I thought it good to take the last post of 2017 and look back at where I’ve been, what I’ve accomplished, and a peek forward into 2018 to set goals. So settle in and I’ll give you a bit of a wrap up before staking out where I will find myself at the end of the next year.
In February, I took on a new role at work. It took me out of the field and into a series of different challenges. So far, so good. The position I’ve had since forces me into a constant problem solving mindset within the security field. Nothing is perfect, but it is far better than what I was doing. Plus I don’t have to work outside in the heat or freezing temperatures anymore. Anyone who has shared that Midwestern horror knows exactly what I’m talking about.
The early part of the year we’d settled on improving our home life by buying a new house. As I’ve talked at great length about here, the old domicile was filled with memories (good and bad) but it was also FILLED. Space was at a premium and there wasn’t a bag of holding or Tardis nearby to create more space out of thin air. We had to sell the house and buy a new one, but there was a tiny event we had to coordinate first. The wedding!
In July, Emalee and I were married. Easily the happiest day of my life to date, but also bittersweet in a way. There were people who couldn’t make it, and their presence was missed for sure, but more to the point, I felt like it flew by. If I could have, I would have stretched time like a ball of silly putty, and drawn out so many of those moments to last longer. It was just another reminder that you have to steep your mind in those moments, let the thoughts and emotions ferment so you can enjoy them as often as you have free time.
Once the wedding was over the race to finish the house began, something I give credit to my wife for putting up with. All the new presents and cards were safely tucked away and we began the final five projects to bring the old place into a sharper image. Once it was on the market, it took a mere eleven days to receive an offer, which we happily accepted. I’d weathered the housing market crash of 2007 and come out on the other side gasping for the tiny bit of air. My first experience selling wasn’t a perfect one, but our realtor was perfect for what we needed. She showed us a house we’d already seen online and passed. It soon became the house we put an offer in on – they accepted in less than an hour. We were finally moving!
Just last month a cadre of our friends and family helped us move into the new house. Boxes ruled our domain for a few weeks, but we’ve settled most things into place. And that’s the best part of this new house – all the space! We have a great new house which I am unendingly thankful for. Soon we’ll have a housewarming party (hopefully when the weather isn’t so Hoth-like) and get a chance to show it off to a few more people. The holiday season this year has been great, except for the news that my grandmother is suffering from advanced dementia. It’s robbed her of any comfort or security and now she’s refusing to leave the care facility for any reason. I missed her at Christmas, but at her advanced age I’m not sure what more can be done.
Life is cruel sometimes. There’s nothing I can do about what’s happened to her or the illusions she sees now. I have my memories of her and those are what I’ll hold onto as the new year approaches.
So what of this new year? What’s 2018 got in store for me?
I have a lot to learn. I concede openly that I don’t know enough about the business side of what my end goal (professional full-time Author) is. I think I know some things. I’ve already acknowledged that I don’t have the time to know everything, because let’s face it, with wife, kids, day job, and all the writing I should be doing when I’m not, I don’t have the time to learn everything about the business. What I can do though is get my brain cranking on some of that knowledge while keeping up with all the rest of my life. This year is about learning and that means finding people who are more knowledgeable about what it means to get to the milestone I want and bleed them dry of information.
This also means finding representation. The right agent can put your book in front of the right people, but they can’t type the words for you. I’m looking for an agent who communicates, who wants to work with a client, but trusts me to do the work. From everything I’ve read it can be a tricky balancing act, which is why connecting with the right one is critical.
I’ll be going to conferences. Yes those. I’ll head off to meet more writers and talk about the craft of writing (sans Turtleneck) because the craft part is important. I’ve already tripled my collection of craft books and I’m betting that more will make their way into my greedy grasp. This is all happening ahead of a BIG event in the summer where I’ll be pitching my new book to an agent in person.
Public speaking doesn’t bother me, so unlike many writers who are classic introverts, I don’t fall into the trap of worrying over not being able to say anything. My problem will stem from saying too much, which must be tamed into saying the right amount of the right words. I’ve already experienced rejection in both personal and the business world, so that won’t get me down, but this new novel has been in the works now for over a year. I feel it has a chance to catch on, so my mission this year is to learn and then act on what I’ve learned. But before any pitch can be made, the manuscript must be finished.
*insert screaming and whisky*
Yep I’ve gotta finish the job on this one. I won’t turn in half done work, because at this point in my writing life I cannot afford to. That means much of the learning I’ll do over this year will be pointed back at the manuscript to form it into something worth reading by a decision maker. It’s both exciting and terrifying if you drip both into glass and sip from it for a few years.
Beyond the writer’s part of my life, we have projects around the new house which will require my attention, but I’m sticking true to my promise to Em. No large scale projects the first year here. Putting the old house on the market took tons of time and energy out of both of us. We deserve a quieter year, one filled with fun and friends. The nicest part of this new house is that is plays right into that ideal. I’m already eyeing the basement remodel, but I’ve accepted that it has to wait until we’re ready.
If you read this space regularly you know how much I love writing. The act of creation is very important to me. Taking something from nothing, fomenting it in my mind, and then assaulting the world with what I’ve created. For me this new year is very internal. Contemplative and almost secret.
I hope 2018 becomes everything you wish it to be. I hope your dreams come true. I hope you see a more peaceful and just world around you. I hope you catch the dream you’ve been chasing and refuse to let it go. You deserve that. We all do.
Until next year, safe travels and don’t forget to look deeper than the surface. You made it through 2017. Learn something from that and thrive in 2018.