2016. What a year.
All over social media I see people constantly calling 2016 a terrible, horrible, really bad year. Since I mostly interact with other Americans, and this was an election year, there has definitely been more stress than most other years.
For me 2016 was a year of ups and downs. It started trending down as I abandoned the hope I had of being a full-time writer after my first two books didn’t manage to make me rich overnight. 2015 was my year of living as a writer, after being laid off with a reasonably nice separation package from my corporate job in December of 2014. In 2015 I published two books and got my Science Fiction Writers of America membership. It was a good year.
2016 started with me getting a full-time job. I was also building my “dream home” on the lake, and the expenses and delays were driving me batty. Getting up to speed on the new job meant learning new programming languages and techniques, which meant very little time for writing.
Besides having to get a day job again, I was also struggling with the final book in my War Chronicles series. Something wasn’t clicking, and I had to completely rewrite the final third of the book before I was satisfied with it. I missed my self-imposed deadlines and with a full-time job, days became weeks, and weeks became months, so that my final book came out almost a year after the second in the series, and that almost certainly killed any momentum I had built up with the first two.
But on the other hand, I did finally self-publish that third book, completing the series. So I gained a real sense of accomplishment from having an epic fantasy trilogy out in the world, getting read by real people, and collecting generally very positive reviews. Plus my audio versions came out, and did quite well, earning me almost as much in royalties as the eBooks themselves did. Which was a very nice surprise.
And now I’m working on my next book. It might take longer than I want, but finishing my first series has given me the confidence that I know how to write, that I write well enough to get good reviews, and if I can keep getting books out there, it’s just a matter of time and hard work before I climb up the ranks of writers.
So I’m not going to call 2016 a “bad year.” I’m going to call it a year where I learned some valuable lessons, developed some valuable skills, and moved into a home I designed and had built. I’m going to look at 2017 as a year that I can get settled into my new home, develop new routines and create the environment I need to be as creative as possible. None of which could have happened without going through the trials and lessons of 2016.
I won’t miss 2016, to be sure, but I won’t consider it a “bad year” and agonize over what might have been. Life is what it is, we do what we can and move on. If I use energy bemoaning what happened in 2016, that’s just that much less energy I have to make 2017 as good as I can make it.
Happy New Year to everyone.