I have been doing the seemingly obligatory year-end review the past few years, usually as December draws to a close. I didn’t do one this year. This, right here, is as close as I’m going to get to that.
I’ve seen a lot of people who are quick to write-off the year that was. 2013 was rough on a lot of people. Some of my best friends have been through a spectrum of hardships I can’t begin to catalogue here. And there have been deaths–more than I’m used to dealing with in a given year. And the deaths have been closer to me than they’ve been in a while. I expect that comes from getting older, and from accumulating a larger and larger list of friends and acquaintances. I like to think we took some lessons from those lives that ended too soon.
I can’t say 2013 was great for me, either. There have been disillusionments, and let-downs and some hard truths. Plus, I didn’t write that much short fiction, and didn’t submit a bunch either, especially compared to previous years. On the up-side, I made and strengthened some incredible and unexpected friendships. And I was really happy with the short fiction I did finish, and was incredibly happy with the longer fiction I worked on this year. I put in a lot of effort on novels, from Cobalt City: Los Muertos to the work on the Ravensgate Chronicles. The only regret is that I’ve let Ink Calls to Ink languish. I really need to do another wave of queries.
But mostly, the past year has been a long period of readjusting priorities, and figuring out what’s important to me. I’m making the life I want to live. I keep learning, keep challenging myself creatively, and keep fighting for the stuff that’s important. I’m learning to feel the frustrations then let them go and move on. I’m getting better at taking a breath and reacting with compassion rather than anger. And I’m learning that true friendships can survive any kind of time and distance.
So what does 2014 hold?
Honestly, who the fuck really knows at this point?
I have goals: finish Of Rooks and Ravens (Ravensgate Chronicle book 1) by the end of January, do a deep edit/rewrite of Cobalt City: Los Muertos so I can get a publishable draft by Halloween, finish the first draft of Redemption of the Yellow Wolf (Ravensgate Chronicles book 2) before end of October, and write a new Cobalt City novel in November. That will be 3 finished first drafts in 2014 which seems ambitious, but the first Ravensgate book is about 24k from being done which is easy, and I have around 30k of a lead on the second book as well since I had to break things up last year. And NaNoWriMo is kind of a given. Somewhere in there, I need to take a few hours here and there to do agent queries and submit some short fiction. And if something needs to be written, I can spare the time to do it.
I have travel plans: World Horror Con in Portland in May, my daughter’s wedding in St. Louis in August, and World Fantasy Convention in D.C. in November.
And I have my schedule: writing on Thursday nights, all day Saturday, and a half-day on Sunday, as well as a potential other weekday night. TV night on Tuesdays. And running a D&D game on alternating Sunday nights just to keep refreshed. And, of course, karaoke on frequent Wednesday nights or as needed.
My life is full of the most amazing writers, artist, dreamers and dime-store philosophers a guy could hope for. My head is full of stories that need to be written. And my 2014 is full of potential.
I just need to act on it.