For me 2018 has seen the end of several things. My faithful “Bronx Buggy,” a 2004 Honda CRV died. It’s been ferrying me back and forth to work during a dramatic changes in my career–a new position in a new specialty. My kids were in booster and car seats when we bought it, and the future full of possibilities. I had not started writing fiction yet–that began in 2005 when I was inspired by the collision of real life and a media event. I wrote feverishly: five novels (three published), ten short stories (seven published), and a memoir (multiple excerpts published), a pattern that would continue until 2017.
During that time I escaped from the misery of the job I left, the stress of my doctoral program, and health challenges to write and publish fiction and creative non fiction. I made dozens of like minded friends from online writing and critique groups, attending conferences for the SFWA and RWA, my RWA chapter and publishers–the most notable of which is the Soulmate Author’s Group. My goal was to earn enough from writing to be able to quit my job and buy a cottage on the beach where I find my greatest inspiration and Then came the boom in e publishing and marketing that has made it impossible to earn enough from writing and publishing to even pay for writing and publishing software.
Far from being discouraged, writing became a labor of love. But during NaNoWriMo 2017, was unable to even meet half my goal on a new novel in my urban fantasy series. Marketing consumed way too much of my time, and the payoff was not worth the expenditure. I keep recalling SMP publisher Deborah Gilbert’s advice to “just write more books,” which has paid off after Storm Watch: Book Three in the Unfinished Business was published, joining Breakwater Beach: Book One and The Widow’s Walk: Book Three. But that income is enough to buy some software.
The renewed energy I put into my current job, now in its tenth year, as well as branching out into disaster and mission work, has paid off with contacts and opportunities–and has sucked time away from writing fiction in favor of academic papers. Dealing with the trials of teenagers and young adult children, and aging parents has necessitated a shifting of priorities. I didn’t do NaNoWriMo 2018 because I simply did not have the time to devote to my current novel in progress-a Contemporary Western Romance that reflects my real-life immersion in political and environmental activism and disaster/medical relief missions. But the first draft is almost complete and very much on my mind.
This November 2, my cottage on the beach dream came true, and I spent that month moving in and furnishing what will be my summer writing escape–one in which I hope to have retreats with other writers seeking peace, quite, natural beauty, and companionship. Oh yeah, my husband, the teenager, young adults, and non writing friends will be with me much of the time as well but their part of the patchwork of my life and my crazy, creative processes.
I will finished the Contemporary novel, and the half-done Urban Fantasy one as well. 2018 was “lost” year for writing but the hiatus enabled me to take several steps toward working the kinks out of my original plan. For me, 2019 will be the beginning of more dreams coming true.
Thanks to all of the SMP editors and authors, my writing and critique partners, and all my writing friends for the support and encouragement over the last thirteen years.