At the risk of repeating myself… you’ve been a year.
The older I get, the more individual years tend to blur together. As a child, every year felt different and new. As an adult, it often feels like one single strand of time, occasionally dotted with holidays and vacations.
In many ways, you were a lot like 2018, which was, in itself, quite similar to 2017. Yes, this is the end of a decade, but from ten thousand feet up, certain themes tend to repeat themselves on the global and political stages. A lot of those themes have sucked lately. It’s enough to drive someone to drink.
Thankfully, we don’t spend our lives ten thousand feet in the air. (Well, except for pilots and flight attendants, I suppose.) Down at the street level, looking at the people and places around me, I can say there was a lot of good, personal and professional, to distinguish you from previous years.
There were more than a few false starts and dead end tangents too, but that’s life.
So here’s to you, 2019.
The Year That Was
When January rolled around, I had nothing but optimism. After the chaos of 2018, you represented a fresh start and a chance to buckle down, to put my nose to the grindstone, and… well, lots of other expressions that basically all mean get shit done. For the first time in my life, I decided to make a few resolutions. I even decided to make them public, because what could possibly go wrong?
(I’ll get back to that in a second. After all, it’s always good to end on a laugh.)
In late February, our new house was finally “finished”, and we moved for the third time in roughly four years1. Ten months later, our punch-list of needed repairs is finally almost empty. We love both our neighborhood and our house and feel incredibly fortunate to live here.
After three years, I’m still2 finding my way in this blog non-business, but I did manage thirty posts this year, which is half again what I had in 2018. There were no new short stories3, but I did share a few poems. I also (mostly) stuck to my monthly posting schedule. Site traffic has been on a steady uptick all year, with a noticeable spike around the launch of See These Bones. With two books (and hopefully a new short) next year, there should be no shortage of activity on the site.
My big news on the professional front was, of course, the aforementioned launch of See These Bones. I’ve already talked about that launch at length in prior posts, but would be remiss if I said goodbye without acknowledging the simple fact that, six long years after I started this fiction-writing journey, I actually published a freaking book. And people even liked it4!
Of course, having something for readers to buy and hopefully enjoy on Amazon was just one of my many goals for the year. So how did I do on the rest of them? Results were… mixed.
9 Indicators that Chris Cannot Predict the Future.
In case you’ve already forgotten, 20195, here are those writing goals, presented once again in all their vastly unattainable glory:
Goal: Figure out the difference between goals and resolutions
Result: Fail. It’s all still a mystery, man. One day, I can only hope the universe will see fit to share its wisdom with me. I’m definitely just calling them goals in 2020 though.
Goal: Finish querying See These Bones
Result: Incomplete. I finished, I guess… but only because I decided to stop querying it. It’s hard to pat myself on the back for that one, even if it was the right decision.
Goal: Complete the rewrite of Investigation, Mediation, Vindication
Result: Epic fail. Originally, I planned to be done by mid-May. Then I planned to be done by December. The new goal is by March. We’ll see.
Goal: Once IMV is done, requery it
Result: See above. The good news, both for my sanity and my publishing timelines, is that I won’t be querying it at all, but will instead just edit, edit, edit, and then launch it in the spring.
Goal: Write the first draft of Red Right Hand (the sequel to See These Bones) by the end of the year
Result: Epic Fail. I spent several months waffling between writing Red Right Hand and IMV and made very little progress on either. So this is another goal I’ve whiffed mightily on.
Goal: Get back to writing poetry
Result: Mixed. I did a pretty good job for the first few months of the year, but my productivity dwindled as the year progressed6.
Goal: Blog at least once a month
Result: Success? I think I did a pretty good job with this in 2019. I also posted twice a week leading up to the book launch, which helps pad my numbers just a bit.
Goal: Write another short story in 2019 and share it on this site
Result: Epic fail. Now that See These Bones is out, I can finally write my next short, Fire of Unknown Origin7. Unfortunately, I need to find the time to fit it in.
Goal: Have something available for purchase on Amazon by the end of the year
Result: Success! Probably the only unqualified success on this list, but it’s a big one.
To be honest, most of my plans went right out the window when I decided to self-publish See These Bones. I hadn’t allotted any time for any of the business aspects of selling a book8… and it turns out all that stuff takes a lot of work. Especially when doing it for the first time.
Between house stuff9 and book stuff, I got very, very little writing done. And that sucks. Both because I genuinely enjoy writing, and because momentum is a real thing. I’ve been basically idle, creatively speaking, for months now, and it’s bugging the hell out of me.
I guess what I’m saying, 2019, is that you’ve been a bit of a mixed bag. You started off with big plans and ended with very few words, but somewhere in the middle, you also saw the official launch of my career as an author. And that’s pretty damn great.
You were, in the end, far from just another year. I’m grateful for the good that you’ve brought to my life and for another fabulous year with the woman I love. I’m also grateful that you’re only sticking around for one more day, because I have big, big plans for 2020, and I’m anxious to get started.
So goodbye, 2019, best of luck to you wherever you go next10, and thank you.
In early January, I’ll be back with my New Year’s Writer Resolutions. Because what could go wrong (again)? In the meantime, Happy New Year, everyone!
- I put finished in quotes, because–as anyone who has bought a newly constructed house knows all too well–getting the keys is often only the first of many steps.
- More on that again, in a bit.
- If you’re one of them, I’d still love reviews on Amazon or Goodreads!
- Entirely possible, given your excessive boozing and those many, many international incidents…
- On the other hand, I did read some exceptional poetry to end the year, which sort of counts, right? Pity that none of it was mine.
- Which involves a character from See These Bones, and takes place after that book.
- Setting up a press, commissioning a cover, formatting the book myself for digital and print, finding a voice actor for the forthcoming audiobook, employing a vast array of marketing appraoches, etc.
- Seriously… having trades showing up at your house at random times several times a week for 8+ months is a bit of a distraction!
- Punch 2017 in the face when you get there, please.