2013: Not a good year.
The new year is a hopeful time for me even though the calender’s change is to a great degree arbitrary. The difference between December 31 and January 1 in terms of the time of sunrise and sunset is small but in my mind I can create a transitional zone that helps me make sense of moving forward.
I always have too many goals at the beginning of the year but I’ve learned that it is okay to embrace the idea that my eyes are bigger than my stomach, that I pile too much on my plate and maybe leave some things unfinished.
In the new year I have a lot of work to do.
I’m slated to be one of the Guests of Honor at Fantasycon 2014 (York, England, Sept 5- 7). AND I plan to attend Loscon 3 (Worldcon 2014) in London on August 14 – 17. This is all intensely exciting!
So far this year I have
1) turned in the revised manuscript of my forthcoming (2015) YA fantasy, MASK. This is my Little Women epic fantasy in a setting inspired by (but not specifically derived from) Greco-Roman Egypt.
We four sisters are sitting in the courtyard at dusk in what passes for peace in our house. Well-brought-up girls do not fidget or fume or ever betray the least impatience or boredom. But it is so hard to sit still when all I can think about is how I am going to sneak out of the house tomorrow to do the thing my father would never ever give me permission to do.
2) battled intense self doubt regarding the epic fantasy manuscript I am working on, mostly brought on by a crisis of confidence about writing epic fantasy at all. It’s complicated. The most important thing is to persevere past the negative internal voices, and not hate on yourself that you have those voices (and sometimes lose ground to them). That’s human. I have to remind myself that it is okay to believe in yourself. It’s not rude, or cocky, or unseemly. Confidence belongs to everyone.
I have 175,000 words written and a lot of revision to do plus some chapters to write and insert, but in the end I decided that to make sure the layers worked and to understand the story’s architecture I needed a plot board outline, which I finally finished today. At the same time I color coded the five points of view (one per chapter). You can see both the plot board and the post-it tagged manuscript below:
I am in the process of finishing and revising this novel now.
Beyond that I have
1) a Spiritwalker novelette very close to being finished that I hope to post for Valentine’s Day
2) a few more Spiritwalker universe short stories that I would really like to finish. My ultimate goal is a short story collection set within the universe.
3) Two novels on deck. No timetables I can share yet.
4) a short story collection coming 2015; I have more work to do on that.
5) How much I will post over the next few months remains up in the air but I hope to post more regularly and especially I hope to answer some of the many questions I have backlogged. My apologies for not getting to them sooner. I also want to highlight work I’m reading/viewing by others.
As for non-writing related things:
Get more in shape (I have an entire regimen planned and in progress for this).
The other usual things (eat better, spend more relaxed time with people, read more, you know all that).
But if I had to say ONE THING I hope to accomplish this year, I would say: Have a successful trip to Europe (as per above) By my way of thinking success in this context means: hang out with friends, make new friends, spend time with people I’ve been longing to visit, talk talk talk, avoid exceptional hassles, stay healthy, and pick a couple of places I’ve not yet seen that I really want to visit. Also: people!
I don’t know if a new year means the same to everyone — but for me it is a chance to let go of some of the burdens I carried the previous year, to set goals I won’t fully achieve but keep striving for regardless, and to aim for one or two carefully chosen accomplishments or events, however large or small. I’d be interested in hearing how you approach the new year.