Just sitting here thinking about writing this blog post has been giving me a panic attack, and I’m considering why I’m trying to write it in the first place. But at the same time, I feel like this is something I need to do if I’m going to leave a shitty year behind me and move forward to something better in the 12 months to come…
Or something like that.
Let’s face it- 2020 sucked. In so many ways. And for some people worse than others, and I’m not here to go on about who deserves to be more upset about how 2020 turned out. I just want us all to agree we all handled things differently, experienced things in our own way, and have had to move forward with them however we can do best for ourselves.
Saying that, I’m writing this post as a personal therapy. I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad for me or to find fault in what I did or what I should have done better, or to tell me that I don’t have a reason to be depressed or upset or relieved that it’s over. A subtle reminder that this is my blog, and my site, and I’m going to take this minute away from my shameless self-promotion for a real talk. And if my… 69 (!!!) followers have issue with that, I am in no way keeping you here.
Now, moving on…
As I do every time the year changes over, I was looking through my old planner, skimming through the year that was one final time before I put it away and move on. And wow… January MB was so full of promise and hope. She had a page full of pending and potential projects that she was so excited to see taking off throughout the year.
I wish I could go back and tell her to reel it in because, oh boy, let’s give it a few months and see how much promise and hope you have left after that.
My husband and I were able to get to New Orleans in January, which was a bucket list item for us. It was a fantastic trip and I’m so glad we were able to go before the world turned to shit. The other side of this was my family and I were planning a trip to Disney World in November, and the notes I have from our planning meeting are like a stab through the heart. All I wanted was to make my own Star Wars Lightsaber…
Boston shut down March 16. My husband was able to work remotely but I’m considered an ‘essential’ employee so I have had to continue to work in office every day since. We have done our best to make it work trying to managed our parental responsibilities with our child’s schoolwork and our own professional obligations, which meant anything ancillary (ie. my writing) was pushed aside until a better time.
But I still don’t think that time ever arrived.
In January I had lost a publishing deal on LADY MUTINY when the publisher decided it was going to close its doors (only to reopen them once everyone was gone). It was a struggle only because there was such a ridiculous limbo with this project and the writing if the failed endeavor was on the wall for some time, we were just waiting for the rights to be released. Not to mention, this project was just meh and okay to me, perhaps because I knew I had something better coming…
CUT TO THE BONE was the project of my heart, and I don’t know why I attached myself to it so much. Maybe because I saw how much further my writing had come since The Empire Saga and I knew this story had the potential to be more marketable than the others. And it was. And I finally was getting somewhere with it, and I had options, and I chose to go with a publisher I felt deeply about, who I had worked with in the past through other anthologies, and who I knew had authors that supported their company 100%- after the experiences I had had in the past, I wasn’t going to allow myself to get burned again.
But all appearances can be deceiving.
I announced CUT TO THE BONE had been acquired in March. By July the company had disintegrated to dust, leaving all of its authors abandoned. Already in the middle of the pandemic, I was destroyed. And when I didn’t think I could feel any lower, any efforts I made with my already established connections refused to reconsider CUT TO THE BONE. No queries were answered, no pitches accepted. The story of my heart- and my heart itself- was shattered, leaving me a husk of creativity. All of my attention had been devoted to this project and I had nothing else in me to move on to anything new. For the first time I allowed contracted obligations to drop and I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy anything I already had being published.
I just didn’t care anymore.
I feel as though I’ve been going through the motions ever since.
I had released a novella in February, an anthology in March, a co-written book and two box sets in July, a novel in August, and another anthology in December.
It all remains a blur.
But this year will be different. And not just because it’s no longer 2020. I’m entering it with new and realistic expectation. I enter it not with a hopeful outlook, but with the intent to survive. I’m sure that sounds far more dramatic than I intend it to be, but I only mean that I want to get by with the least amount of stress, and the most self-care and self-preservation possible.
Does this mean I won’t be putting myself out there more than absolutely necessary?
Does this mean I’ll be spending more time caring for myself and my family, even if that means watching more TV, reading more books, and playing more video games?
You better believe it.
So however you survived 2020, and however you’re looking forward to getting through 2021, remember we’re all still in this together, and you don’t have to go through any of it alone.
I know I’m not.