Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Stealing The Learning Year Label, Swamp Zombies, and Goals

I saw an author who posted about this year being a learning year for her. I liked that statement enough to run like a thief and use it for myself. We started watching The Walking Dead, and in season two when they're on the farm, the zombies would wander into the swamp and get stuck. It was pretty funny. If you've seen the show, you get it. If you haven't, then picture them standing there, wanting to get out and eat you but not having a clue how to do that. So they stand there and growl, and wave their arms, and drool. It's pretty gross and funny.

That was me in 2013 only I didn't drool or want to eat people. I was stuck in a writing bog and couldn't get out no matter what I tried. And I tried. The idea of a learning year gives me a handhold to help me out of the bog for 2014. I don't seem like such a failure despite being knee-deep in muck and mire. I'm not a zombie, so therefore, I can escape if I look for the path out.

This year--2013--was my learning year. And I'm going to share some of my muck and mire with you so I can start digging out.

In 2012 I wrote 3 full-length books, 3 novellas over 20K words and 1 under 20K. I started a fourth novel and made it to 70K words. I wrote over 560,000 words combined. All but one of those books released in 2012, which was exciting and awesome.

Then...I hit the muck and got stuck. It wasn't immediate. It was me being surrounded by sticky stuff, sometimes dumped unceremoniously by a dump truck. Sometimes, it was spread stealthily when I wasn't looking. It didn't happen overnight. It took about six months to catch up to me.

2012 was a hard year, in and around all of that writing. I lost a job in June I had loved and it was like losing an entire family. The next week I lost a client for another job (I was working with an elderly couple who were the perfect romance couple. Someday, when it doesn't hurt, I will blog about it. But they meant the world to me. I had really grown attached to them.) I lost my dad two weeks later. I grieved, and wrote a book. In the fall, I hunted for jobs all fall and got turned away. It was a pretty crappy year.

2013 was better in that no one died. I know I turned to my writing then to hide from the pain I felt and I still feel. I think 2013 was my year to finally start dealing with some of this. I hid for a lot of the year, but finally...I'm starting to see how I got stuck, and how I can get out of it.

The last pile of muck didn't help at all. With a little success comes criticism. In November 2012 the reviews started rolling in for what I had written. Lots of good ones from people who love the worlds I built and the characters I created. I cherish them. I know not everyone can love what you create but some people are really cruel with their words. They feel they bought it and they can trash it all they want. I agree on some level because yes, you bought it, you have a right to not like it. I also learned as a child that if you had nothing nice to say, to not go there. There are ways to say how you feel about a book without demoralizing and ripping out the soul of an author. They tell us to grow a thick skin... It only grows so thick, no matter how hard you try. My goal for 2014 is to read less of them, good or bad.

That's my blog about my bog, folks. That's where I've been stuck. I don't want to be stuck there any longer, so I'm going to make 2014 be the year I climb out like a swamp monster and go back to my writing and my life. It's going to be scary, but I hope what I've learned will help me keep from falling back into the pit. Don't worry--no brains will be eaten. I am hoping books will be written, though.

Thank You...
I want to thank my readers and my friends for the support, for believing, for reading and loving what I create. I promise to write for you in 2014.

There are a few special friends who get hugs and kisses for holding me together during 2013. I don't want to start naming names and leave someone out and have them feel hurt... You know who you are. Thank you.

Thanks for all who come to the blog. I hope you enjoy it. I'm going to scale back for 2014, but in return you'll get more books. I think that's a good pay out.

I want to thank my editor for believing in me, for talking me off the ledge, and for being my biggest cheerleader. Thank you, Diana.

Mia's Goals for 2014. 
I didn't make a goal for 2013 because I was afraid. I knew 560,000 words was remarkable. The books seemed to flow out of my fingers seamlessly and easily. I had no clue why and I didn't want to take it for granted. So I didn't make myself a goal. Maybe I knew then I was depressed and I wasn't going to get far in 2013, so why make it worse? I don't know.

I know for 2014, I'm going to have to set myself some goals. I need to learn from 2013 and move forward. 

1) Most important goal: Finish the book I have 70,000 on. I had a breakthrough on the plot so now I need to give it the chance to be read. I have to finish it first.

2) Other projects: Finish the novella I have for Spy Games. Consider writing the last idea I have for it. Consider the next project. I want to write about cowboys so I finally get a horse on my cover. 2014 will be the year of the horse cover. I know it.

3) Have less blog guests. A friend pointed out how much time I'm stealing from my writing by assembling posts for this blog. I'll continue blogging to keep me writing and honest, but guest posts are not going to be a priority.

4) Spend less time on Facebook and other social media. It's both a blessing and a curse. I need to manage this more effectively.

5) Believe in my fans and friends, and my editor. They love what I write and I need to go back to writing my stories for them.

6) Finally...believe in myself as an author, friend and person. This is the hardest goal.


For the last time in 2013, thank you for stopping by.
If you drink tonight, please don't drive. 


Cheryl M said...

You're not alone. We all get stuck in some sort of mire. It's how we individually respond to it that matters. I no longer make resolutions ... too much pressure to keep something that might prove impossible for me to do. I try to set reasonable, more attainable goals. A big shout-out to NANO for a lesson well learned. I may never publish a book, but I have learned to write every day and can now produce 50k words in a month's time. An impressive feat, if I do say so myself.

I am one of your loyal fans, love the stories you weave and the characters that fill them. Cannot wait to see what springs from your imagination & muse in 2014. Looking to be a good year all around. :)

Kaylyn D said...

2014 will be your year! Go Mia go! Thank you for sharing!

Nona Raines said...

Hi, Mia, 2013 was a learning year for me, too, in a different way. I think your plans to cut down on things that distract you from your writing is a good idea. Having 70,000 words written is an awesome accomplishment! I know you'll plow through the rest of it in 2014 and I can't wait to read the results!

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