This year saw me at my most uncomfortable.
Part of this was my own fault. I wrote so much new material last year that I’ve spent most of this year editing my copious rough drafts. While some of my peers were landing their stories in markets, I felt like I was treading water. Excluding my Daily WTF articles, I wrote exactly one new story this year (more on that below).
Speaking of The Daily WTF, it’s been my biggest success. I’m proud of what I’ve written for that site, a collection of the most profoundly disturbing and hilarious technical mishaps collected on the internet. To date, I’ve written 27 posts for them.
While I wrote almost nothing new, I did finish many stories I began last year. “Brain Bombs” and “In This Universe or the Next” were completed, as was my YA novel The Red Flood. I pushed A Buried Stone Gate halfway through several revisions, although I didn’t get it critique-ready. “Alyssa and the Way of Kido” got a major revision a few weeks ago. I started on rewriting my Stephen King homage “Mold,” but didn’t get very far.
My travels were all scheduled late in the year, leaving me feeling restless for months. I didn’t attend any SF conventions, which I had planned on, and probably missed out on making connections in the industry. On the other hand, I visited my father and some friends in Seattle. Oh, and I toured Japan for two weeks. So that was nice.
I experimented with working part-time at my day job, leaving me with several more hours to write every day. While it was the biggest increase in my productivity I’d seen in recent memory, my workload at the office suffered, as I thought we would have more staff on hand than we did. It may be for the best, as my living expenses have been increasing dramatically as of late.
I changed my mind several times, notably and publicly. It’s embarrassing to make that kind of course correction in front of everyone, but I’d rather lose a little face now than make a huge mistake due to my pride. I’m glad I didn’t apply to graduate school, now that I know what my priorities really are.
The other thing I changed my mind about? The Dark Crystal AuthorQuest contest. I have some varied, complicated thoughts on why I decided to go forward with it. I’ll detail those in an upcoming blog post, to go up after January 1, along with some of the material I submitted for the contest. I’m glad I went through with it after all.
I also wrote a multi-part re-read/examination of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. It ended up a little too much for me to handle, but along the way I discovered a lot about why I like certain stories. I might do another such series next year on another beloved story of mine.
I have few true regrets this year. Sure, I wish I had not committed to some things too early, and I wish I had been able to make more industry connections. It’s all, as the saying goes, a learning experience.
- Favorite old book: The Neverending Story
- Favorite new book: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
- Favorite old movie: The Breakfast Club
- Favorite new movie: Gravity and Pacific Rim (tie)
- Favorite moment: walking through the Arashiyama Bamboo Groves in Kyoto, Japan
- Hardest decision: going back to work full-time
Next time, I’ll let you a little about my AuthorQuest submission: Outcasts of the Dark Crystal. Happy New Year!