Setting Myself Up for the Win

2016 is going to be a huge year for me, with the release of Spells of Blood and Kin in June.  And 2014 was a huge year, too: the year I signed with my wonderful agent Connor, the year he made the sale.  A year of leveling up.

2015, then, was a bridge year in some ways: a year to consolidate my gains, to do all the work I could to make sure this next phase in my writing life will be a successful one.  Timelines in writing are very long compared to some kinds of work: even more than a year, in my case, between deal and launch.  I came to learn that it’s very useful time!  Edits, proofing, and a lot of other associated tasks took a lot of it.  And of course, other projects need to be in the pipeline–my next book, plus some short stories, although the time I’ve spent on those has dropped a lot since the novel has to take priority.

Like most working writers, I also have a day job–which is understating it a bit; I have a career which I love, and which is sometimes demanding.  Between this, family events, and cons, 2015 saw an increase in travel for me, with the result that some of my writing work ended up being done in airport lounges during the inevitable delays and layovers. (Philly has good cheese fries.  Logan has a Starbucks that sells vacuum packed olives! Reagan runs out of beer weirdly often.)

So 2015 was a year of logistics, deadlines and checklists.  It was a year of anxiety, of getting used to new and higher stakes.  But it was also a year of marvels.  These things are inextricable.  I thrive on change, and one of the ways I do this is to give myself talismans and rituals, souvenirs of the new places I end up, new hooks on which to hang my new hats.  Lots of change = lots of new meaning in my life = more change, in a wonderful upward spiral.

My rules of resolutions are that they have to be measurable, they have to be consistent with my nature so that I might actually do them, and they have to be positive (I learned that from the epic Quitting Potato Chips debacle of 1997).  With that, here are some things I resolve for 2016! 

  • As many cities as possible on my book tour!  I have no idea of the scope yet, but as dates are confirmed I will post them here.
  • A different way to support causes.  For the past few years I’ve done charity mountain bike races, which is wonderful, but difficult to fit into a heavy travel schedule.  I might volunteer for same-day support of some of these events, which would allow me to help out but without having to train in advance.  Or I might choose something I can do online/remotely.
  • A new tattoo and/or frequent nail art.  It’s really working for me to have a physical, personal talisman that I can look at often.  (If you’re wondering, the past few rounds of nail art have been Pittsburgh black-and-gold, because Pittsburgh has been my biggest and most consistent talisman this year.)
  • Keep on working with the great writing productivity suggestions from Rachel Aaron’s 2k to 10k.  Huge win so far, guys.  I don’t know how to carve out more time–but these tips are really helping me make the most of what I do have.
  • Keep on learning the world with my feet.  Some of my most shining moments this year, and many recent years, have been running or walking through the cities I visit.  Chicago’s lakeshore trails; Pittsburgh’s bridges; Boston’s fens; San Antonio’s river walk.  It’s a glorious combination of fitness, tourism and meditation, and I’m going to have some new destinations to try out this year.
  • Post more of my reading here.  I have been reading a lot of nonfiction in the last couple of years, and I’d like to talk about it more–some of it is specific research for my own writing, some is related to my job, and some is just fascinating.

There you have it, friends.  May 2016 be powerful, prosperous and fun for all of us.

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