What a year, 2013 has been to me and my family. To start off, I registered for a few online writing classes that were a Christmas gift. I had contemplated taking some classes many times, but I have always put off doing so for one reason or another. The results of those classes remain a mixed bag, as the site I went with was more of a user driven experience, and really didn’t “teach” you anything. I can pick up a book and read it just as easily, and save the $99/year. On the flip side to that, actually taking those classes gave me motivation to write more. I haven’t calculated my total word count for the year yet, but I am pretty sure it is quadruple what is was the year before. My goal next year is to double or triple what I will end up with this year.
In March, I read an article on Hugh Howey. That single event changed me in more ways than I can count. After many many years of playing with the notion or writing, I never felt more in control of my desires than I did after reading that article and meeting Hugh. He is such a motivator when it comes to self publishing, and a strong advocate to get off your can and write. I’ve heard the saying many times: You cannot win the lottery unless you buy a ticket. I think Hugh has a similar message. You cannot publish a novel unless you write it. Not his words, but that is the gist of what my take-away from him is.
March, April and May just kind of sputtered along. I wrote just about every day through that span, but not really accomplishing much. I was not writing story, but simply journaling. I had a plan though, and I think it worked. I told myself that I needed to get into the habit of writing every day, whether I felt like it or not. I started that mantra in the middle of April, and held strong until mid September. I didn’t miss a day through that span. Once September come, I was knee deep in my editing that I took a break from the daily writing exercise, and I am OK with it. I plan on starting up on January 1st, and seeing how far I can make it by writing every single day next year.
When June rolled along, we all were off for an Alaskan Cruise. Even though we were on a boat for nearly 2 weeks, my daily writing continued. Having the total relaxation of being on vacation worked well with the words coming out of my mind. That was the last 2 weeks of June, and I could feel something inside me was changing. I just had no idea what it was just yet. Taking a long trip like that certainly has a way of making one think about their own life, and how they live it. Until then, we all live day to day, not really planning that far in advance. Taking the time to evaluate things in our lives is something that is needed frequently.
July 4th has mos often been spent at a friends house, and 2013 was no different. He lives up against the foothills just south of us, and it is always a good time shooting off Potato Guns and eating BBQ. The weekend after the BBQ, my mind was still set in self reflection. I had came to the understanding of what Hugh was saying on his blog and in any of the multiple interviews he’s given. I heard the words back in March, but it wasn’t until July did I understand them. I had been writing daily for months by then, but they were just words on a page that meant nothing. On July 6th, I set the goal to publish my first book by my birthday in September. Hell, it was July 6th, and my birthday was on September 21st – 77 days away. I had a number of story ideas that were half started, and it wouldn’t take much to get any one of them up to speed in that time frame. All I knew was I finally set a goal, and I somehow knew I would stick to it. I felt a change inside me that is difficult to describe. But, I knew it was there.
August passed by with me writing daily, but more on story than in my journal. Sure, I still wrote there, but I was working towards my goal. Some troubling news was coming up though, as my mother was in and out of the hospital a lot. My mother was a strong woman, and I knew it had to be something serious for her to be in the hospital. I remained hopeful that she would get better and live would move along. I wish I had that time back. I would have handled things so differently.
Most of September carried along much like August did. Writing daily, and working towards my goal. My mother spent more days in the hospital than she did out. She had a highly specialized surgery to repair an Aorta that was about to rupture, and then spend a few weeks in a rehab hospital. We only visited her once in the rehab place, as she was feeling much better and recovery was on the right path. She was released from the rehab place around the 18th, the same day I published my first book. But after being home for just a day, she was taken back to the hospital because of some complications. She died that night, on September 19th. She was 66 years young. When we first went to visit her in the hospital, the first thing she asked me was about my book. She was very excited for me to have such a dream. I only wish I would have started earlier, so that she could have lived to see me actually published. The timing was not quite right. I have no regrets though. I made my goal, and I stuck with it and published by my birthday. I only wished I spent more time with her before her passing.Along the same timeline in September, I submitted my first short story for publication in an anthology, and it was accepted.
After the hellish September ended up being, I vowed to take a break from Linear Shift, and work on something else for a while. But, sales for Part 1 were pretty good, and I was motivated to move right into Part 2. I started working on an outline and started actual writing on October 6th. I had not been writing daily for several weeks now, and I sort of lost that rhythm I had built up earlier in the year. September was a very stressful month, and something had to give. Regardless, I pushed as hard as I could, and finished writing Part 2 my November 6th. Exactly 30 days after starting.
Throughout November, I did a number of rewrites and also took a trip to NYC, which I had never been. LOVE the city. Want to go back. I also submitted two more short stories for a new anthology, and they were both accepted. I received final edits back from Amy on November 30th for Linear Shift, Part 2.
December was spent picking up all of her edits and rewriting a few chapters. I pushed through, as my goal was initially December 6th, which continued to get pushed back. I ended up publishing on December 24th, just a few days ago!
To recap the events of 2013, I wrote a bunch. I published 2 books, and 3 short stories. My mother died, and my life changed. I suppose you could have skipped all that wordy crap above and read the last paragraph. Throughout the year, I have made a number of new friends in the writing world. Michael Bunker, Jason Gurley, Patrice Fitzgerald, and Will Swardstrom to name a few.