Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflections 2010 - The Good Stuff

Not everything about 2010 was terrible. In fact, I have had more fun this year than all the other years combined.

2010 was a year of friendship.

After several years of meeting no one but fair-weather and false friends (with some very wonderful exceptions), this year has proved me wrong about people. I am very happy that I was wrong. I had, prior to this year, abandoned the hope that humanity as a whole was any good. It sounds dramatic, I know, but I was quite finished with people.

However, the fledgling friendships and friendly acquaintances that began at the end of 2009 and the start of this year have blossomed in the most unexpected and beautiful ways. I can safely say that I now have true friends.

I find myself surrounded by such warm, positive and generous people now. I am so incredibly happy to be blessed with them in my life.

2010 was a year of firsts.

So this was also in 'The Bad Stuff' part of my reflections. Like so many terrible things that happen, it can also be a very good thing. I sent my first query, received my first rejection and set myself firmly on the (often rocky) road to publication. How is this a good thing?

The answer is in the word 'path.' This sounds very new-agey, I'm sure, but I think I've found my path; my purpose; objective; career goal or whatever else you want to call it. There is a profound sense of peace that comes with, for lack of a better term, 'being on your path.' It provides a focus for my intense energy that was previously scattered about, pulling me every which way. Now I'm being pulled in one direction only.

Some readers may recall my profound fear of failure. I had it when I first decided to focus on writing as a career choice. I was terrified that I would fail on all fronts and die alone and starving on a bed made from broken dreams. I sometimes still get like that, but increasingly less often.

Success, the way that many would measure it, is increasingly less important to me. While I would love to successfully shop a manuscript (particularly The Great Man series), it's the act of writing that fulfils me. Being published would just be an added (extremely gratifying, will always work towards it) bonus.

I want, no, have to write, and I am. Whatever else comes of it is secondary.

So though I have "failed" thus far to successfully sell and manuscript or even acquire an agent, I have the drive necessary to get there. Every rejection received strengthens my resolve to get that 'yes.' I will get there. In the meantime, I'll continue to write and writing makes me happy. That is why, despite the rejections, the process is positive.

2010 was a year of learning.

I touched on this in the 'Bad Stuff' post, and I should clarify. No learning is ever bad... well, unless you learn to hate, but that's different. What was bad was that the learning often hurt.

All the same, learning to combat my ego, learning that I'm not that good a writer (technically, at least), learning to format correctly, learning, learning, learning has made me a better writer, self-editor and a much better person.

That is good, even if it hurts!

2010 was a year of grounding, of letting go.

For the same reasons I listed above, and though it hurt, having my ego bruised was a good thing. It happened once before, when I first moved to Australia. The spoilt brat that I was quickly learned that haughty behaviour wouldn't fly and I became a kinder, more generous, if profoundly introverted, child. Being knocked around a bit with my writing has helped me improve, if a little shy about sharing my stuff. I've had to climb down from my high and get serious.

That's a very good thing.

Better yet, I've managed to let go of the fear of failure that kept me from trying. The world didn't end with my first rejection... perhaps it might with my first acceptance!

2010 was a year of hard work!

This is also a good thing. Of course, I don't mean intense labour like construction or anything. I meant hard work sitting at my computer, getting R.S.I. for all the typing. There were several projects flying around all at once that demanded my attention. To be perfectly honest, though, it isn't really hard work if work is play, as writing is for me.

I still despise editing, however.

I created, and released an e-Book (The Dying God & Other Stories), including all the illustrations therein. Sure it wasn't a smash hit, but I never expected it to be. As of the end of this year, I've sold a total of three (3) copies. A bit disheartening, but I was, fortunately, realistic from the off. I'm not crying over it, that's for certain. I'm considering releasing a paperback version in 2011, but haven't quite decided yet.

At the same time, I was editing, and rewriting bits of, and editing more an entry into the Terry Pratchett Prize. I managed to get it in on time. How good is the entry? I don't know. Time will tell. I expect that competition is really tough and I'm not expecting a miracle (though how incredibly cool would it be to win?!). Of the hundreds (possibly thousands) of authors who entered, only six will be short-listed. Those six will be announced at the end of March, 2011. From that list, the winner will be chosen. That is announced the end of May, 2011. If I don't hear anything by April 01, I know I'm free to shop this manuscript around.

While this was going on, there was my The Great Man series that was being fixed up and changed around (since I decided not to shop it any more, I was free to muck around with it a bit). Granted, I abandoned it mostly until both The Dying God and The Osprey and the Crow (the Terry Pratchett Prize entry) were complete and in.

All of this was surprisingly hard work, but it kept me busy, and challenged, and interested. That kept my feeling fulfilled.

Fulfilled, by the by, is the best state to be in. Happy sigh.

2010 was the year of finding me.

I had said it before, I was completely lost prior to deciding on my career as a writer. Whether I'll be a published writer is up for debate, but that's for another post (I will get there!). Since that decision, things have been sliding in place piece by piece. Somewhere along the way, I found me. I'm comfortable within myself for the first time ever in my relatively short life. I can face past hurts and the causes of those hurts with a smile (and some heavy sarcasm). I feel whole, and stable, and just... good (for lack of a better word. The writer in me is shaking her head).

Ahhhh, bliss!

2010 was the year of fun!

I have had so much fun this year. I've been writing, which I find fun. There have been numerous gatherings with friends and family, filled with laughter and joy, which are always fun. Sure, there have been some pretty rough moments for me this year, but looking back, I wouldn't trade a single moment for anything. I have had fun, and I feel open and fresh and alive.

For all the tumult, the frustration, the tears, the hair-pulling and the many moments when I thought I just couldn't make it, 2010 was a wonderful year.

To all my friends and family, and to those who've helped me along this year, a colossal thank-you! It is you that have made 2010 one of the best years of my life. Here's wishing you a spectacular 2011.

I raise my glass to you all.


KuietKelticGirl said...

It's been wonderful to read through your blog. It's been a near daily thing for me to follow along. It's wonderful that you've invited us to join you on the roller coaster that is publishing, and all the things in your life that feeds into it. It's made me consider starting a blog of mine, if I ever figure out what I want to post.
I'm so happy that, despite of down times, it's been a wonderful year overall for you. Congratulations to all of your sucesses! I hope you have a Happy New Years, and I hope 2011 is even more prosperous for you.

S.M. Carrière said...

Thanks so much Karen! I'm glad you've enjoyed my blog. I surprised myself by enjoying keeping it!

A very Happy New Year to you also, and I'm hoping 2011 will bring you all the greatest blessings possible!

Swadhi said...

Great post. I really am inspired by your chronicled quest to become published. Good luck, again, in the new year! :)

S.M. Carrière said...

Thanks very much Swadhi. Many happy returns to you as well!