I’ve never been much of a “year in review” guy. I just don’t care for those trite summaries that are supposed to be full of lessons!
But every few years or so I find myself doing one…
2019 was a very interesting year, as all years really are.
It had big highs and big lows.
I was able to write three complete full length novels this year (a completely new 3-book series, 83k, 65k, and 80k – and in an entirely new subgenre for me) and I didn’t even start writing it until the end of February! How? I set deadlines and goals and I met them. The Gamma Sequence is on track to be my most successful book ever, far far FAR outpacing anything I’ve done before.
I also edited and compiled another very successful collection of short horror stories for the annual horror anthology, also our best ever, giving a higher profile to a lot of people in the process (some are going to be BIG, gang), as well as…
writing more than 12 new short horror stories for my own private anthology horror series I’ll be releasing in the next few months. Oh, and I successfully ran four Young Authors Clubs after school for gradeschool children. (That’ll keep you busy.)
I became a USA today best-selling author.
And got ripped off by a marketer – the @sshole and thief, Wid Bastian.
I learned a lot more about marketing (some good, some bad, obviously), which I think I say every year and probably will keep saying every year because I think every year it’s going to be true.
I said goodbye to some friends who I didn’t want to say goodbye to…
and I embraced some friends who wanted to move forward with me. What choice do you really have, after all? You can’t make somebody be your friend. When I look back on all the different people I have worked with in this business (or any other business for that matter), it’s all seems very transitory. I find people, I work with them for a while, and then for various reasons we go our separate ways. Sometimes they quit writing; sometimes they find me impossible to keep working with. (Hey, I’m not perfect.) Sometimes it’s something else.
I wish that wasn’t the case, but it seems this business is that way – transitory – and I have to be okay with that. I miss the people I used to work with, joke with, goof off with, get ideas from, give ideas to, get help from and give help to, but I had my best year ever as an author of this year and really hit a new level in the second half of this year (more on that in a second), so how am I going to complain?
I’m always aiming higher and
I do my best not to let the backward steps – however they come about – bring me down or hurt me too much.
Some losses I incurred in 2019 hurt – a lot. Some of those losses will hurt forever AND I HOPE THEY DO. I don’t want to forget the people who were with me, who helped me get this far. It will always hurt that some aren’t there anymore. I don’t want to forget that I got ripped off, not because the thief gets to live in my head; he doesn’t. I name him to mess with him, not to show I’m wounded. I want to remember what happened because I need to be smarter – for me and for others I can help.
There are GOING to be mistakes. There are GOING to be miscalculations.
There are going to be things that we wish hadn’t happened and which were preventable if we just weren’t so… human and vulnerable and needy and wanting.
But even though I occasionally get down about what I’m doing, it doesn’t last.
I don’t let it last.
That’s what’s amazing about me and that’s what keeps me moving forward.
I had a setback in 2019 (as we all do to varying degrees), and while I was struggling through that, along came an opportunity to change gears and write a second medical thriller book with a very talented group of bestselling authors. So I (eventually) took it – and ended up a USA Today bestselling author as a result. Maybe that would have happened anyway, but it DID happen because I said yes to the opportunity AND because I couldn’t just pick up and start writing the other series. I needed that break, so I switched gears – and then I threw myself into it. Rogue Elements, book 2 in The Gamma Sequence series, was a lot of fun to write; book 3, Terminal Sequence, was even more fun. But writing Rogue helped me move on, and it showed me how to fix what I need to fix so I could write the other series if I wanted to go back to it. (I’m not sure I do; I don’t need to. And I’ve enjoyed the stretching my writerly muscles into new realms…)
Those who chose not to continue on with me, I wish them well. I really do! It gives me no pride or satisfaction to quietly check in on them and not see them doing well.
I want to know everybody’s doing all right.
If they quit writing, I wish they’d start again. If they put a book out, I wish I’d have been allowed to help, but I want it to be successful without my involvement because I was just a cheerleader anyway; they always did the work. They deserve their success, and I want them to have it. (And I’ll be happily jealous of it, too.)
I don’t know what 2020 holds.
None of us do.
But it seems somehow or other I find a way to make my book writing thing a little better and sometimes a lot better.
I’ll never know if the people I leaned on held me back or kept me from sliding further than I would have if I wasn’t leaning on them.
They will never know, either.
I choose to say they helped a lot and my successes are partly theirs. I smile for having known them.
I guess, in the end, let’s all just think fondly of old friends. Like the song says, auld lang syne. Remember everybody fondly; they’re not gonna be around forever. Forgive and forget. Reach out and say hi. Send a letter. And if someone from your past reaches out after six months or a year or sixteen years or however long, we can all let bygones be bygones and be old friends again just like we used to be.
And I equally know a few will never reach out; these are authors. They don’t do the reaching out thing. It’s not in their DNA.
I feel I’m not supposed to reach out to a few, that they want me gone, but I don’t want anybody gone, so that lack of reaching out will be a memory of sad regret and possibly the empty feeling of missed opportunity to know again what once was. I think I’ve reached out a lot, sometimes to have my hand ignored and sometimes to feel it wasn’t welcome. I’ll never know if I’ve reached out enough, but I know for some people nothing is ever enough.