Saturday, December 31, 2016

Get Thee Behind Me 2016

What a year.

I don't need to revisit much of 2016, but I'm grateful for everyone who helped me help my folks this last fall. I'm grateful for everyone who read The Cold Distance. There's more to come this year. As well, there will be more Agent of DANGER in 2017 and the final (for now) installment of Evolver.

And I'm going to be trying some different stuff here, too. I'll focus on the things I enjoy reading, watching, and listening to. I want to make sure that we're as positive as possible but I will also comment on the state of politics in Kansas and the nation. My fear of what could happen has been overwhelming at times, barely balanced with the knowledge (really, hope) that it may not be as bad as I fear.

I'm coping with the loss of my mother by remembering all the cool stuff that happened. All the dinners with friends, the new friends, the stories I had the opportunity to write for absolute strangers. Good books, good music, and good films that all transported me away from the troubles of the day.

Definitely ready to move on.

For all that 2016 was awful, 2017 doesn't have to try hard to be better. Here's my wish that it will potentially be twice what this last year was. Here's my wish that we as a people will be more loving, tolerant and inclusive. Which is a mighty tall order given the rancorous tone the last few months, but it's what I hope for.

2017 doesn't have to be the greatest year ever. But it can be.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Separation Stages

Here we are nearing the end of the year and I'm glad. It's been rough but wonderful, terrible but enlightening, long and exhausting but fulfilling and invigorating.

Like every year, it's the mix of things that make it overall good or overall bad. 2016 has been a heady mix of extremes that I'm ready to leave behind me but which I've been improved by having experienced. Let me be clear, though: I'm as ready as anyone to leave 2016 in the dust.

But that means that I have to have a plan for next year. Regular readers may be aware, my plans for this year went up in a mushroom cloud at the end of July. I could whine and cry about my failures to achieve on a number of levels but what good does that do? No, I'd rather stand up, stretch, and renew my determination to be a writer. But plans have to be flexible and relevant.

The first thing I did was make a list of the projects that are in limbo at the moment but which need to be addressed. Here's the list:

  • Three parts of a four-part novel.
  • A juvenile adventure
  • Another juvenile adventure
Those are things that I had meant to have done and out in the world or almost out in the world by this point. I also have a list of things that have arisen over the last few weeks:
  • A collaboration on a novel
  • A short story
  • Another short story
  • A novella
Which really isn't a lot (maybe?) but it's the list of things on my mind currently. The collab novel has some some big ideas and a few notes to it and the novella is last on the list because it's the newest. The short stories are about half-written but need to be revised as I've seen a different ending for both. The juvenile adventures are plotted and have extensive notes and there's nothing really holding me back from writing them. AND there's another thing floating around out there but I'm not sure it's near ready enough, or that there would be enough interest in it to pursue to completion. We'll see.

And of course none of this accounts for anything new that presents itself. Nor does it include any of the stories I sent out for projects that for whatever reason failed to materialize. Maybe they'll see the light of day, maybe they won't. 

But I'm finding some enthusiasm again. What I've learned over the last six months is that I can't write effectively while grieving. And while the grief is still with me, I'm figuring out what I'm excited about with each of these projects. I'm realizing it's okay to be enthusiastic about my writing. It's confusing but kind of a relief, I suppose.

So - with all that in mind, setting goals for 2017 is foremost on my mind. That's seven projects up there. I started counting up the words I think would be needed to accomplish all this and if I can write 150,000 words in 2017 I will come very close to my goal of completing this list.

Depending on a few things moving behind the scenes this week, I'll set priorities and get started. After I'd written all of the above, I had to revise the outline for the juvenile adventures so those may rise to the top since they are fresh but I'm confident that I'm going to be able to juggle multiple projects. I need to get back to The Cold Distance and that collaboration is sneaking back into my head.

Finally, for those of you who don't follow me on Twitter or Facebook, all my commissions going forward will support this charity, Catch A Break, which helps survivors of cancer. Because cancer doesn't just eat one's body, it eats all the money one has. All of it. These folks are pretty great and helped my parents a lot.

More later, less soon.