I often find myself looking at this video by Idris Elba around the end of a year. I genuinely find it inspirational, because it has two important lessons: stay out of your own head, and keep going. Don't keep second-guessing yourself over taking risks as an artist or comparing yourselves to others' results and techniques; don't keep obsessing over where you are, how close to your goal.
Just do the work. Show up. Get your head down. Whatever works best for you, however it works: do it, and keep doing it. Don't give up.
Over the last couple of years, I've done my best to take Elba's advice to heart, and while I haven't conquered the world, it has paid dividends. Some of those, hopefully, you're going to hear more about in 2022. Some of them I can share with you today.
I had multiple false starts in terms of writing a new novel throughout this year. A lot of it was not being able to get out of my own head and trust my writing instincts. I turned to shorter forms for a big chunk of 2021 instead, and completed two novellas - including a follow-up to Roth-Steyr - and a bunch of stories.
I finally managed to get a novel going in September, and - touch wood - I'm close to the end. I hoping I'll be able to complete it within the next couple of days, so I can say I managed to write on in 2021.
So this year's creative output has been:
17 short stories,
11 pieces of verse,
5 flash fictions,
And hopefully a novel!On the acceptance front, one novel, a novella, a short story collection, and eleven individual stories. Plus some other cool news I can't announce yet.
As for actual publications in 2021:
Black Mountain (Independent Legions Publishing)
A Different Kind Of Light (Black Shuck Books)
Devils Of London (Hersham Horror Books)
Nine Ghosts (Black Shuck Books)
'In The City In The Smog' (Horrified Magazine)
'In the Service of the Queen' (Horrified Magazine, reprinted from Patreon)
'And You Heard The Rattling Death Train' (Railroad Tales, Midnight Street Press)
'The Hungry Dark' (Out of the Darkness, Unsung)
'Redwater' (Alchemy Press Book of Horrors 3: A Miscellany of Monsters, Alchemy Press)
'Tonight the War is Over' (Nine Ghosts, Black Shuck Books, original to collection)
'The Cage' (Nine Ghosts, Black Shuck Books, original to collection)
Bone Street Blues
The Harvest Of Efriam Drazer
Beneath The Crust (Written for and read out on The Tiny Bookcase podcast)
A Bottle Of Ink
The Mayan Ships
Go Get It, Girl
The Book Of Angels
Below Decks On The Morro Castle
The Book Of Nightmares
The Whispered Song Of Anton Probst
Steel City Blues
The Ghost School
Stalin’s Gun: The Daze Of Vasili Blokhin
The Andragathius Doctrine
I Don’t Wear A Poppy Anymore
On top of that, two of my short stories were reprinted in mass market anthologies: 'A Treat For Your Last Day' in Best Horror of the Year #13, and 'Welcome To Mengele's' in Body Shocks. Huge thanks to Ellen Datlow on both counts.
So, all the best the coming year to all of you.
And here's that Idris Elba video to finish off with. He's a lot better-looking than me. :)