Running Through Writing: Year-End Review 2018 (and a look ahead at 2019)

Well, that was fast.

It feels like only a few weeks ago I was lacing up my trainers for my New Year’s Day run and feeling bittersweet about the Syzygy-themed songs on my workout playlist. But 2018 quickly accelerated to warp speed. Calendar leaves turned more quickly than pages in an engrossing novel, but a lot happened in those twelve blurry months! Let’s start with some unexpected personal achievements:

 

1.  I made career strides at my Day Job. A promotion and a new role landed me in a fresh professional landscape, ripe with opportunities. I worked my butt off on some important projects–I suspect mental burnout precipitated my August writing fugue–but overall I’m happier at work than I’ve been in years. Still rather be a full-time writer, of course, but until that becomes a financially viable option, I’m glad for a paying gig that I don’t despise. (Starving artist-hood is not for me; I can’t write when I’m hungry!)

2. After a ten-year hiatus, I finally started playing piano again. I only managed a few months of lessons before my teacher unexpectedly moved away (was I really that terrible?) but that was enough to get me back in the practice habit. My fingers, which used to tap reflexive phantom notes on the steering wheel when Debussy or Chopin came on the classical music radio station, relearned the pieces. Improvement is slow since I don’t have an hour a day to practice like I did in college, but having a creative outlet besides writing–one undertaken without judgment, purely for personal joy–has enriched my life immeasurably this year.

3. I ran like a champ. Running is both my therapy and my all-purpose story-problem solver, but I’ve never thought myself especially good at it. With the onset of some orthopedic problems, I expected my pace and stamina to decline. Instead, I slaughtered my PRs in every event I ran this year, and placed in three races. Even my training splits dropped by a full minute. Maybe my body is just going supernova, igniting in a final burst before an epic collapse. I guess we’ll find out next year. But it’s fun while it lasts!

No idea how I managed to keep writing consistently with all that going on, but I did. And despite a few rough patches, it paid off:

1. I pounded out the draft of my third novel in an unprecedented burst of summer productivity. Never has a story bled so swiftly from my fingers: 70,000 words in less than three months. Naturally, it has reclaimed that time in revision, but I like to think it represents growth in my writing process.

2. My short story won the Baltimore Science Fiction Society’s amateur writing contest. Despite having published two novels, this was a big deal for me. I struggle with writing short fiction, and this piece in particular had been rejected by all the major magazines before finding its audience at the BSFS. I look forward to doing more events with the group in 2019.

3. I got more involved in the writing community on Twitter, and connected with some great people. Weekly #JustAddTea chats, hosted by the charmingly candid Elizabeth Mays, introduced me to a host of fellow writers; SWFA champion Diane Morrison invited me to join a lively video panel on cli-fi with three other future-minded authors; and seasoned indie author Lou Cadle generously shared her wisdom with me as I worked to prepare for next year’s ambitious writing goals.

Ambitious writing goals? Oh yes. If you thought 2018 was hectic, just wait until you see what to expect from me, my blog, and my books in 2019!

1. I’m going all-in on indie authorship with my own publishing imprint! I realized that I’ve been making a lot of mistakes on the business side of writing, and this year I aim to change that. If you plan on starting a writing business, consider following my blog, since I’ll feature several posts on the launch process: trade name registration, buying ISBNs, formatting books for print, the whole publishing life cycle. Once that’s in order, I can finally take a long-awaited step in my writing career…

2. My books are coming to print! After three years of exclusively digital releases, I’m finally committing to paper and ink. An updated edition of Blue Karma boasting a whole new chapter is tentatively scheduled for March. Syzygy should arrive in July, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. And it won’t just be my previously released titles hitting a shelf near you…

3. My third novel comes out this autumn! If you like cyberpunk stories and hardboiled-detective-style narration, you’ll love Binary Chop. I’m hoping to publish it in October (official release date TBD) but if you can’t wait that long, check out these 31 fun teasers.

 

2019 promises to be an exhausting, but exciting year in my indie author adventure. I hope you’ll share it with me here on the blog, on Twitter, and of course in my stories!

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