It’s that time of year when we look back on what we’ve done and try to plan for the upcoming year. To be honest (and why wouldn’t I be) parts of this year were astoundingly successful and other parts sucked raw eggs. Mostly, my writing suffered.
At the beginning of last year my plans were as follows: finish my classes so I could get my teaching license back, get a teaching job for the 2010-11 school year somewhere on the eastern seaboard of the USA, finish five manuscripts, sign five publishing contracts and release five titles. Now let’s look at what happened.
First quarter of the year I worked at my classes. I applied for, interviewed and was offered a job in Abu Dhabi (so not the eastern seaboard.) The second Arden FD book, Spark Of Desire was released and I got a print contract for it. I contracted out Love To Declare to Wild Rose Press and the second Touchstone book (which is the first in the chronology) Satellite Of Love to Freya’s Bower. (I also learned to stop calling it SOL because that reduced friends to hysterics.) I didn’t finish a darn thing but I did start a piece of fan fiction in class. It’s about War and Peace length now. I’m so ashamed. Or not, because I use fan fiction to incubate characters in. It works! I also house sat for an elderly dog which I’m sure was more traumatic for me than it was for her and juggled four very part time jobs (explaining the need for four of them.)
Second quarter of the year I finished my classes with A’s. Spark Of Desire was released in paper. Love To Declare came out in ebook form. I contracted a pair of novellas to Lyrical. Secrets Everybody Knows is coming out in February and Long Memory will be coming in May, I believe. My jobs all dried up within the same two week period when classes ended and suddenly with time on my hands I started writing. I started another rock star series with a band called Send Down that was mentioned in the Touchstone books. I wrote and edited the third Touchstone book (which really is #3 in the chronology.) I also finished two other novellas, one that had been knocking around my hard drive and a new one. And I got the paperwork in for my license renewal. I also started working on the endless process of getting my paperwork authenticated for Abu Dhabi which took the entire summer and cost about $300 to various agencies.
Third quarter saw me write another Send Down book, finish yet another old novella and write a novella that will slot into the Touchstone series between books four and five. (No, four isn’t written yet, but I have faith in myself. Someone has to.) And I finished writing the third Arden book, which I have been picking at for eight (yes, eight) years. In the meantime, I finished the authentication process, packed my bags and moved to another continent where it is very hot and people dress funny.
Fourth quarter was mostly spent in hotels, outfitting and moving into my apartment and settling in to my new job. I got moved from classroom to classroom three days in a row due to confusion and lack of planning. After the third move I had a nightmare that I walked into school and my boss was saying, “I hate to do this to you, but…” and I woke up in a cold sweat. Very freaking little got done on the writing front. I think I subbed one thing. I did a little editing and started two, er three, projects.
So what’s the score?
Goal: “finish my classes so I could get my teaching license back, get a teaching job for the 2010-11 school year somewhere on the eastern seaboard of the USA.”
Finished classes, got teaching license and a job. The job is several thousand miles from where I planned to be, but it pays well and I love it. As I write, I’m waiting for my laundry man to come drop off my laundry because I have become that lazy. I’m considering hiring a Filipina to follow me around this summer on my travels so I won’t have to carry my own suitcase. (Just kidding. Sorta.)
Goal: “finish five manuscripts.”
I did manage the letter of this, but failed horribly on the spirit of it. I meant, “begin and finish five full novels.” What I did was finish 2 novellas and a novel that had been started previously and got start to finish on three other novellas. I didn’t really have the brain capacity to handle anything longer. Of course, I said titles to give myself the wiggle room of completing novellas in lieu of novels so maybe I should stop being so hard on myself and call that one a win. Finished five novellas and a novel.
Goal: “sign five publishing contracts.”
About that. It’s not really a fair goal because I don’t have control over whether I get offered a contract. All I can do is submit and cross my fingers. That is where I fell down. I submitted things and had publishers interested enough to hold them for months, but ended up only signing three contracts all year. What I didn’t do was make sure things stayed out. Subbing by email is wonderful because I can do it anywhere in the world. Now from the middle of August to the middle of October, I was living in Intercontinental Hotels and not willing to pay the absurd prices they were asking for wifi very often and them it took almost to December before I got internet installed at my apartment, but for the rest of the year I have no excuse.
Goal: “release five titles.”
I released two. Three if you count the ebook and the paper release of Spark separately.We could argue all night over whose fault it was (no we can’t. It was mine, all mine.) but in the end what’s the point? If you don’t sub stuff, you don’t release stuff. I was busy with school and other distractions for the last half of 2009 and most of 2010, didn’t sub and didn’t release anything. I’ll work on that.
In the end I guess it wasn’t as bad as I thought. This time last year, I was barely employed, in the middle of the massive project of regaining my teaching license which would get me actual employment, scraping by financially and floundering in snow. Creatively, I thought I was out of gas. I had no inspiration or energy to write. Now I’ve got a very well paying, stable job in a really nice place. (Okay, the drivers are nuts, the laundry man always says he’s coming at four o’clock and never actually shows up at that time and never in my life did I think I’d be giving directions like “turn left in the parking lot, then right at the mosque, second street on the right, my building is the last one in the row.”) I’m sorta writing again. I was going gangbusters this summer while I waited for documents, but moving from place to place, living in hotels and settling into a job and an apartment it was all I could do to dabble in editing. Of course, that just means that I have a lot of stuff that I can sub this year, right? Which will be the next post. Every “where have we been” needs a “where are we going” in my opinion.
Where is that laundry man?