2016 was a busy year filled. So many holidays that closed school, family events, health issues, bouts of depression, unexpected disasters, and I’m sure I’m missing other categories. Yet, somehow I managed to publish 4 books, write 5 books, write 1 short story, write 1 novella, outlining at least 10 other stories/series, and a couple hundred blog posts. This is on top of getting my son ready for school, running errands, doing laundry, cooking dinner, grocery shopping, helping my son with homework, and everything else that shows up. You might think this is a weird way to start this blog post, but I want to see if I can get you as exhausted as I am.
*Pause because I apparently have to do all the bedtime stuff alone.*
I’m routinely told that I should take a break, but I’m horrible at listening to this advice. So here I am as a cautionary tale. It’s funny too because people also tell me on my blog that I’m amazing with everything I get done. Honestly, that is appreciated, but I do laugh because it would be different in a face-to-face meeting. You’d be asking how fast the truck was going and what I did to make the driver so angry that he probably hit me twice. That’s just the physical too because I’m feeling mentally burned out, except when I’m writing. Odd that I can have trouble remembering the word ‘soap’ (white shower thingy!) and tried to cook my lunch without turning the oven on (3 hours later and I’m glad nobody was home). Yet, put me back in my fantasy world and I can still be sharp enough to get the job done.
And that’s one of the hardest things about being an author, especially those of us crazy enough to attempt this gig as a full-time job. I’m always talking about balance as if I’m an expert, but I’m so bad at it. Balance is probably the dream that takes a lot and can be popped with less effort than a white shower thingy bubble. Half the time, I don’t realize I’ve achieved it until it’s about to break. Delays and distractions happen all the time, so we have to pick ourselves up and continue on. That’s really all we can do, right?
Yet, some of us (ME!) make the mistake of not picking ourselves up all the way. You muster up enough energy and mental fortitude to push forward, but it’s similar to a runner trying to go full speed after recovering from a broken ankle. There’s no easing back into it because you focus on the time that you lost, which crashes you into a wall. This can be exhaustion, depression, frustration, and many other –ions. Possibly even a lion if you lose your mind at the zoo and decide to ask one of them if they’re able to edit your manuscript. Ridiculous since we all know aardvarks are better with grammar. Mauling aside, you just end up hurting yourself again and again until you hit . . . a point that I’m at now.
Back in December, I wrote the last book of my fantasy series that I’ve been working on since late 1998. This is after everything else that happened last year and I dragged my carcass to the finish line. 30 minutes after that, Legends of Windemere: The Spirit Well (Book 12 of 15) was released on Amazon. I was a mix of sorrow for coming to the end of a journey and excitement for having another book out. Other stuff happened, but I’ve been in a daze ever since because everything just piled up on me. One thing I keep thinking is that I’d be better able to handle this if I’d taken it easy a bit more last year. The finish line is great, but skidding face first across it is a rather pathetic way to end the journey.
Like I said before, I’m using myself as a cautionary tale and I’m even keeping some of the worst stuff out of this. Mostly because I don’t want to throw certain people under the bus that keeps running over me. Yeah, I know I said a truck before, but the drivers are related and they switch off every Sunday. Anyway, 2017 is when I’m going to try and get my energy back. I want to do more guest posts and indulge in projects with no deadlines. It won’t be perfect because I can’t go a week without someone asking me how much money I made and tying it into a chat about getting a real job. Apparently, my response that the government will probably tank the economy and cost me whatever job I get doesn’t go over well.
Now, you might think this is an entire tale of woe. You’d be 90% correct, but read between the lines and see what makes this author keep going. I took a lot of junk from my surroundings last year, but I still got stuff done. All of my released books ended up on a Top 100 Amazon list at some point and I can still pay my side of the bills with the royalties. Those tiny victories are what I fought for and they helped to make this year a little easier. I think. I have a clean, (yet slightly gnawed on) slate ahead of me aside from publishing the last 3 Legends of Windemere books, the next Bedlam book, writing an Ichabod Brooks collection for the summer, and . . . Fine. Some idiots never learn.
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