Let me be blunt: 2017 was a very difficult year for me. An argument could be made that 2016 was even worse, but as improvements go, 2017 didn't really make the grade.
It was a year in which I found myself under siege from multiple directions. Without going into specifics I'll just say that these things are not unique to me and are confronted by many, many other people at certain points in their lives, but as constant, ongoing, unsolvable problems they exert a daily, hourly pressure that is very difficult to stand up to over the long haul.
As 2018 arrives, I thought it might be important for me to use The Overnight Bestseller to say something about it. Colleagues mentioned to me during the past year that I haven't been effectively using social media. I seldom post on Facebook, my Twitter tweets and retweets are minimal, at best, and I haven't properly maintained this blog.
Guilty as charged. Additionally, while I've been going to my little office in Burritt's Rapids almost every day, and I was able to finish another March and Walker manuscript, the work has been slow and less productive than I'd prefer. My brain is like a boat with a thousand remoras attached to the hull below the waterline. I'm moving forward, but much more slowly than I should.
Traditionally I use the break between Christmas and the New Year to assess how I've been doing and to develop a strategy to improve personally and professionally during the next twelve months. This year, I'm not doing that.
The problems I'm dealing with are not solvable. Not by me, that's for sure, and not at this stage of my life. What I'm doing instead is making myself a series of promises. I want to share them with you, because if I make them public then I'm committed to them, aren't I?
I promise I'm not going to let the stress turn me into a different person. I promise I'm going to get even better at compartmentalizing my emotions into whatever packages of time I can manage--an hour, six hours, maybe even an entire day--in which I can feel upbeat, inspired, happy. I promise I will continue to be the person who's there when I'm needed, and that the breaks I need away from it all will be short (see the previous promise).
Finally, I promise you that over this past year my writing, although slow, has never been better, and that in 2018 I'm going to write an even better story than I did in 2017.
It gives me a goal to work toward. (I can't completely abandon all my old habits, can I?) I'll let you know as the year unfolds how I make out with it.
Thanks for reading this.