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There Aren't Any Apocalyses I Should Know About, Right?

I'm reading over last year's final post so I can figure out what to say in this one. Man. I even started off that post with good year, bad year. I could put this one on the same set of scales and watch them wobble.

Let's recap, shall we? (I hope this doesn't constitute complaining, because I'm not trying to. Anyway, this is my blog, so I guess I can write whatever I want because I did learn a lesson in the end.)

I came into 2012 with the expectation that The Treasure Hunter's Lady would see light of day. My big goal for the year was just to e-publish it in February and finish writing The Sky Pirate's Wife. It was . . . a lot more work than I anticipated. I still fall under the belief that things are much easier than they appear even if you're already elbow deep in them. As in, why does everyone else make this look so easy?! But when everyone encourages me to take a step back and draw in a breath, I turn rabid dog and am like, leave me alone, I won't stop until I finish!

I did publish THL. To Smashwords, to Amazon, to Barnes & Noble. I did interviews on a ton of blogs, And then I had a nervous breakdown. Sales were not what I had hoped--my hopes were ridiculous because I was a debut author. No matter how many interviews I did, they didn't much seem to help. It took me about three months to get over that. It appears as though the world is largely determined to ignore me. You know what, I'm sort of okay with that because publishing THL did nothing and I mean nothing, for breaking me out of my introverted shell. I'm very disappointed in myself for that because I'm even awkward in e-mails, instant messages, and chats.

I also got a ton of bad reviews on my (super) short story. I deleted it from all my accounts, except Goodreads, where the especially mean people seem to hang out. I saved the reviews and sometimes I look at them when I'm feeling sorry for myself. It's kind of like getting stabbed repeatedly by angry seagulls. Only there's no poop and no blood. So that's okay.

Then I made the super-crazy decision to release THL in print. It was far more complicated than I ever imagined, but in the end, I did get it done. I proudly displayed a proof copy at my brother's birthday party. Way to steal the spotlight, little sister.

Looking at 2011, I was sad a lot during the summer because of rejections. I was sadder this year. Not like, I'm-going-to-eat-a-bullet sad, just I-have-severe-gastrointestinal-issues-and-cry-in-the-shower-a-lot sad. Self-publishing almost destroyed my stomach. But I held my head high, defended it with everything I had, and soldiered on . . . while complaining to my soldiers-in-arms aka writer friends.

Not only did I soldier on, but I finished SPW. Look ma, two goals completed this year! And I sent it to beta readers and I said, ha ha, look at me! I'm awesome and possibly invincible because I didn't die from GERD and I'm going to publish it in July!  That . . . didn't come anywhere close to happening. So I decided on September. And I did it. Only I kind of had a cover I hated, so I had to redo that one, but I'm happy with it now.

Suddenly I was an unknown author with two novels out there, still largely ignored by the world. I was feeling better about my gastrointestinal issues though. I stopped letting being unknown freak me out. I took the words of some writer to heart: Three novels is better than two. So I wrote the third novel in the Legends & Lovers series. A series I never intended to write. I knew better than to think I'd get it pubbed this year. Look for it in the spring. I was so excited to have it written that I started a fourth novel. And hated almost every word. Um, November and December were dedicated to rewriting. January will be too. It's tolerable now, but it still needs work. It looks like 2013 will be another big year of editing, like 2011 was.

I chose to believe the strain of this year was caused by the intense heat of the summer. It's hard to be happy and productive when it's 1000 degrees. Okay, it wasn't that hot, but the humidity was terrible, worse than I remember it in years and all I really wanted to do was sleep and cry. Not like 2011 where I walked all the time and actually seemed like a functioning human being (mostly).

Another thing that got me down was some people sneered at me and said mean things (even if they didn't realize they were being rude) and hurt my feelings. Or they ignored me when I needed help the most. Sticks and stones, y'all. I tried desperately hard not to say anything insulting to anyone's face (I mentioned I'm socially awkward, right? In a charming way, I hope).

Reading over that I come to one conclusion: Not that I'm a whiner (I totally am), but that being a writer is hard.

Over these last twelve months that felt like years, I learned that all your writerly problems are not solved by suddenly being published. Being a writer is a multifaceted job. I mean, I've done things I never imagined doing. Learning to convert a Word document into an ebook and then a file for print. Creating a cover that doesn't look like I did it in Microsoft Paint. Learning the ins-and-outs of Paint.NET. Some rudimentary marketing and how Hootsuite works. Participating in blog hops and meeting other writers. Creating my own newsletter than I am really bad at updating. If you scratch away all the crappy parts and look at the stuff I just listed, it seems pretty cool.

Please, don't let me discourage you if you have shiny dreams. It's probably just me and my unstable brain that would have made an excellent flagrant whenever that was popular. A lot of it was frustrating and disheartening, but in retrospect, holy crap, some of it was cool! On the bright side of things, I did manage to survive 3 apocalypses. The first was May 21st, followed by one that was supposed to be waaaay worse on October 21st (according to some crazy guy. What's-his-face Camp or Camping or something). And of course, the Mayan apocalypse. I feel pretty crafty for surviving all that. And whatever terrible flu was going around whenever it was going around. I sort of get all those mixed up.

Also (and importantly) I celebrated my 7th anniversary with my husband (congratulations on not killing each other!). I thought we were going to have to put my beloved Taurus to sleep (er, take her to the scrapyard), but she's still kicking. I didn't run over any large animals, get a speeding ticket, or have a wreck. I wrote about 200,000 words, not counting this blog, marketing, and social networking.

I didn't win any awards, or become an overnight sensation. I spent a lot of time with my husband and dog (our weird little family) and read, ate too much pie, watched too much TV, cried a lot, and learned that the mean words are just as important as the kind ones, but I survived. So I think we can call this one a win.

Comments

  1. Well, I think what you did this year was amazing. While you were writing and putting your work out there, I was mostly just feeling sorry for myself. So congrats on trudging forward with your dream. You are a fantastic story smith and soon more people will discover that. I have no doubt.

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