Monday, December 31, 2007

The Year in Review

So, it's the time of year for looking back at the year and looking ahead at the future. I sometimes jokingly refer to this as my annual employee review.

This was a really strange year marked by a lot of ups and downs. On the down side, my publisher pretty much dropped me. On the up side, one of my books was optioned by a major studio. I don't have much to show for the year, work-wise, as I didn't complete a book in 2007. I did some revisions on a book I wrote the year before, and I wrote a first draft (and second draft) that I'm now significantly revising and that won't be done until 2008. Otherwise, I seemed to make a lot of false starts on books, writing proposals that went nowhere or that I lost interest in.

What was I doing with my time if I wasn't writing? Well, I went to three writing conferences and seven sf conventions. I did five booksignings that weren't part of some conference or convention. I spoke at three libraries. I did three newspaper interviews. I also had a record number (for me) of books published. In addition to the one novel, I had essays in four non-fiction books.

On the personal side, I got out of the house more often. I took that voice class that forced me to sing in front of people. I developed something resembling a social life, getting out and going to events where other people were or doing things with friends (I'm even going to a party tonight). I saw my long-distance friends a couple of times this year and managed to reconnect with some old friends, one going all the way back to fourth grade. No love life to speak of, but I haven't really been looking. I'm happy being single, but I'm open to that changing if the right person comes along (yes, I'm still sighing over the weekend anchorman, who did not see my picture in the newspaper and decide he had to meet me).

My crystal ball for 2008 is really hazy because I'm in a position where just about anything can happen. I know I have the one novel coming out and very likely a piece in a non-fiction book. I'm working on a book my agent has high hopes for, if I can pull off some writing that does the idea justice. That means it could be a huge year for me -- I could get a big deal with this book and relaunch my career, and when the writers' strike ends they might move forward with the Enchanted, Inc. movie. Or it could be another tough year in which I have to keep going back to the drawing board to create a new project a publisher might be interested in and nothing might come of the movie option. Or it could be somewhere in between.

But the only thing I can control is what I do, so for the year ahead I'm planning to dig in and focus on writing. To help get my "mojo" back after all those flailing proposals, I want to try writing complete manuscripts for a while, even if the whole manuscript is a really rough draft and I only revise and polish the first few chapters to create a proposal. I know that one of my weaknesses is getting impatient and skimming over things, so I want to work on really digging into each scene to make the most of it.

As I said a couple of weeks ago, I'm planning to pull back some on my promotional work because it's not getting such great results and it's taking time away from writing. Mom did point out that I can't really say that the promotional work was a waste of time when the book I promoted the most sold the worst because the promotional work mostly sold the first book and got people into the series. Which is true, as that first book is still selling pretty steadily. But I have reached the point where I'd rather focus on the next steps than on getting people into a series that the publisher considers to be over. My main plan is to become successful elsewhere and then get it all republished the right way. Doing that means writing something that can become successful elsewhere.

I have the usual resolutions that carry over from year to year, like exercising more and cleaning my house. I think I'm going to get back into choir, since I kind of got drafted. I'd like to do some travel that isn't for work. I've been itching for another trip to England. I bought a new cookbook for one-pot meals yesterday, so I may try inserting more variety into my menu. I may even get really wild and crazy and invite someone over for dinner. I want to try to manage my time better, since I'm really good at goofing off when I'm supposed to be working and not so good at managing to take real time off to go do something away from the computer. I hope to get a new car, and I have some things that need to be done with the house if I get enough money.

But for now, I need a snack and then need to start getting ready for this evening. I have a little more than an hour before I need to be more or less ready.

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