The Year That Was

2015 wasn’t bad, all things considered. I’ve had worse years. House was moved and the north was traded for the midlands. I had an eight book contract yanked out from under me, but I still got paid, mostly. I wrote–five? Six?–books, thirty or so short stories and a handful of novellas. I even placed stories in not one, but two installments of ‘The Mammoth Book of’ series of doorstopper anthologies.

I also skirted the sharp edge of burnout, work-wise, which led to a complete collapse of my creative muscles for about three months or so. Unsurprising given that I haven’t taken more than a day off in the past three years. A smart man would have seen that as a sign to take a vacation.

Spoiler: I am not a smart man. But I’m getting smarter. So I took a long overdue break–two whole weeks–for the first time in a long time. I read, I watched movies, went for long walks, and wasted time trying to conquer medieval Europe, or at least a digital version thereof.

I hated every minute of it. I got the shakes. I needed that sweet, sweet word fix. Lesson learned? Regular days off, just one a week, so as to hopefully avoid bouts of uncontrollable twitching in the future. Baby steps.

This has also been a year of taking stock, for better or worse. Of looking at what I’ve accomplished career-wise thus far and finding it, well…unsatisfying. There are things I want to accomplish in my writing, things I need to accomplish, that I have to start working towards. Which means doing less of some things, and more of others, in the future. Or at least trying some new things.

Case in point: The Sea-Leopard. What is The Sea-Leopard, you might ask? Why, it’s the fantasy novel I’m currently writing. Why am I writing a fantasy novel? Mostly because I wanted to see if I could write one that didn’t have the words ‘Black’ or ‘Library’ attached somewhere. And lo and behold, I can. I’m currently around 78K words into the first draft, and so far it’s going well. It’s got pirates, political chicanery and divine intervention…of sorts. Is it any good? Who knows, but I will say that it’s strangely relaxing to write something without a deadline attached.

Anyway, that’s the year that was.