So, 2013. Time to look back on it. And for the purposes of blogging, time to reflect on what was good or great about last year, and express positive hopes about the year just begun. Very important not to dwell on the bad stuff, as that would be Unprofessional and No Fun To Read, and just plain WRONG. It might get Too Personal, and nobody really wants that.
Except, I always try to tell the truth on this blog. Or at least, I always want to. I've whitewashed events or glossed over hurts for fear that it would Reveal Too Much, and Drive Readers Away. This blog's main goal is to attract new readers to my work, and to entertain and involve current readers in what I'm up to. It should not be about my personal life, unless it is to mark a positive occasion, or has something to do with my cats.
But, regardless of what I Should or Should Not say in this blog, I'm going to discuss 2013 for what it was. I suffer from Depression, so even the negative events are positives when you consider that I got through them.
So, what was 2013 for me?
It was the year I landed a decent temp assignment, one that kept the bills paid from January through to June. For the first half of the year, Violet and I had financial stability. The company I worked for liked me so much that they kept me on when one contract ended, then extended my contract two more times. I was well liked by the people I worked with... except for just one person.
It was the year I failed, yet again, to deal with a workplace bully. I stood up to that bully, which for me is huge, but that didn't make things any better. I consider this a personal failure because I wasn't able to brush off this bully's behaviour as the antics of an insecure person. I couldn't just "not be bothered" by this person. I took it personally, I felt weak, and I couldn't rise above it. I still can't.
It was the year I finally qualified for Employment Insurance! That helped tremendously, because I couldn't find any more work until just recently. Job searching continues to be a hard and painful struggle for me. EI allowed us to survive the lean summer and fall months while we dished out resume after resume into the void.
It was the year Violet graduated from George Brown College with a diploma in Graphic Design! Very, very proud of her. This is a huge step forward for her career. My parents came up from Ottawa to be there for the graduation ceremony, and took us out to dinner afterward. Splendid days!
I finished the first draft of a new novel that I feel extremely positive about. I call it I'm So Goddamn Sick of Vampires. I still have to edit it quite a bit, but it is a good story and breaks new ground for me as an author. I also wrote a couple of new short stories, continued working on a Cupid War spinoff I'd started but abandoned in 2011, began a new Doctor Who fanfiction story, and wrote the first 3rd of a new YA Horror Comedy as well.
One of those new short stories had been written specifically for an anthology, following encouragement that I interpreted as a request from the anthology's editors. They turned it down. Second time that’s happened to me. Third, actually, if you count the time a magazine asked me to rewrite a story from a different character’s point of view and then turned that version down, too. That was a kick in the balls. Nevertheless I'm proud of that story, and Violet said it was one of my best.
I wrote numerous articles for Toronto.com. It was a great experience, and gave me a new perspective on professional article writing. For one article, I interviewed two of my co-workers for information on wedding venues. It was a fun experience that I enjoyed tremendously, and the pay was decent, too!
Then, the former editor returned and made some policy changes. One such change was to reduce the fee for articles by half. I decided my writing is still worth the same as before, so I haven't accepted any new assignments from them. A shame. It was great while it lasted.
Doctor Who celebrated its 50th Anniversary! As a big fan of the show, this was a big deal for me. The anniversary special, The Day of The Doctor, did not disappoint, and it was fun having it to look forward to all year.
I attended four conventions this year: Ad Astra, GenreCon, SFContario and Reversed Polarity. GenreCon was especially important for me, for two reasons. One, it wasn't in Toronto; the decision to do a con in Guelph was a big one for me. Two, I was asked by the organizers to come and be a part of the programming. What an honour! That meant so much to me.
I haven't written about my experiences at SFContario this year, or the panel I did at Reversed Polarity. Both were fun experiences, and both presented new challenges. I didn't write posts about those cons, or any posts since November, for reasons I will make clear momentarily.
It wasn't. Or, to be slightly less negative, it hasn't been a success yet. From the day I released it, November 13, until today, I have sold exactly nine copies.
I haven’t even been able to break into double digits.
What, I’ve been asking myself, have I been doing wrong? Promoted it at conventions with flyers? Check. Even did a reading from it at GenreCon. Promoted it on the blog? Check. On Facebook? Checkity-check. Fan page and everything. Twitter, too. I have over 1,000 followers on Twitter, and nearly 1,500 Facebook Friends. That’s a lot, isn’t it? And I did special deals, like dropping the price to 99 cents on Black Friday. I figured I’d have sold at least 100 copies by now.
What. The. Fuck?
I did not take this disappointment well. I went into a serious funk, what many would call ‘Feeling Sorry For Myself’ but a select few would acknowledge as ‘A Depressed Person Dealing With Bad News’. I stopped blogging, withdrew even further from social activities, didn’t even bother to plan my birthday party until the last minute. And on a few dark days, I thought of suicide once more. Not terribly seriously, and never with intent, but always with a strong desire to just Stop. It seemed as if all my efforts, all my hard work, simply hadn’t paid off, and the future did not look bright at all.
I got through it. I always do, with friends and family helping me. I’m feeling better about things, and putting the poor sales of 5 Demons into a different perspective. It’s not the final crashing and burning of my writing career; rather, it is just another learning experience along the way. The book hasn’t had any reviews yet; my next goal is to get some. And, of course, to keep producing output.
So, 2014. Resolutions? Nah. Not unless I can think of some funny ones. What I will do is keep writing, keep going, keep believing in a future where that payoff comes.
And right now, I do believe.
Today is a good day.