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What Hath She Wrote in 2018?

Tuesday, January 1, 2019 - 09:50

I’ve gotten in the habit of doing a year-end summary of my creative output, if only to convince myself that I really have accomplished something after all. It’s funny: people have a tendency to react as if I’m boasting, or making the lists to try to make other people feel bad. But for me it’s an emotional survival tool. What have I done? What do I have to show for all the time, energy (and money) I’ve poured into the projects of my heart? Am I putting those resources into things that bring return? The intangible returns are the connections and friendships I make. The unknowable returns are the difference I may have made in other people’s lives. But the only thing I can actually lay out in a blog are the words.

As in previous years, this doesn’t cover the specific calendar year of 2018, but rather picks up after the close of last year’s post which was written on December 12. This year, I’m close enough to the end of the year that I’ll just write it up with the remainder of the year's posts and set it to go live on January 1.


In 2018 I had one work of fiction published, and wrote 7 installments on what was intended to be a 25-part serial to promote Jae’s Lesbian Book Bingo challenge. I dropped the serial because of insufficient reader interest. (While I do many projects just for my own enjoyment, when push comes to shove and I have to choose priorities, I’m always more likely to prioritize projects where I have tangible evidence of reader interest. Keep that in mind.) I also finished and polished my novella “The Language of Roses” and sent it off on submission.  I sincerely hope that in the 2019 round-up, I’ll have something further to say about it.


This year there was a drastic drop in how much I blogged outside of the Lesbian Historic Motif Project. Part of that was the increased work being put into the LHMP, part of it was the sense of talking into the void. I honestly don’t know what to do about that. A major part of my social interactions occur online, and blogging has always been part of that. But I'm not into sitting in the corner mubling to myself. In any event, I wrote 5 posts about my own writing projects, participated in 7 guest appearances either as a host or guest, wrote 5 miscellaneous essays, and posted several blogs about the LHMP fiction series. I like doing the random blogs, especially on philosophical topics, but it really does feel like mumbling to myself these days.

Lesbian Historic Motif Project

The vast majority of my non-fiction writing energy was poured into the Lesbian Historic Motif Project. I posted summaries of 62 publications of which 15 were books and the rest individual articles, bringing me up to a grand total of 228 publications for the project. Three of this year's posts involved translation (for which I had support from my very talented friends). Back in the 1990s when I first had thoughts about something like the Project, you never would have convinced me that I could find 228 publications relevant to lesbian history, much less the 600 or so in my master database. I long ago gave up the idea of turning it into some sort of overall synthesis, but in this past year, my mind has been turning back to that idea. I'm starting to think that I might have enough of a grasp on the Big Picture of how lesbian-relevant themes have been understood over time (at least in western Europe) to create something of a road map from all these individual snapshots.

The Podcast maintained its weekly schedule (the links below include 55 shows since the beginning of this summary period was in early December). I interviewed 15 authors or readers, presented 4 original short stories, recorded 13 long-form essays, as well as 9 mini-essays as part of my monthly round-ups, announced 61 new fiction publications of lesbian historical interest, and gave shout-outs to several conferences and podcasts that my listeners might be interested in.


On my blog, I reviewed 10 works of fiction with significant lesbian themes, 4 additional works in the SF/F category, 3 books that fall in neither of those (and that weren’t part of the LHMP reading), 2 movie reviews, 1 theater review, and a couple of round-up posts with shorter reviews of tv, movies, and books purchased but not yet read. I posted 36 reviews of short audio fiction at SFF Reviews and then fell off the wagon in...oh dear...April. (Once I get out of the rhythm on a project like that, I get anxiety attacks about getting caught up and the longer I wait, of course the more there is to catch up. I may need to just clear the mental cache and start from an arbitrary new point.) I started reprising some of my book reviews at The Lesbian Review (so, things I also blogged, but in a different format) and posted 11 reviews there.


I once again did my “live-blogging Kalamazoo” posts, summarizing the papers presented in 9 sessions. (I’m not certain I’ll be able to continue this as the Medieval Congress is implementing a new policy about blogging/tweeting sessions and it might involve getting active consent from the speakers -- which is not a bad thing, all in all, but might complicate the logistics too much.) Although I attended my usual number of conventions, I only really blogged reports from 2 of them. (I’m finding that travel wears me out more than it used to, so the post-con travel time when I might otherwise post a summary  it a bit more useless these days.)


So how does all that compare to last year? (Keeping in mind that I shuffle the categories around every year based on what I’m doing.)

  • Fiction: same number of professional publications, but this year I also did the mini-serial. I like the idea of putting out shorter fiction for free, but I need a better system of knowing whether it's worth the effort.
  • Essays: Blogs about writing were way down (5, as compared to last year’s 24) with non-writing blogs holding steady. Guest/Host appearances were up (7 compared to 4 in 2017, though several of this year’s were in support of a single book bundle).
  • LHMP: Publications covered were significantly up this year: 62, compared to last year’s 27 spread across 39 posts. But in 2017 I took a hiatus from posting early in the year when the website content was being migrated to the new format. And the podcast numbers have grown every year by virtue of the simple fact that I started the show in 2016, expanded to weekly in the middle of 2017, and 2018 is the first year with an entirely weekly format. It's a massive amount of writing. I thought about trying to do a rough word-count estimate, but I'm not sure I want to know.
  • Events: About the same number of events blogged about, but there were more individual posts last year because I was blogging my entire 3-week trip around Worldcon.
  • Reviews: Book reviews (all formats) are about the same as last year only if you count my TLR reviews separately. (Which they are, in terms of work, though not in terms of number of books reviewed.) Reviews of audio fiction are way up, despite dropping the ball midway through the year. I guess the miscellaneous reviews are about the same, if you fudge how you count the short round-ups.

All in all, as I noted above, my output has shifted significantly from general blogging (and especially blogging about my writing) to work put into the Lesbian Historic Motif Project, especially the podcast. Is this sustainable? Who can tell? I’ve committed to continuing the podcast in its current format for another year and that will take me through and past my 100th episode, but I can envision deciding to cut back at some point.

Detailed List with Links


About My Writing

Guest Blogs (both as host and guest)

Miscellaneous Content

Lesbian Historic Motif Project (Blog)

Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast

Reviews: Books/Fiction - SFF

Reviews: Books/Fiction - Lesbian

Reviews: Other

Convention/Conference Reports

Major category: