Looking Back…

January 5, 2020

As the decade clicked over* and we could finally start referring to a decade with a sensible name (no more ‘naughties’ or ‘teens’), I noticed a lot of people on Twitter in the #writingcommunity were posting their achievements. Of course, with no achievements at all, I was pleased for them, but could easily ignore the trend to share.

And then I got to thinking about what had I actually managed to do since 2010?

So, I compiled a tweet, I was surprised, and so, I have decided to expand upon it here:

Nothing happened from a writing/getting published point-of-view until 2012.

In June 2012 I won a competition run by Biting Dog Press, Science in Fiction, for a while my story was available to read, but the post has gone and Biting Dog don’t seem to have updated their website for sometime (2014 according to the copyright notice, so I’m unlikely to take them up on their prize, a free editorial of a novel).

In July 2012, I had my first piece of flash fiction published on the Paragraph Planet website:

1st piece of flash fiction published on Paragraph Planet website







I would go on to have another 60 Paragraphs published on that site, the last sneaking in just three days before the end of 2019:

Final piece of flash fiction published in 2019







Also in 2012, in November, I had a short story, Baby Babble, included in the Fantastic Books Publishing anthology, Fusion.

Finally, in December 2012, WordWatchers released their own Anthology, Out of Time, and I had a story, We are the Stranded, included in that.

2012 was a really good year.

I continued to have stories published on Paragraph Planet throughout 2013 (nine to be precise) and 2014 (eight). Also in 2014 I had two pieces of flash fiction included in the charity anthology, Ten Deadly Tales.

2015 came and went and I managed to get almost one story a month onto Paragraph Planet (eleven in total).

In 2016, two more anthologies from Fantastic Books Publishing, were released, Synthesis, and this one included two of my stories, All in the Mind  and The House and 666which included my ‘Highly Commended’ story, Headhunted.

In November 2017, the Role-Playing Game, Elite Encounters, by Dave ‘Selezen Lake’ Hughes was released and included five pieces of flash fiction written by me to act as chapter introductions/scene setters. As Elite Encounters was an officially Licensed product from Frontier Developments it’s a good feeling to finally have something that is part of the official material of a game that I have loved since 1985.

2017 was also an ‘interesting’ year for me, having finished my novel in March that year and expecting to crack on with the edits post-critique from the wonderful writers in WordWatchers, I hit a wall in my writing. In fact, I stopped writing almost completely. I was finally diagnosed with depression in November 2017 and despite counselling and medical intervention, I didn’t start writing again until the end of January 2018.

In January 2018 I wrote the short story, Elemental Sacrifice, at the annual WordWatchers Writers Retreat. Although the story wouldn’t be published until July 2019, in the anthology, The Forge: Fire and Ice, in July 2019, its journey began there, and so did my slow and steady recovery from the worst of my depression.

Also in 2018, I had a piece of flash fiction accepted into a new Science Fiction magazine called, The Martian Magazine, but unfortunately that magazine never made it to publication. I did however, actually manage to get paid in 2018, a whole $10, for a story that appeared in the anthology, ChronosThis is the first time I’ve been paid for anything I’ve written in a very long time (pun intended).

Which brings us to 2019. As mentioned already, The Forge: Fire and Ice was released during this year. I managed to have four pieces published on Paragraph Planet, but that’s OK, I was actually, finally, concentrating on getting my novel rewritten, which I’m very pleased to say I managed. Indeed, it is currently with the rest of WordWatchers and a few Beta Readers even as I type this. Its critique is just a few weeks away.

So actually, looking back, 2010 to 2019 hasn’t been too bad from a writing point-of-view, I’m certainly not giving up the day job, but that’s OK, I really like my day job (for the most part). As for 2020 and going forward, well, I plan to release my novel come what may. I’m going to take a tentative stab at offering it to a few people I’ve met in the Industry along the way, I’ll show it to the excellent guys at Fantastic Books, but if there’s no takers, I’m happy with it enough now, and confident enough in my own writing, to self-publish.

It will be interesting to revisit this log in a year’s time to see if I held myself to the above commitment…

I guess that just leaves me to wish you all the very best in 2020, whatever targets you’ve set yourself, large or small, I hope you achieve them.


* for the pedants – technically the next decade doesn’t begin until 2021, but we’ve lost that fight…

John Hoggard

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