It’s the end of the year, and I have to admit I’ve been feeling more than a little unproductive. This is sometimes bad for me, because I’m one of those people who can handle missing my personal goals for only so long. After a point I get angsty. You know what I mean, right? Some of you, anyway. Call it my personal form of anxiety. I want things to happen, and when you’re in business all by yourself, if you don’t get them done no one else will.
I suppose it’s no surprise that November and December has been chock full of things that have kept me from creating words at the rate I tend to want to create them. There’s the usual—family get togethers and whatnot. But in my case we’ve also seemed to hit one of those streaks where something is always happening that needs attention right now: must get new phones, must deal with a small medical thing, must see a remarkably good Star Wars episode.
You know, those kinds of things.
And it’s been happening for long enough now that for the past couple weeks I’ve had this gloomy sense of being a slacker hanging over me.
So, today, as I took a ceremonial moment to look back on the year, I found myself feeling an odd combination of sheepish and pleased to look at the results of this year from a pure publishing point of view:
- Five novels
- Eleven short stories
- One collection (with John C. Bodin)
- One novelette (with John C. Bodin)
I’ll post a running list of the work at the end of this post just because I can, and because it’s fun.
It all adds up to about 300,000 words of fiction published. Yeah. That’s a nice number.
Oh, sure, I can pick out a whole ton of additional things I would like to have gotten done. But, screw it. I did 300K words of published fiction—all of which I’m proud of. That last bit is important to me, though: being proud of my work. It’s as important as the amount I get done, really, but I can forget that in the hectic moment of trying to cram too much work into too little space.
But, yes, I’m proud of the work I’ve created this year. The stories do what I want them to do, and when I’ve struggled with manuscripts I’ve allowed myself to take the time I needed to get them to behave rather than just waved my hands and said “ah, crap, that’s good enough!” (Or, perhaps better said, I’ve taken the time I needed to find the core of the story, then made it happen). It’s some of the best work I’ve ever done, really. Of course, with luck and a little work I hope and expect to say the same thing about the work I’ll do in 2018.
That’s the goal, really. Do good work. Or, since “good” is far too subjective to use as a criteria, at least work you’re proud of.
I’m happy that it’s the end of the year, because it was good to do this little exercise.
If you’re like me—a person who judges themselves by partially by achievement—there’s great power in stepping back at certain moments. You know what I mean, right? You’re working hard, and you’re tired, and despite everything you’ve done, as you look ahead all you see is this massive mountain of work looming ahead like your own personal Barad-dûr. It’s these times that maybe it’s best to turn around and look at the equally big mountain of really cool things you’ve gotten done.
If you’re like me, it will make you smile. It will make you remember the challenges of the moments you were lost and trying to figure out what to do, and it will make you remember how glorious it feels when the answers come—late, yes, always later than you want. But answers, like Wizards, always arrive precisely when they mean to.
And if you’re like me it will make you want to turn back around, point to the future, and get focused on the challenges ahead. What stories am I going to discover in me? What surprises are these characters I’m learning about going to give? What lessons am I going to learn?
I can’t wait to find out.
Happy New Year to everyone out there. Let’s have a great 2018.
Here’s my output in 2017:
Starfall, Stealing the Sun, Book 3: (January 2017)
The Knight Deception: (February 2017)
Starclash, Stealing the Sun, Book 4: (March 2017)
Starbound;, Stealing the Sun Book 5: (April 2017)
Starcrash;, Stealing the Sun Book 6: (December 2017)
7 Days in May – May 2017 (w/John C. Bodin), Skyfox Publishing
T-Minus Zero Plus Forever (with John C. Bodin) – November, 2017, Sins of the Father bundle
First Rays of New Sun – December 2017, Midwinter Fae bundle
Out of the Pelagirs – December 2017, Valdemar Anthology: Pathways
G-Bomb – Reprinted in Stars in the Darkness – October 2017
Incident at Realm City – August 2017, On Spec
A Demon Walks Into a Speakeasy – Aug 2017, Fiction River, Pulse Pounders, Adrenaline
Often and Silently We Come – Jul/Aug 2017 Analog
Just Business – Reprinted in Crimes, Capers, Rule Breakers Bundle – July 2017
The Black Marker at the End of Time – June 2017, Beneath the Waves Bundle
Rock of Ages – May 2017, Fiction River, Editors’ Cut
Speedway Fever – May 2017, Seven Days in May
Hero #8 – January 2017 Fiction River, Tavern Tales