My year ends on Halloween. I still feel the need to make resolutions and observe the normal New Year’s Day, but the space between November and January always feels like a time to take stock and think about what’s ahead. The planning time of year.
First, where I was. Two big things happened in 2012, my family moved from Washington DC and I spent the year dealing with the business of writing. The two combined to mean that outside of blog posts, I didn’t write. Oh I started a few things here and there, but nothing went anywhere.
So in January of 2013, I realized that I had a slew of manuscripts with 20K words on them. If I started forcing myself to write again, right then, I’d have one finished by the end of February. I started writing and… it didn’t quite work out that way. I wrote from the end of January until April 11. The piece was my YA UF, the mermaid story, and in January it had only 6,979 words (from about two days in August of 2012).
Success tasted sweet. I hadn’t realized how much taking a year off from writing shook my confidence. I had rationalized that I was still writing – blogposts, starts of things, little two or three paragraph ideas. But all those short things didn’t add up to the feeling of confidence that comes when you write every day or even five days a week on a single idea. In April, I was fired up to keep that feeling going.
And then I was hospitalized for three days. Despite what you’d think, heavy psychoactive drugs kill your momentum a bit. When I got my health together I was ready to write again, but it took a few weeks for something to catch me. I made 23K words of progress on an idea I’d toyed with in 2012 – a man who sells his childhood to the devil but doesn’t know about that, Brimestone meets Memento. I put down 7K on a Gone Girl meets The Snow Queen – which I still hope to get back to.
It wasn’t until I picked up a YA steampunk manuscript from 2011, that the spark became a flame. I wrote on that 5K word seed of an idea from 6/6 until 11/6. June 6 has been important to me since 2006, when I had a life changing stroke on that day. I don’t even remember thinking of the significance of the date when I started writing but I delighted that it worked out that way.
70, 513 words of mermaids and murder from January until April
92,682 words of steampunk from June until November
That was my writing year. Other things that happened: in April I found out my job would be ending due to government budget cuts. In June I started a new position, which has turned out to be the best job of my life. There was the hospitalization in May, but I’ve been focused on my running and have made great strides (if you’ll pardon the pun) in my fitness. Like writing, it turns out running requires almost religious devotion.
Mindful of that devotion, I’ll spend the rest of the year working on edits. I love creating something new, it’s the best part of writing for me, but first drafts don’t get published. My new day job gives me three days off at Thanksgiving and an unreal 10 days off over the winter holidays. I’m looking forward to that time for editing. My plans for January are to get back to that Snow Queen-evil fairy-kidnapped child grown up – idea, hoping the cold of the landscape will help it grab me. Of course, like most writers some days I have six impossible thoughts before breakfast. Looking ahead at 2014, I can’t wait to see what happens.