The debut authors interviewed in 2020 answered this question:
It's our tenth anniversary! How far has your writing come in the past ten years and where do you see your writing career ten years from now?
We have come from wanting to write a novel, to writing one, to getting an agent (actually, quite a few), to getting the right publisher, and finally seeing our first book in print. These sound like career goals, but they were also writing goals. We were very conscious of how we had to develop our writing all along the way, and winning awards, getting short stories published and responding to criticism from agents and editors were so important in becoming better writers. In ten years, it would be wonderful if we had ten published novels and a well-developed career. In fact, it’s hard to imagine anything else when we think ten years ahead.
- Jim Kroepfl and Stephanie Kroepfl
My writing has improved by leaps and bounds in the last 10 years. I went from writing news articles and web copy to writing fiction. I used to be so self-conscious of my fiction that I did all my writing in secret and didn’t try to connect with other writers at all. Needless to say, that didn’t work out.
My own personal writing style has improved over the last decade as I’ve found and developed my writing voice. I’ve learned so much about writing craft and what makes a great story. I understand why some novels succeed and why others end up as a DNF.. I’ve also learned that Twitter is a great place to build real writing friendships.
In another 10 years, I would love to have my entire Krador Kronicles series published. I have a few other books in the works that I would love to write and get published as well. At least 5 published works over the next decade seems like a great goal to shoot for.
- Kari Veenstra
Happy Anniversary and congratulations! The past ten years of my writing life have been the best, I think, because I have found treasured mentors who guided me to improve my craft. Of those ten, the past seven years have been the best, because in the summer of 2012 I met my Writing Sisters. We are eight writers who have helped each other not only improve our writing, but have helped each other through real life difficulties. We have become sisters in all but blood.
- Julie Holmes
Ten years ago, I was in Africa doing my first electrification of a hospital torn by fourteen years of civil war. Writing was the furthest thing from my mind. In ten years, I hope Power From the SON has grown and is providing multiple electrical systems per year, and I can spend my time promoting by writing and speaking about our work and encouraging others to follow their quest.
- Stephen H Vincent
Hugely! I have gone from writing stories for my family, writing on an academic level at university to completing a complete dark fantasy novel. In the next ten years, I hope to have my first series of books under my belt as well as having a collection of short stories published.
- Michael Dennis
Wow. Ten years ago, I was writing plays and radio stories. I didn’t have the guts to write prose. Now, it’s all I can think about.
Ten years from now, I plan to have a shelf full of books with my name on them and invitations to Book Festivals around the world.
- Kitty Felde
Congratulations on your tenth anniversary!
In the past ten years, my writing has made much amazing headway. My first professionally published fiction piece was in 2008, and it was flash fiction in a journal that no longer exists (Oak Bend Review). In 2011, I had an academic article published in the peer-reviewed Popular Culture Review. In 2013, I self-published Pivot, which ultimately received over 65,000 downloads and multiple awards. At the World Horror Con, I met individuals who were willing to help me revise my work and query agents. I was fortunate to find a wonderful agent in and around 2016 and land a book deal with California Coldblood Books by 2018. I signed a contract with Brilliance audio in 2018, as well, and Emma Galvin – the amazing voice actor who voiced Winter’s Bone and the Divergent Series – voiced Pivot. This blew me away. Both Josh Malerman and Weston Ochse wrote wonderful blurbs for the book. So, too, did Publishers Weekly and ALA Booklist. Finally, I received my MA in 2013 and MFA in 2019.
- L. C. Barlow
Happy 10th Anniversary! That’s quite a landmark. In some ways my own writing has come a long way in the last ten years, from dreamy first drafts to a finished novel about to be published. I’ve also self-published a book of poetry (https://trafford.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000163671) and co-written and directed a successful amateur musical (‘Honeybees: The Musical’ - the world’s first lesbian field hockey musical) which sold out performances in Brighton, Eastbourne and the legendary RADA Studios (formerly the Drill Hall) off the West End of London. These days my ‘mainstream life’ is very busy though, with work and parenting taking up a LOT of hours, so in an ideal world in ten years time, I will somehow have carved out enough time to write full time and have a few bestsellers under my belt allowing me to travel the world guesting at book festivals (that’s every writer’s dream, right?)!
- Cat Walker
The past ten years has been incredible for my writing. I used to think writing was all about creativity and used to just write cool stuff. But over the last ten years, I focused more on the non-creative part of writing, such as grammar, sentence structure, story structure, word choice, specificity, archetypal design, and character development. This sounds crazy, but a lot of writing is almost mathematical. It’s not as fun, but its essential if you’re going to take yourself seriously. And for the past three years, I’ve focused on the infrastructure and entrepreneurial side of writing, which includes blogging, social media engagement, website design, publishing, contracts, video editing, and content creation. Yeah, also less fun than creative writing lol. My hopes are that the foundation I’m laying today will put me in a position ten years from now, to write better books at a faster pace and with a waiting audience. I want to become the best possible writer I can. I feel like I’m only just getting started.
- Douglas A. Burton
Oh wow, the last ten years have meant *everything* for my writing! Though I’ve written stories and poems since I was young, I began seriously writing my first novel about ten years ago. That novel was a totally different genre, has some serious problems, and will probably never see the light of day, but it was the sign to myself that I was ready to do this for real, and take a writing career seriously. STARS is my fourth novel, and many years and hundreds of rejections later, it’s now going to be on shelves!
- Sarah Allen
Well- Ten years ago I was nine.
- Ruby Walker
Congrats – that’s a big anniversary! Ten years ago I was in the MFA program at Purdue University, honing my craft and finding my voice and wondering if I would ever publish a book. I am so proud of where I have come since then! Ten years from now, I hope to have many more books out in the world and significantly more daily writing time since my 17-month-old daughter will be at school most of the day!
- Dallas Woodburn
Ten years ago, I was not writing. I was in the middle of a really difficult period in my life, and I was basically in survival mode. I've been writing for about seven years now, and I've come so far - partly from constant writing practice, and partly because I've become an obsessive reader.
Ten years from now, I hope I write more confidently and judge my first drafts less. I hope to have several more published books under my belt (fingers crossed)! Maybe I am dreaming small, but my goal isn't to become a full-time writer or a bestseller. My goal is to write steadily, and to produce stories that could only have been written by me. Stories that are my own particular brand of weird.
- Samantha Vitale
I think my writing has come a long way! Looking back on my early manuscript drafts (which I still have!), I think I’ve gotten a lot better about controlling the pace of the story and writing dialogue. I have a really cool concept in mind for a new book series, and hopefully 10 years from now you’ll be reading it!
- D.C. Payson
It’s come a long way in ten years! I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but I think I wrote my first novel about ten years ago when I was in school. It was... pretty bad, but I knew I wanted to keep writing. In ten years I’d love to have a good ten more published books under my belt, if not a few more. I just don’t want to stop, basically.
- Chris Durston
Writing my first book took me seven years. I call this my “Seven Year Itch”. With it published in 2020, I can proudly say that the first draft of my second novel, a free standing story about an immigrant family, is now complete.
- Vee Kumari
I have only been actively considering myself a writer over the past two years. Before that, I wrote comics in script format, along with the occasional poem or flash fiction story. A few years ago, I never would have thought I’d be able to finish a novella, let alone a novel. I’m proud of myself for my progress, while recognizing I have a long way to go.
I want to work on my technical abilities over the next decade, but also just get much, much more practice in. Having been a professional artist, I know that practice is one of the best teachers, and I simply haven’t had as many years and I’d like under my belt. Ten years from now, I’d like to be able to write faster, with greater ease, and with greater confidence. Career wise, the usual I think! I’d like to have more published books under my belt.
- Rue Sparks
Well, it took me more than 7 years to write and publish my book `Joshua Garland – The Legend of the Kids’. Not because it’s an incredibly long novel, but life just got in the way of making it a quicker write. In that time my writing style did evolve. Similar to what I said in one of my earlier answers, I just learned the value of using less words to be more effective. This was in part thanks to a number of beta readers who provided me with this piece of advice. I plan to use this style in future projects.
- Ramsey Damouni
Congrats! Let’s see, ten years ago was about the time that I, in the face of getting laid off, going through my most stressful phase as a stay-at-home dad, and probably other horrible things I’m blocking, decided to double down on my goal of publishing a novel. I still did journalism to make money, but fiction proved far more fulfilling over the course of the decade—and it still is!
In the next ten years, I’d love for the chance to publish other middle grade and YA stories I have in mind.
- S.G. Wilson
Ten years ago I had sold only one or two stories, had a massive stash of rejection letters (some from SF/F/H heavyweights like Gordon Van Gelder, John Joseph Adams, and Ellen Datlow), and had most of my success in other people’s worlds. I’d gotten the most attention from Harry Potter and Transformers fan fiction and the most money from a single licensed BattleTech short story.
Ten years from now, hopefully I’ll have completed the Wastelands series (I can finish the series with six books if I want, but the complete plan is three trilogies and a darker coda novel a la Beowulf), have many more books in the Long War, and am able to do this full-time. Per my earlier comment, a TV or film adaptation would be great to have by then.
- Matthew W. Quinn
Ten years ago, I was writing scripts, having decided to try that when I was struggling to write books. I made a bit a headway but wasn't happy. In 2016 I came back to novel writing. I plan to publish a new book every two months, all going well, so in ten years I plan to have a lot of books self-published. I also plan to write books in fantasy and contemporary fantasy and submit them to agents and publishers.
- L.P. Peace
How far? About a million miles. Ten years ago, I was halfway through Summer of L.U.C.K.'s almost twenty-year journey. Around that time, I worked with a development editor, which was invaluable. Then, four or five years back, I discovered the online writing community and found wonderful opportunities to have my work evaluated and mentored. Finally, I connected with critique partners and Beta readers. And I queried widely, with many agent requests and more agent rejections. Eventually all this feedback helped me bring Summer of L.U.C.K. up to standards that attracted a publisher. Looking ahead ten years from now, I hope I'll have written and published a collection of books beyond the three that are contracted by INtense Publications. Happy anniversary, by the way! Ten years is an outstanding accomplishment.
- Laura Stegman
Happy anniversary!! Congratulations! Ten years ago I was just starting my writing journey in earnest. I was a junior in college and had just finished the rough draft of my first full length manuscript. A billion revisions, five new manuscripts, two agents, and one publishing team later, and here we are! In ten years from now I’d love to be getting better and better with each book I write. I hope to be someone’s favorite author someday.
- Kit Rosewater
I've been writing short stories and poems since 3rd grade, but this is my 1st children's book and I hope to have a thriving series as well as a few books for young adults in the future.
- Dr. Tinita Kearney
Ten years ago I was 16, so my writing has come a long way! I have always loved writing and hoped to publish a book, so I am excited to have brought this goal to fruition. Over the next ten years, I plan to continue writing books that expose how key policy issues affect people’s lived experiences. One of my strengths as a writer is my ability to connect the personal with the political, so I intend to continue this focus over the next ten years.
- Kelsey Freeman
Happy anniversary! Ten years ago I was writing about technology trends in the Silicon Valley. Ten years from now I hope to have completed 2 more novels featuring interesting women and rich plots set in early California.
- Wendy Vooranger
Congratulations!! That’s such a momentous milestone. For me, I won my first attempted First Line Fiction short story contest in 2010, and then set writing aside for quite a while. I have more life experience behind me and the tools to take an idea, you know, full scale. I still like that short story I did, but I can definitely see that my depth as a writer has changed and my complexity of prose is significantly better. With age comes wisdom I guess. Where do I think I’ll be in ten years? I haven’t thought about it before. I write to get the stories out of my head, and I doubt I’ll ever stop writing. So I’m just hopeful that it’s a field of dreams situation: if I write it, ‘they’ will read it.
- Kismet Scott
My writing has come quite a ways. I’ve become more brave in my writing (like publishing my first book!) Writing has been a sacred, personal practice for me my whole life, so publishing was a very vulnerable thing for me to do, and something I’m glad I did. In ten years I see myself with several books, journals, workbooks and more available. And an amazing circle of readers and writer friends along for the journey.
- Aimee L. Morgan
I started writing Adverse Effects roughly ten years ago. Since then, I’ve learned through working with editors and beta readers, as well as dabbling in other genres like fantasy and young adult, how important the first few pages are to hook the reader. I struggled back then to make the character as important, if not more than, the plot, whereas now I understand how to engage the reader in the character’s inner world and to give each character a unique voice. In ten years, I hope to have established a solid franchise with characters crossing over into each other’s stories, weaving a web of thrills and intrigue for readers.
- Joel Shulkin MD
Ten years ago, when I was thirteen, I would sit with my paper tablets on the picnic tables at lunch and scribble fantasy stories down. The margins were full of drawings of dragons, gnomes, and elves. One of my projects from a decade ago is still actually in the works. I mean, it’s evolved past the point of recognition, but I still work on it from time to time. I write mostly YA now, but I think it’s always going to be a middle-grade project, kind of a present to my thirteen-year-old self. Something I would have wanted to read back then.
I’m terribly impatient about my ideas, and whenever I get an idea for something, I have to start sowing the seeds for it immediately. So I have about four or five projects in all sitting on the back burner. I’ve got my middle-grade fantasy inspired by Celtic mythology, a 1920s urban fantasy, a comedy-mystery-romance novel about an illegal theater, and a fantasy space-opera. I hope that the Drifters’ Saga is complete, and that at least a generous handful of those side projects are also afloat in ten years. It’s really crazy to think about.
- Sophia Minetos
Happy Anniversary! I used the past ten years to hone and improve my writing and will use the next ten years to hone my writing, explore my creativity and produce many books.
- Stella Oni
I am worse at embodying voices other than my own. I am a little better with empathy in my own life. Maybe that give and take are related.
- Kari Flickinger
Oh my goodness I've come so far in the last 10 years. I started getting really serious about my writing at the tail end of 2009/early 2010. I was a baby writer wondering if my ideas were worthwhile and learning to hone my craft. It's when I joined my local writers guild and started working with critique partners. Since then I've written several manuscripts, been agented, published, and met so many amazing people in the writing community.
As for the next ten years, I hope there's many more books in my future. I hope to find another agent and look forward to lots more writing!
- Jamie Krakover
Ten years ago, I was still talking about wanting to be an author. Today, I’m a published author. In ten years, I plan to have a huge backlist and an even larger following of readers.
- Glenda Thompson