A Year Ago Today

A year ago today, I had not received a call from Writers of the Future. I didn’t know The Mother Anthony had been selected as a Finalist, and that eventually Joni would tell me that Jerry Pournelle loved it.

A year ago today, I knew essentially nothing about Writers of the Future.

A year ago today, I hadn’t read Brad R. Torgersen’s post on the value of the contest, so I didn’t appreciate just how awesome the contest is.

A year ago today, I hadn’t discovered the Writers of the Future forum, so I didn’t know how awesome of a resource and a support system the forum can be. (On the other hand, a year ago I hadn’t spent time to write 1,357 forum posts…)

A year ago today, I hadn’t met Brad or Alex or Annie or Tina or Scott or Dustin or Mike or Pat or Kyle or Jeanette or Dr. Phil or Eric or Rebecca or Elinor or Steve or Bill or Thomas or Amanda or Justin or Kary or Patrick or David or Grayson or Stewart or Sean or Michael or David or George or Juliana or Stephanie or Kevin or Dantzel or Josh or Jude or Erik or Riley or Fiona or Alistair or Rich or Bard or Kevin or Dawn or David or Jennifer or Lynette or Maria or Tom or… well, a whole bunch of great forum participants, too many for me to remember even with notes.

A year ago today, “The Night We Flushed the Old Town” hadn’t been published in Therefore I Am: Digital Science Fiction Volume 2.

A year ago today, “Scramble” hadn’t been selected as an Honorable Mention in Writers of the Future.

A year ago today, “Father-Daughter Outing” hadn’t been selected as an Honorable Mention in Writers of the Future.

A year ago today, “Father-Daughter Outing” hadn’t been the cover story in Heir Apparent: Digital Science Fiction Volume 4.

A year ago today, I hadn’t self-published “The Mother Anthony” and Sense of Wonder.

A year ago today, Ulterior Motive Lounge wasn’t consistently ranking in the top 100 UML books on all of Amazon (once as high as #10!).

A year ago today, “A Most Auspicious Star” had not been selected as a Semi-Finalist in Writers of the Future.

A year ago today, “Scramble” had not won Second Place in the 2012 Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest.

A year ago today, “Gruff Riders” had not been published in The Gruff Variations: Writing for Charity Volume 1.

But as of tomorrow, it will be one year since Joni called. I will no longer be able to say “A year ago today…” on that one. It has been quite a year, for me and the whole family. Not all of it good by any means; but sometimes it helps to look back and highlight the good. It’s all too easy in the day-to-day to lose track of what has changed.

And it makes me wonder: what will I look back on a year from now? And that motivates me, because the good stuff doesn’t just happen; we have to make it happen.

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9 Responses to A Year Ago Today

  1. Alex J. Kane says:

    That’s one helluva year, Martin. Congratulations!

    By the way, I found your UML storytelling formula post very intriguing. Particularly your method of defining a science fiction story, as opposed to a “space western” or other impostor.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks, Alex! Sometimes it’s easy to look at where I am today and forget where I was yesterday. I try to remind myself once in a while that I’ve accomplished more as a writer in the past year than in the 30 before that.

    And on the non-writing front… A year ago today, I was 46 pounds heavier!

    There’s nothing wrong with a good space western, now and then; but I aspire to more than that. The model helps me think about my story and ask, “What is the one element here that HAS TO be in a science fiction story, and could be nowhere else?” Then I try to emphasize that element.

  3. Anita Buckowing says:

    Yes, I have to agree with Alex Kane’s comment – one helluva year!
    Thanks for helping me get through it with more good days than bad and as I said in a blog post – keep on writing and we will eagerly keep on reading (your loyal fans who happen to be family!).
    And we WILL collaborate on a project in the future. You can “bank on it”.
    Thanks for the link back my blog too fyi. As you know, I too have been reflecting a lot the last few months. It helps to look to the future and helps keep things in perspective too.

  4. Pat R. Steiner says:

    And THIS YEAR will be the year you WIN WotF, Martin! I feel it in my bones.

    BTW: I mentioned your name (for a reason I can’t recall at the moment) when Joni called me last year for my Illustrator’s finalist nod, and I swear she said something along-the-lines of how “adorable” you are.

    You must be one smooth talker!

  5. admin says:

    Thanks, Pat! I think Joni was glad to talk to another Michigander. She’s originally from the Lansing area. And speaking of which… I just learned you’re in Milwaukee. We’re practically neighbors! Hi across the Big Lake to you!)

    Other than that, I know I was a bit awe-struck when she told me Jerry Pournelle loved The Mother Anthony. That took a lot of the sting out of losing.

    Smooth talker? Me? Well… I spent a decade as a traveling UML instructor. That gave me lots of practice speaking. In my mind, I’m still the quiet little kid reading books behind the couch (great hiding place, plenty of light); but the evidence says otherwise. I’m a bit of a ham, you might say.

  6. Anita Buckowing says:

    Who would call you a ham? Your younger sister would never THINK of calling you such a name.

  7. Anita Buckowing says:

    I also think that this is your year for WOtF. I can’t wait!

  8. Hey Martin – good luck to you too with WOTF. It does look like it’s about time you had that win.

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