I was originally planning on calling this post: “Fuck you, 2013. I’m glad you’re dead.” But then figured I probably shouldn’t use the word “fuck” in the title of a post, as well as the consideration that 2013 wasn’t that bad. It just wasn’t that great.
I had some pretty cool highs during the course of the year, but also had some pretty deep lows. I had three short stories published in various places, which was cool, and then won the Surrey Writer’s Conference non-fiction contest, which was really cool. I also finished a novel and set it loose on the world (although, so far, the world has not really given a shit).
The lows I had were not necessarily writing related, but they affected me nonetheless. I crashed my car (oh! how I loved that little blue car), had my house broken into while I was sleeping in it, and got some really, really bad news concerning the health of a family member – without who I’m not sure how I’ll get by.
I got rejected, a lot, both for short stories and for novel length stuff, but I’m not convinced this is a bad thing, because it is evidence that I am working and moving (I’m not sure I’m moving forwards, but if I’m getting new words down then I’m moving in some kind of direction). So, I cannot cry that my year was filled with misery and woe. I cannot say that I kicked 2013’s ass, but it didn’t exactly put me down for the count, either. Right now I think the cosmic referee has called it a draw, and we’ve both retreated to our respective corners, glaring hatefully at one another.
As the new year gets started, I’m eyeing it up with a significant amount of trepidation. I’m waiting on a lot of things that will likely get sorted out in the next couple of months, and how they fall will really play a big part in how the rest of this year goes: There is a decision pending at work which will make a big difference in my career path and what I do for the next year, and many years to follow; I’ve got a novel out to some agents, and I’m waiting to see if they have any interest or if I’m heading back to the proverbial drawing board; and several of my short stories have currently been cast into the ether, and I’m waiting to see if they catch hold anywhere. There is also the news of my family member’s health issue hanging over my head, and when it falls it likely going to hit hard and leave some bruises.
I do not make new years resolutions – I do not believe in them, because they are almost always vague fancies that are forgotten by the time your new years eve hangover fades – I make goals, and I have some pretty big goals for the year. The problem that I’m facing now, is the goals may change pretty heavily depending on what happens in the next few months, and the uncertainty is making me kind of twitchy.
As I face this year, I know I am not alone in my feelings of uncertainty and the loathing of the idea that so many of the things that will affect me are completely beyond my control. I know it to be true, but I have a hard time accepting that I’ve done everything I can, and now all I can do is wait, and work on something else – something that is within my control.
As writers, we cannot control how people are going to view our work; no matter how good we think a story is, everyone who reads it might think it sucks. There are only two things that we can control in this writing life: how much effort we are willing to put into our craft, and how we treat each other.
I really do think that we’re all in this thing together. As the publishing industry changes, and experiences these deep states of flux, the only thing that is constant is how we take care of our own. I’ve gotten a lot of support in the past year from the writing community around me, and some days it really has gotten me through. Comments on this blog, emails from my critique buddies, events where writers come together to shore each other up and improve our craft, these are the things that help me get by, and these are the things that we can control.
So, all other goals aside, one thing I plan on doing is reaching out a little more, to both lend help and accept it. This is a long road, and if we don’t walk it together, I’m not sure how we’ll get to the end.
As always, thanks for reading.