Writing goals 2024: a status update after 6 months

At the start of 2024, I made five New Year's resolutions:

  1. I would win at least one writing contest in Flanders or The Netherlands.
    Check! I already won two!
  2. I would try to get at least one English short story published in an American, Canadian, or English magazine.
    Check! I already published two!
  3. I would try to get twelve short stories published in Dutch or Flemish (print) magazines or anthologies.
    Check! I already published five, and nine are scheduled for later this year!
  4. I would write at least 26 stories in English, including stories translated from Dutch.
    Almost there! Only two stories to go!
  5. I would write at least 26 stories in Dutch, including stories translated from English.
    Almost there! Only seven stories to go!

We are now June 30, so let's look at the results so far.

Folio: a Short Story Management System

In the Summer of 2023, I made an inventory of all my short stories written in Dutch on Google Sheets. I also uploaded all the Word files to Google Drive. This effort was useful in getting started with my efforts to get more stories published, but soon I met the limitations of storing data in a spreadsheet. Being a former software developer, I know that 'Excel is not a database' and therefore created my personal Short Story Management System, Folio. It helps me keep track of all my stories, submissions, publications, contest results, etc. I made some information available to the public (although many stories are labeled as '--Not Yet Disclosed--') and also created an editor role to share the Word files of these stories with a publisher. Every story can be identified by a code that starts with 'EN' or 'NL' (for English and Dutch), followed by a two-digit number (for the year), and a three-digit sequence number. Starting with 2024, this number indicates the order in which the stories were written; for the older stories, that number is random.

Submissions in English

I already produced 24 stories with an average word count of 1800 in English. My goal was to get these stories published in a magazine paying authors for their stories. If I didn't succeed by June, I would start submitting stories to non-paying publishers.

I submitted:

In six months, I accumulated a total of 70 submissions, including submissions to writing contests. 16 submissions are still pending. I received 49 rejections.

Results of my submissions in English

Three of the six stories I submitted for the monthly Furious Fiction contest made the longlist:

One story was successful in a writing contest:

Two stories were published in magazines:

I have already exceeded goal #2: two of my stories were published in American magazines. If I write two more stories in English, I will also meet goal #4. This won't be a problem if I participate in the Furious Fiction contest at least two more times. Last year, I won one shortlist and five longlist nominations in this context. It's tempting to try and break that record —although I realize it won't be easy. I'm curious about the submissions that are still pending. One submission is already waiting 145 days for an answer.

Submissions in Dutch

I already produced 19 stories with an average word count of 1200 in Dutch. I need to write (or translate) seven more to meet goal #5. That shouldn't be a problem.

Another goal was to win at least one writing contest and get at least twelve stories published. I started submitting stories many years ago, but I only started registering submissions in 2024. I count 36 of which 6 are still pending and 20 were rejected.

Results of my submissions in Dutch or Flemish writing contests

I won two writing contests:

I won one longlist nomination:

In short: I have already exceeded goal #1 and still have several other stories running in contests such as the Waterloper contest. I also have two stories that made it into the next round of the EdgeZero contest. It's a pity that I'm still missing a Flemish award.

Results of my submissions in Dutch or Flemish Magazines and Anthologies

Two stories already mentioned in the section about writing contests were (or will also be) published:

Five stories were published on the Out of this World (Flanders) website:

On June 14, EdgeZero (The Netherlands) and Out of this World (Flanders) released an anthology Niet van deze wereld with the best stories published on the Out of this World website. Some authors were asked to provide a bonus story, which resulted in two of my stories being selected:

One story made an eBook:

Three stories were published in a print magazine:

That's six digital publications and (only) five print publications. I need seven more print publications to meet goal #3, but that won't be a problem, because I have nine more stories that will be published later this year.

Seven stories made the anthology 'Bang voor spoken?' published by Poespa Production (Flanders). This selection of ghost stories will be released in September, and will feature:

Two stories will feature in a magazine:

I also have oral agreements for the publication of Het gat dat ook een put was (NL23-013) in In Tenebris, Dubbelganger (NL21-004) in an Apol-inspired anthology by Rob Geukens, and Een kwestie van perspectief (NL23-016) and Reflectie infectie (NL23-029) in 'Alice in spiegelland' and 'Alice in Wonderland'-inspired anthology by Finn Audenaert.


Having your stories rejected time and again by magazines such as Asimov's, Clarkesworld, The Colored Lens, etc. is frustrating, but that's part of the process. I'm quite happy with what I have achieved in the past six months. I will meet —and most likely exceed— the writing goals I have set for 2024.

Maybe I should aim higher next year.


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