At the start of every new year for the last four years or so, I've said to myself: "This will be it. This year, I'm going to break out, break through, whatever it takes. I'm on my way." And every year that has passed, I've realized that all I'm doing is giving myself a pep talk just to keep moving. The book industry is by and large not designed for those who value or demand instant gratification. In many ways, it's like The Shawshank Redemption. We chisel little by little through that stone wall for years, taking all sorts of lumps along the way but also learning valuable lessons. Then we wade our way through a whole bunch of shit before coming out on the other side to the swell of a beautiful score that reflects the culmination of years upon years of toil. Of course, with writing, sometimes we get our charter boat in Zihuatanejo and most times we find there is another wall waiting for our rock hammer.
This past year, I made a number of accomplishments. I published a couple of short stories and wrote a few more that I'm trying to get out into markets right now. I completed two novels and started a third joint project with a friend. I had some lucrative (and insanity-inducing) editing contracts, and I received a partial manuscript request from Nathan Bransford (which he ultimately rejected, but I'll remember that request for the rest of my life). So the year has been sprinkled pretty evenly with moments of writers' ecstasy, which were very welcome given how tough this year has been overall.
I'm continuing to work and write, setting myself up for a big writer's conference in Colorado Springs next year where I'll actually get to rub elbows with industry folk in the hopes that one of them might just see some promise in my work. So maybe, just maybe, the little pep talk I'm sure to give myself on January 1st will have an edge of truth to it. 2011 may just be my year. Or maybe 2012, since even if someone does buy one of my books next year, it will likely be another year before it hits the shelves.
Baby steps. Agonizingly slow baby steps...
Next year, I'd like to complete four books, three of which are already in progress. I have Archer's Velvet, The Oilman's Daughter, and The Last Supper (complete rewrite) waiting in the wings. I also have an idea for a "punk-like" science-fiction book that I'm tentatively calling, Native Alien.
And of course, the goal is to try and get a few more short works published. What a long slog that is, though.
Overall, my goal is to continue to find little lily pads of peace amid waters that grow murkier and more hostile with every passing year, to discover little diverticular pockets of joy in the steadily-rotting colon that is American civilization. I will read more books. I will continue to find new and bold fascinations to explore. I will add more facets to my multifacetedness. However, I will not try haggis, no matter how much you pay me.