Bounding into the 2020s

I’m not big into resolutions, but I do love data. It likely has nothing to do with my astrological sign, but I’ve always been very dual-minded about writing and creativity: I’m simultaneously a dreamer, a creative, a weirdo, and a cold analyst. I need both sides. Gemini, as it were.

There are a lot of ways I could categorize my last decade. I started publishing, after all, just at the beginning of the aughts. I started meeting other writers, started making connections, started planning… I found a tribe. I got lots of rejections, but had some pretty sweet triumphs, too. I worked with big wigs and little fish alike and learned a great deal.

Ultimately, on paper, it’s about two dozen short stories, four novellas, one non-fiction book, two novels, and a poem or two. Plus a couple dozen book cover designs. You can see some of that on my bio page, which isn’t entirely up to date…

I am most proud, honestly, that I kept writing. That I kept learning new ways to write, to adapt to my very, very unpredictable life. I began the 2010s in what I thought was my dream job, and hit a major goal: I published my first novel by the time I was 30. Those data points look good on paper, but the truth was that I ended up serving as our breadwinner in the family (not through writing) shortly after and really didn’t fall into any semblance of a writing groove until 2017 or so. Sure, I wrote things now and again — mostly RPG-related work, or short stories in anthologies — but the novels that took up the bulk of this decade (Glassmere and Gods of Londinium) were like swimming through molasses. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give up. How many times it felt so ridiculous — that I felt so ridiculous!

Now, poised on the edge of the 2020s, I’ve just finished a novella trilogy that I adore and am tremendously proud of, and have two novels (Cinderglow and The Maelstrom) within a few months of completion. For the first time in seven years, I even “won” NaNoWriMo.

I kept writing. In spite of everything. I kept writing. In spite of breaks, and breakdowns, and bouts of absolute crippling doubt. In spite of not writing for a very long time. I learned to move through the not writing. I filled up my cup with hiking and running and reading and making friends and baking and music and building a home.

That’s all I wish for you. That you are kind to yourself. That you keep writing if that’s what you need. But that if you need to take a break that you give yourself room to breathe. That you forgive yourself. That you wait for the right time.

Goals and deadlines are great things. But accomplishments are hollow without self-reflection and self-preservation.

I have learned, personally, that I am always writing. It’s just not always on paper.

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