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alan dare

2012 in Review

Well, it was QUITE a year. I was thinking about it, looking back, the other day, and it took me three years to sell a book from the time I really made it my focus. As soon as I got paid for that first book, in February 2009, my focus began to shift, slowly but surely, to getting out of Florida, and three years later, I did. So I'm thinking it takes me three years to accomplish things, and since I've achieved my two biggest dreams to date, naturally I've started thinking about the big dream that is still out there, writing and publishing the Arestin books. Right now I can't think about publication, whether it's traditional or self-, but I'm writing them anyway, when I have time.

However, this year sucked creatively. I really think moving just sucked the mojo out of me. For one thing, I barely even had time to breathe particularly from October 2011 through May 2012. This has left me with the aggravating feeling that I've been working on the sequel to Dark Metropolis forever, and it will never ever be done. When I think about actual active time I had to work on it, though, it isn't really longer than other books. I can really, truly, only count from June to now, plus maybe a couple months beforehand, so it's been about 9 months, and they were months of huge transition.

This year I am starting it off in my new house and I'm approaching the year mark since I moved in, so I have declared that I will shake off all the old feelings that "this book is taking forever", "I hate it", "it's a disaster and I wish it would just be done". LOOK, self. You have almost 45k done, you are comfortably past the halfway mark, and what you have really isn't that bad. I daresay it might even be great. And this is your first sequel contracted while the first book isn't even out yet, so it is a marvelous opportunity to tell an amazing multi-book story in a really cool, dark world! So stop it. Enjoy it, own it, stop thinking about other books you'd rather be writing because if you were writing them under contract you'd wish you were writing this one. That's how it works and you bloody well know it. Learn to devote yourself to the moment. Write like this is the last book anyone will ever buy from you.

I am also declaring that I will stop feeling depressed about the writing biz. Yes, it is kind of a disillusioning realm for most of us, but successful people don't mope around. And fun people don't mope around either. I feel I have devoted enough time to feeling glum about the dream vs. the reality. When I was in my early 20s, I worked at Sears and made 6.25 an hour, and in my heart I was a frickin' reincarnated glam rocker. So I'm getting back to that. Back to looking at the stars instead of the gutter.

I guess what I'm saying is that if last year was all about the material and the practical: close on the house, fill out these papers, call the plumber, buy an oven, send in the mail-in rebates, find that really important thing that we packed in a poorly labeled box, blah blah...this year all of that is done, and it's time to focus on the greater world of the heart and mind.

My goals for this year:
--Make a trip to NYC to meet my editor so she seems like a real concrete person.
--Make $600 a month minimum selling old stuff on Ebay/Amazon.
--Finish the Dark Metropolis sequel.
--Finish Alfred & Olivia 2.
--Finish a middle grade.
--Give a gift of time or money to someone else every month or so to remind yourself that there is always more.

Reading stats this year:
64 books. Pathetic!!!! Maybe a couple more because my general disorganization this year led to me not always recording what I read.
MG/YA: 18
Graphic novels/manga: 13
Adult novels: 3
Non-fiction: 29
Mmm...I miscounted somewhere. Oh well. Close enough.

Usually I give you my top 10 YA/MG of the year, but...well, usually I read at least 40 books in that category alone and this year I read EIGHTEEN, so, I will just give you my top 10 books in all categories:
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
The Changeling by Zilpha Keatly Snyder
Wayfarer by R. J. Anderson
The Food of a Younger Land by Mark Kurlansky (collected writings on America's foodways from the Depression-era WPA writer's project)
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee
Amy Unbounded and Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (both set in the same world so I'm counting them together)
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons
Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and her Father by John Matteson


Moving wreaks havoc on writing, that is for sure!! (Maybe that is why it takes me years longer to do things than it does other people, if every 2-3 years I'm packing up all over again?) Hopefully that is all behind you now and you can sink in to those stories you have to tell. Arestin...of all the many, many books I've critiqued for people, that is still one of the ones that sticks in my head the most!
That is quite possible! I admire anyone who can move frequently and keep it together, although I imagine it does get a little easier, at least...there are definitely some things I would have done differently if I moved again.

And that is very nice to hear about A&O! And it's gone through more edits since (well, in part because of all you lovely people who critiqued it--I really did have a lot to learn about conveying that world) that I really feel have made it a pretty strong manuscript. So here's hoping that dream goes somewhere in 3 years too...
When I was in my early 20s, I worked at Sears and made 6.25 an hour, and in my heart I was a frickin' reincarnated glam rocker. So I'm getting back to that. Back to looking at the stars instead of the gutter.

I love this!

I'll join you--no more being bummed out about this biz!

ETA: And it's funny that I just tallied my reading stats for a Friday post and it was strange to see that I'd read many more adult books than YA this past year. Wonder what that's all about?

Edited at 2013-01-01 08:20 pm (UTC)
Yes! I actually felt like...SO MUCH better after declaring this to myself. I could practically feel the weight falling off my shoulders. It's amazing how these things just kind of build up pebble by pebble, and pretty soon you're buried under it. So a toast to not being bummed out and having an awesome 2013.

Hmm...well, I must say sometimes I miss adult books. They tend to have more depth and length, which to me is their advantage and their disadvantage. So often I just feel mired by adult books because they're like...too long. But then when you get a good one it's just so immersive. It's especially refreshing when I've had a run of YA that just feel too formulaic and shallow...
I do think moving sucks a lot out of anyone -- so I get it! :)

Here's hoping 2013 is a year of loveliness for you...in every aspect of your life!
It's true, I guess, but I still feel kind of aggravated by how much its affected me. When I decided to move I thought it would be like, 2 months of physical disruption and maybe a couple months where it was kind of exciting and then I'd be all settled in and normal. HA HA HA.

I hope 2013 is a lovely year for you and your family too! (BTW, that reminds me, you need to update your Christmas card list!...mine got forwarded from Florida.)
Jackie, not sure if it was yesterday or today, but either way I want to wish you the happiest of birthdays. Hope there's lots of cake and laughter, and that the coming year brings oodles of joy!

Why thank you! And it was the 19th. You were right on schedule. =)