Blog Post No. 423
Welcome to the last post of 2020. This is when I traditionally write about my plans for next year. Before I got started, I went back and read over my last post of 2019. Wow, I was way off with my predictions there. (Don’t go back and read it because I make a joke that hits way too close to home with how 2020 turned out). But, this is a post about the future, not the past. I save that for the true end of the year for this page, the closest Thursday to January 10th. Though the world and our interpersonal relations have been strange, I hope that most people had a little bit of joy in whatever celebrations they take part in this time of year. Personally, I missed the usual mix of hectic visits and lazy family time. Usually my brother and I spend the afternoon at my parent’s house exchanging gifts, playing billiards, and just enjoying each other’s company. It’s challenging enough that my other brother and his family are far away and we can’t see each other for Christmas, but only being able to see my parents digitally was tough. And I’m not a very personable person. I imagine it was much more difficult for others.
Those last few sentences were a bit of a bummer, but I’ll move on to something different and only a little disappointing. Over the last few years, I’ve done a lot of events with Christian, some local and some across the southern part of the province. In 2019, there were a few changes to our schedule and we determined to get out to more in 2020. I wish I could say I have high hopes for 2021 but things will probably be closed and limited for most of the year. Businesses will have customer limits and events are not likely to be viable for some time. With that in mind, I really should try to get involved in more virtual event type things. I am not a big fan of the concept, but I can’t do nothing. Before I really roll up my sleeves and get to work on that, I need to make sure my books are available in more places including as ebooks.
I spent a lot of time towards the end of this year on ebooks and I’ve made some great strides. It’s a frustrating process—working on code and expecting everything to work when you followed official guides and have people who know more and are more experienced than you take a look at it, only to have something not work. I did as much research as I did actual coding. I paused it to keep working on Break/Interrupt but as soon as the novella is ready to go to the printers, I’ll pick up the loose thread and try to wrap up ebooks once and for all (until the next book or major issue arrises). I am (as ever) grateful to Arvin for taking time out of his amazingly busy schedule to help me out with it. The frustration in his voice when something doesn’t work out as planned cuts me right to the heart every time. The last thing he needs is to take on any of my stress.
As far as Break/Interrupt goes, I’m on track (so weird to say) and depending on the availability and willingness of the people I’ve been relying on to do beta reads for the series so far, I may even get the book ready for the printer early this year. Saying that, there are so many things that could go wrong and I don’t want to tempt fate too much. I actually feel good about it (other than the actual story since I am in the middle of going over a beta read and my ego is a fragile baby, even with fair criticism and gracious praise). That’s an exaggeration for laughs (mostly). I’m pretty happy with the story and I’m excited to get this one out to the readers.
When that’s done, I do want to get some short stories written. I did a post about that a while ago. Some of my fellow Adventure Worlds Press writers are getting shorts published and I’m jealous. Also, I love short stories and want to do more of them. I have the Invasion Novel to edit and it’s going to be a massive job to cut it down by 50 000 words (or so). Also, making that rambling mess good will test me like no other story has so far. I want to get it done so I can jump on a new book, but I really have to take the time to work it into the best book it can be. It’s supposed to be the book I use to get an agent and it is not currently fit to be read by anyone, let alone an industry professional. I expect to spend the majority of the summer on it, but I don’t want it to dominate my year. I have the next novella to think about. Starting Break/Interrupt in August worked out well (along with not having a day job getting in the way) and I want to try that again with book five in the series.
I don’t know what to expect with a day job next year either. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been able to stay home and not loose too much income but that’s not going to last forever. If I don’t get to go back to where I was and/or it doesn’t offer enough hours for me to live off of, I will have to find something new. I’m not opposed to working a different job, but I had it really good where I was working. If I do look for a job, it will have to be something with limited contact with the public (for reasons). It’s something I don’t have to worry too much about for the next few months, but if history is any indicator, those months will be gone before I know it.
There are other things that often hang over me. They get pushed aside while I’m busy then come back to bite me in the ass when I least suspect it. Every time I come to the end of something, a draft, and edit, whatever, I end up having to make a list of all the things that I have to do that were forgotten in the midst of singularly focused effort. I still have work to do on The Misadventures of Bowling Ball with Glen Hawkes. He wants to wait to get together to go over it all in person, but that will be a while. I have the layout for the novella, but when it comes to a template that I’ve made for other books, it won’t be an issue. I don’t think I’ll be doing any layouts for other people, but I will definitely consider it if asked.
There are other protects I would love to work on, a new AWP collection, a serial story, etc, but I really have to focus on the full plate I already have in my hand. A novella, novel, and a few short stories in a year are enough, especially with a day job and other responsibilities stealing my time (and energy, and focus, and the will to go on). I keep wanting to mention things that I think will go better in the year end post coming up in a few weeks and this is already getting long. I’m excited for my writing in 2021 even though I’m not particularly excited for much else. I hope everyone has something to be passionate about that makes the other things more bearable. It’s easy to get beat down by the negative so you’re responsible for creating something that can act as your shield. All I can say for sure about next year is that I will work as hard as I did this year (but only with my writing).
6 thoughts on “2021”
What a year it’s been! I can tell you from personal experience that getting into virtual events sold me some books. I didn’t get much action from the Ruthven Applefest, but did with Janine’s xmas show. Your buddy Dan MacDonald sold 50 to 60 of my books by featuring Rat in his book club. That and ebooks represented most of my sales and having switched everything over to Ingram resulted in better commissions. Have a good new year, Ben, and get after those dreams!
I’ll have to try for some of those next year. Have a good one yourself!
HAPPY NEW YEAR BEN! Thanks for being a writing/editing/sharing writer – it’s inspiring! Keep up the amazing work!
Back at you. It was a tough year but you made the best of it at Gertrude’s!
Happy new year, Ben! May 2021 bring good things.
Thanks, Brittni! You too!