Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 in Review

I'm doing my "year in review" post today because I think I'm going to do something fun tomorrow. Today is a "work" day, but I've declared tomorrow a holiday (because part of the fun of being your own boss is being able to set your own holiday schedule).

This has been kind of a weird, mixed year for me. It's already something of a blur. There weren't any major highs, but also no major lows. It was more of a hunker down and get through it year. Work-wise, I didn't sell a book, leaving me to go into the new year essentially unemployed. But I did sell two magazine articles (that the magazines approached me about writing, which is nice) and I got the contract (and payment!) for the movie option deal that was negotiated last year. The book that was released this year has done pretty well. In its first year of release it has sold better than the other books did in their first years, aside from the second book that got a boost by being sold in Target. I wrote an entire first draft of a book, revised another book a couple of times and developed a proposal for an entirely new project. I went to my first-ever Worldcon and loved it (and made a few new friends). I also went to the Nebula Awards weekend, where I got to hang out as a peer with the people who are responsible for much of the contents of my bookcase.

On the personal side, I made a step toward a couple of my perennial New Year's resolutions by getting into a ballet class. I think that gives me some credit on the "get a life" front as well as helping me move somewhat toward getting in shape. My house is still a disorganized mess, though. I got back into choir. And I bought a new car!

I read more than 100 books this year (I think I'm at around 115, but I'd have to check my list and add the books I've read in the past week). I think my favorite book of the year was The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice. I re-read it over Christmas and still loved it, so I think I'm going to buy a keeper copy. It's sort of a comfort-food book for me that I can see myself re-reading repeatedly. I also discovered mystery writer Rhys Bowen, thanks to blog reader recommendations. My favorite fantasy books that I read this year were just about all for children or young adults. I don't know if that says more about the state of the publishing business or about my maturity level.

I barely saw any movies this year that weren't on HBO. Favorites for the year were Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and WALL-E. I can't think of one I saw on HBO that really got under my skin to the point I ended up buying the DVD after watching it repeatedly. I think the only TV show I started watching this year and stuck with (until my parents hooked me on NCIS last week) may be Leverage. Otherwise, everything I'm watching was a returning series. I guess there was True Blood on HBO, but I'm still not sure if I actually liked it.

For next year, I do want to work on getting in shape, exercising more than just at ballet class (so I can get through the class without being winded). I have a grand plan, broken down into tiny steps, for getting my house in order, and I've already started on that. I also have a writing plan based on productivity. I won't have a book coming out next year, aside from an essay in another pop culture book and the paperback release of that Judy Blume book. Because of the work I did this year, I've got two projects that will be going out on submission right after the holidays, so it's possible that I will be "employed" again early in the year. It does make it hard to plan for the future when things could change so soon -- or not change. For instance, there's a conference in New York in March that I want to go to, and the "early bird" deadline for registering is tomorrow, but I've been hesitating as I don't know what my money situation will be or if I'll have any editors to meet with while I'm there. But there's also a good chance that I'll have new editors I'll need to meet with by then. I have a new story idea I want to play with, but I don't know what I'll need to be writing next year, if I'll be writing the rest of the book I've proposed or sequels to books I've written or if I'll need to develop a new project. It's both unsettling and exciting to know that my entire year could be changed by what happens in the next couple of months.

So, that's where I stand as this year comes to a close. Now I have a few little business things I have to deal with before I can start my New Year's holiday.

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