This Year

2012 kicked my butt.

Last year around this time I was anxious to begin.  I was overdue with my first baby, and unsure how that was going to change my life, my work, my family.  I was ready to jump in and find out, and I kept having this thought: Janci, you are going to rock this year.

And I did.  But I wasn’t fully aware that it was going to rock me back.

And the strange part is, it had nothing to do with my baby.  The other day I ranked the list of things that were hardest for me this year, and my baby and all the millions of tasks that came with her was fifth.  FIFTH.  I’ll call that awesome thing number one for the year: I was blessed with an angelic and mellow child who is not all that hard to take care of.  (More about that will come in a Mommy Writer post, sometime next week.)

This year was also an awesome year in terms of work.  CHASING THE SKIP is a real book!  With a cover!  It was copy edited and line edited within the last year, and then I wait wait waited and it came out and people bought it and read it and gave it kind reviews.  In the month leading up to the release, I kept thinking, “I’ll be happy when this is over.”  And I was right.  I am happy.  Finally having a book in print feels like closure, even though I know it was really just another kind of beginning.

And then I wrote.  I finished revisions on three projects (on top of those line edits and copy edits above) and wrote a new novel and then half of another one.  (Yeah, didn’t finish in December.  Who is surprised?  Not me.  I’ll finish it.  It’s not on a deadline, so it doesn’t matter when, but right now I’m thinking February.)  Despite the prophecies of other nay-saying parents, my child did not end my ability to work.  (Even when she’s awake, much to my joy.)

I also sewed things, and took a few pictures (of things other than my kid).  I played many fewer video games this year, but only because a year in which both an Elder Scrolls game and a Borderlands game come out is a year we don’t play anything else.  I spent many, many hours exploring Skyrim.  It made me happy.  It still does.

But this was also the year of the absolute avalanche of medical bills.  We knew the maternity deductible was coming, but knowing it and seeing it are two different things.  So this was a year with two three-month stints where I honestly didn’t believe we were going to be able to make it work.  We didn’t have enough money, and we weren’t going to make it without real jobs.  We did make it, turns out, but that outcome was very far from inevitable.

This was also the year when I watched people I love go through terrifying personal crises, and could do literally nothing but listen and talk and watch.  This was the year my best friend’s little boy got diagnosed with cancer.  It was also the year he recovered.  There were other things I won’t talk about, but they were there, and they weren’t easy.

And, finally, it was the year I got somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty rejections–two from my own editor.  And no sales.  There is not yet a contract for a follow-up of any kind to CHASING THE SKIP.  And for most of the year that terrified me.

But something happened to me in October.  I let go.  And the last three months of the year, I finally figured out how to just do the things I can control, and let the rest go.  I finally figured out how to stop thinking about outcomes, and think instead about processes.  So this next year, I’m going to finish my most recent novel.  Then I’m going to finish three unpolished projects (including the book I wrote earlier this year, and the one I’m working on now) to get them ready for submission.  And if this is the year of thirty more rejections (or forty!  or eighty!), it won’t be because I didn’t do my part.  And in the end, that’s all I can ask of myself.

So the year rocked me.  And then I rocked it.  And this next year…I don’t even care.  I’m just going to live my life and parent my baby and write my books until I don’t feel like writing my books anymore.

And that’s all I have to say about that.