What to say about this year that other, better writers have not already said? Still, I might as well try. Like most, it’s been a year of ups and downs for me, professionally and otherwise. A professional partnership ended unexpectedly, but new opportunities arose and my career continued on much as it has for the past decade. I managed to write two books, despite (gestures vaguely at the world) everything, as well as a handful of short stories. I had four books on the shelves this year. I made some new contacts, got some new contracts, did some interviews and had some revelations.
I did some soul-searching as well, concerning my continuing issues with work/life balance. Anyone who’s been following me for any length of time knows that I’m a workaholic – an addict of productivity. If I’m not working I tend to…wind down. When I am working, I vanish into my own head for days at a time.
This issue has hounded me for a long time – since I got my first job. I live to work, and work to live. I work even when I’m supposed to be on vacation. If we’ve ever talked in person, rest assured that I was almost certainly writing something in my head at the same time. I write when I’m awake, when I’m asleep, while eating. I don’t know how to relax – never have.
It’s not a healthy way to live, and though I’ve made some improvements in regards to exercise and food – for instance, I’ve lost around twenty pounds this year, putting me at the slimmest I’ve been, well, ever – I still tend to get too wrapped up in work to function like anything approaching a normal human being.
I know that authors I admire have had similar problems, resulting substance abuse issues, failed marriages and worse – bleeding onto the page is a common cause of death, in this profession. Thankfully, I have no intention of following their examples. One of the reasons I changed the way I approached this blog was due to these issues. I also scaled back my professional writing this year, turning down a number of opportunities I might otherwise have jumped at, in order to spend more time with my family. I intend to do the same going forward into 2021. Or at least I intend to try.
A new year, a fresh start. But the same old hounds are on my trail. They always will be. But the distance between us is growing.