Wednesday’s WIP: Highs & Lows, Or My Writing Year in Review

calendar_2013Much as I love Lisa Romeo’s idea of an annual “I Did It” list to summarize my writing year, I’m going to kick it back old-school here and simply list a few professional highs–and not-so-highs–that I will remember about 2013.


  • Applying to a seminar to study a subject that I’m passionate about, being admitted to the seminar, taking it, learning so much from it, and getting a byline out of it along the way.
  • Teaching at the August residency of the Whidbey Writers Workshop/Northwest Institute of Literary Arts MFA program out in beautiful Washington state.
  • Entering my first poetry-chapbook contest–and making the quarterfinal cut!
  • Placing the remaining essays in my “Sunday in the City” sequence in wonderful “homes” and seeing them all beautifully published.
  • Receiving my first book-reviewing assignment for The Washington Post.
  • Not-So-Highs

  • Spending $50 on writing residency application fees–and receiving two rejections in return.
  • Applying for an opportunity for “emerging poets”–and receiving a rejection. (At least this application didn’t cost me anything.)
  • Applying for what I’m convinced would have been a life-changing year-long fellowship, making it to the interview level–and then receiving a rejection (are you seeing a theme emerge here?).
  • Failing to make any real progress with my attempt(s) to learn playwriting.
  • Flailing at my (sporadic) efforts to revise two unpublished short stories (one of them is super-short).
  • For still more about my writing year, you’re welcome to check my archived midweek “Work-in-Progress” posts. And then maybe, you’ll share something about your year?

    3 thoughts on “Wednesday’s WIP: Highs & Lows, Or My Writing Year in Review

    1. Jo says:

      Congratulations on your accomplishments, Erika! You forgot to mention writing a blog that so many people (including me) follow faithfully.

      So, here’s my writing year in review:


      1. I published my first story in an online journal (second place in a contest)–and did I mention there was a respectable payment?
      2. I sold my first story (to be published in an anthology due out in May, 2014).
      3. As of tonight, I finished the (very) rough draft of my novel. (We won’t talk about how many years this has taken or the Titanic-sized load of editing to be done.)
      4. I took a fiction-writing course at the Mark Twain House in Hartford. Our class met in the carriage house on the property, but at the final class, we were permitted to meet in MT’s library in the house to read our own work in the selfsame room where MT used to tell stories to his daughters.


      1. 20+ rejections of short stories. (I didn’t do a precise count. The number is depressing enough in general terms.)
      2. I didn’t get a scholarship to a writers conference that is expensive enough that no scholarship meant not going.

      Happy new year!


      1. Erika Dreifus says:

        Oh, I love this list, Jo! Congratulations on those milestone “highs.” And thank you so much for the kind words about the blog. Happy New Year!

        1. Jo says:

          Thanks, Erika! Happy new year to you, too!

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