same breath around me can attest. You can achieve your goals, too. Just decide whatever it is you want and go for it. If you fail, so what? Isn’t that better than not trying?

There it is, the super-duper big secret to re-inventing yourself as a writer. Hush, don’t tell anybody how basic it is. Everyone thinks “becoming a writer” is such a big deal. Your first published piece, that’s a big deal! Becoming a writer is a mindset. And in that mindset, here are my New Year’s writing resolutions for 2012:

  • Write more
    Number one on the list. A writer has to write, and I write a lot, but this year I want to focus on getting these fiction pieces off the back burner. I’m also continuing to spread my wings as a freelance IT writer.
  • Submit more
    Which brings us to resolution #2. My goal this year is to finish stories and get them out the door pronto. No sitting, no waiting, and NO MORE REVISIONS. It’s easy to say, “This piece isn’t quite ready yet” when you really mean “I’m scared to submit this.”

But it’s no good writing in a vacuum, which is why I’m also going to:

  • Interact more
    On Twitter, on blogs, in the sf/f community. I’ll also be sharing tips for writers based on my experience as an IT consultant and social media expert, so stay tuned. (If you want a head start, check out my Tech Tips blog where I have oodles of information on everything from marketing via social media to protecting yourself from viruses.)
  • Read more
    The more you read, the better you write, and I could never resist a book anyway. During my sabbatical I returned to devouring novels like candy. (Or, in the case of A Song of Ice and Fire, more like poisoned gruel.) I’ve got Paolini’s Inheritance lined up next, and when that new Pern novel is out it’s mine, baby.
  • Buy more silly geek toys
    Because the only thing better than a sonic screwdriver is another sonic screwdriver. And doesn’t every garden need a Weeping Angel?

What are your goals for 2012? Share them in the comments!