Another year has come and gone. Having completed the second book of my Dark Lords of Epthelion fantasy series, I finished out the old year flushed with success and eager to tackle the next project. My mind teemed with images for the Dark Lords’ continuing saga, along with a slew of ideas for two new series. Inspired and revitalized, I couldn’t wait to get started. In addition, I’d finally discovered an exercise regimen I could stick with and already saw results. At last, I thought, I have my act together. Bring it on, 2014!
And so I entered the new year with my usual mix of wide-eyed anticipation and dogged resolve. I made resolutions, fully aware most of them would crash and burn like the Hindenburg within the first week and that Reason would haul me down out of the clouds with the stern admonition to spend more of my nights sleeping than writing so I could properly focus on my “real” job. But it’s a new year, a new beginning. With lots of determination and hard work, 2014 should bring even more ideas, soaring book sales, and a slim new me, bursting with energy and looking younger than I did twenty years ago!
Ever the dreamer. January 3 found me brooding and depressed. Storm clouds gathered over my tranquil garden as Reality reared her ugly head. My book does not, and perhaps never will, provide a living. (Thank heaven for the day job that puts food on my table, a roof over my head, and supports my writing habit!) And the slim, energetic new me? Last month I pored over pictures of myself fifteen years ago, when hiking and climbing in the Cascade range kept the pounds off and the waistline trim. But face it, girl: You’re older now and can’t move fast enough anymore to burn off those chocolate chip cookies like you did when you were twenty.
I had set those lofty goals with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek; yet I didn’t deserve to see them shot down like clay pigeons on a firing range. Scores of blog posts attest to the fact that writing is not the fast path to financial independence. I knew that even as I took those first faltering steps into indie publishing. Writing a book consumes a lot of time. The competition is fierce, and even after you’ve edited and rewritten, polished and refined, it’s never quite enough. Your work may never be discovered or appreciated. Only a fortunate few attain those coveted publishing contracts and six-figure advances. Self-publishing costs money that most authors likely will never recover.
So why even bother?
Because my fertile imagination explodes with plot after plot peopled with fascinating characters itching to tell me their stories. Because colorful and fantastic worlds as yet nonexistent await my creative command. Because, when I sit down at my desk with a cup of hot cocoa on a blustery winter night and put images into words, I come alive. Because I love to write!
I’ve made new resolutions, or rather, redefined the old ones. No, I can’t move as fast as I once did—but I can still move and I’m sticking with my regimen. Last week I read about a ninety-something-year-old woman who runs marathons! If she can do that, I decided, I should be able to whip myself back into good enough shape to climb Mt. Hood again. As for writing: For starters, I need to stop making unfair comparisons. After releasing Warrior Queen of Ha-Ran-Fel, I fretted and stewed while watching the ratings. I didn’t enjoy writing anymore and became so despondent I couldn’t even think. But then I realized I was comparing myself to authors I met at conferences, most of whom specialize in romance or suspense and have written several books, whereas I write sword and sorcery fantasy and just released my first book. Next: I need to develop a marketing plan and learn to use Amazon’s tools. Finally, I need to relax, enjoy my craft, continue to refine my writing style, and just turn everything over to the Lord.
Bloom where you are planted, I’ve always been told. Nature abounds with creatures that, had they any say concerning their location, would probably request a transfer. Not having that option, some die while others overcome and thrive. Those who thrive bless and beautify their world. I personally see life as a journey down an inviting path. While you don’t know what awaits you around the next bend, you look forward to it and even quicken your pace as the bend comes into view.
Some time ago I put together a collage of some of my favorite places. My photography skills need some honing (which I also intend to do this year), but the words on the glass reflect the way I viewed life then and intend to view it in 2014: Live every day to the fullest. Dance like no one is watching. Love like you have never been hurt. Sing like no one is listening. To that I would add, write as if the whole world will read your story. Give your readers your best effort; they deserve it!
I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings! And in the meantime I’ll remain. . .ever the dreamer.