Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 Year in Review

I love year in review posts. They're interesting and honest. This was kind of a hard, lonely year for me and reading my friends' posts I'm realize how many of my friends also struggled through 2013. I didn't even really know. =(

One thing I try to live by is to be a protagonist in my own life. Protagonists, when given the choice between the safe but less-than-amazing path, and the risky path of their dreams, go with the latter. I tend to also do this--surprisingly enough, because in many ways I am a ridiculously sensible person. 2011 was the year Dark Metropolis was written and sold; 2012 was the year I bought my house. These were hard years in many years, but tinged with triumph!

2013 was kind of the year I sat with the ramifications of all of it. As the year opened, I was broke, thanks to various surprises that come along with moving into an old house. I hadn't had a book out in a year, and Dark Metropolis had been delayed a year. I spent the entire year either working myself half to death (some days it seriously felt like this, when I'd been spending the entire day in my computer chair)or being plastered with mental fatigue and doing nothing of worth (messing around on the internet doing...what exactly? I don't know...or watching bad TV). I worked two jobs in 2013. One of them, writing, was old hat, but very difficult. I was trying to write the Dark Metropolis sequel. I had a lot of trouble getting into the story. A lot of trouble figuring out what the story even WAS. The other job was new to me, selling antique/vintage stuff on Ebay. That job kept my financial situation from complete disaster and is actually fun too, BUT I had to figure it out quick and it occupied loads of time starting and structuring an entire business.

Basically that was the entire year. Being in debt because of the house, scrambling to make money in an immediate sense, and also trying to figure out how to write this book, with some Dark Metropolis editorial rounds thrown in as well.

I also felt deeply lonely. I can't say I've never felt that way before; in fact, it pops up pretty frequently since I was a wee thing. This was a new shade of it, was hit me that I had moved to an area of the country where I don't know a soul except the mountains and the trees and the flowers and the birds, who sang their siren song to lure me here in the first place. I thought I would be able to travel pretty frequently to DC or Baltimore and go to writing events and see friends, but since this has been a year of watching every single dime, that hasn't happened and I don't know when it will happen. I've also had a hard time keeping up with internet correspondence because of working so hard sitting at the computer all day. When work is done, the last thing I want to do is hang out on Twitter or write emails.

The last third of the year has been better. I actually got to a place with Dark Metropolis 2 where I LOVED what I was writing. I'm starting to find a time balance with my Ebay business too. Money is still a worry but things are not as dire as they were.

As I write this, I wonder why I bother to make this post. On one hand, I have no great news to impart about this year, and on the other hand, I have no great wisdom. The things I struggled with this year are things I've struggled with in the past--worrying about a contracted WIP, worrying about money, struggling to maintain friendships in a world that feels increasingly detached. Struggling with bouts of depression through which I can still function, but don't feel quite like myself, although I know exactly what I need--a day to relax, to get outside in the sunshine by day and curl up with a good book by night. I just don't feel like I have the luxury of time.

But I am going to make it anyway, because I think it's important to be honest, at least once a year, about how things are going. Some years are amazing. Other years are (to borrow a term Rachel Hawkins used, and Jessica Spotswood noted in her inspiring post (here) Learning Years. This, frankly, wasn't particularly either. It was neither the best of times nor the worst of times. It felt like a year you would leave out if you were writing a fictional account of my life. Protagonist sells book, buys dream house, and then a couple years later, insert 2014 here, perhaps?

If there is one pattern I see, looking back, one thing I wish I could whisper in my ear all the time, it is to TRUST. I am more resilient and resourceful than I ever know at the time. When a book needs to be done, somehow not only is it done but I am actually HAPPY with it, no matter the throes of agony that occurred during the writing of it. (In a few years, believe me, I'll be struggling with another book and I will BARELY REMEMBER how difficult writing the Dark Metropolis sequel was. I will look back at old emails to friends and be like, "Wha? wasn't that hard. It wasn't as hard as THIS book is.") When I needed money I was somehow able to pull an entire business out of seemingly nowhere. It seems the curse of the imaginative soul that I am so good at imagining the future. Sometimes I imagine wild success; just as often I imagine wild failure. A part of me wishes I could just stop imagining at all, but...then where would we be? Even on my struggliest days of the 2013 when I had a deadline bearing down on me and bills to pay and worries heaped on my head, I always have good food and Dade makes me laugh and the kitties make me smile. And somehow, it all works out.


  1. Dear Jaclyn,
    It does work out, somehow. Thanks for an honest post.
    All best,

  2. Thanks for reading, Caragh, and nice to see you!

  3. Thank you for posting this Jackie. I appreciate it when folks share how things are going, even if it's not earthshaking! And you are SO right about trusting yourself, and being the protag of your own life. Best of luck in 2014!

  4. (((hugs))) Here's hoping 2014 is a year of amazingness! :)

  5. I think everyone goes through times like this. It's all part of the work and time that has to be slogged through to get awesome results. While it may not feel like a Learning Year (good term!), I hope you've at least learned valuable things about yourself, your own strength, and how to deal with tough times. And here's hoping that 2014 will be a year of fireworks!

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