Welcome 2021!

It’s not often I crave to see the backside of a calendar year, but between Covid-19, political hijinks, and personal issues, 2020 was something of a dumpster fire. Good thing the pandemic kept me in the house, or I might have been tempted to run into the street screaming. Oh, be honest – many of you felt that way too! The year wasn’t a total loss, so allow me to share some of the good stuff.

Health. I was very fortunate to have remained healthy throughout the year, along with my sons, extended family, and close friends. (Good thing, too, as I am still without health insurance.)

Finances. The mask requirement in my state cost me my job in early July (long story), but I found a temporary position that met my financial needs until recently. My new job starts tomorrow!

Writing. I released two books in 2020, and my royalties more than doubled for the last nine months of the year. My current MS is roughly 75% complete with a tentative February publication date.

Looking ahead, I still have many of the same goals I set last year and never achieved. There’s only so much I can do while still working full time, so I have to be realistic about what can be accomplished without giving myself a guilt trip. Some of the snooty know-it-alls out there would say I am “not serious about the craft” or that I need to make more sacrifices. I don’t accept that kind of shaming, as every writer labors under different personal circumstances and limitations.

Instead, I choose to use my limited time to focus on writing and publishing new material, with a goal of four books per year. No classes, social media, daily blog posts, or other things that steal precious time. I will, of course, incorporate anything new I happen to learn along the way—something I have done from the beginning.

Eventually, when my circumstances change, I hope to be well-positioned with a generous selection of back titles. Once I’m able to devote more time to writing, those books will help drive sales and get me where I want to be in retirement.

Like you, I have no idea what 2021 will bring. I hope we get the pandemic under control and return to some semblance of normalcy. Regardless, I am blessed to have my writing as a creative outlet, to keep me busy and productive, to bring in a bit of cash, and to provide stories for others to enjoy.

Wishing you and yours a blessed and fruitful year!

Weekly Roundup – What a Summer!

Weekly Roundup is an update on what’s going on in my world. Welcome!

I cannot express, in polite words, how relieved I am to see the end of summer. Hot weather, work hassles, financial woes, writing issues – yikes! It’s time to put it all behind me and focus on what promises to be an interesting fall. I welcome the cooler weather, despite being hay-fever season, as my personal life and writing enter a different phase.

I’m moving again. Yes, you heard me correctly. In about five weeks I’m relocating to another part of the metro area. I was able to secure an apartment which not only offers more amenities for less, but is closer to my jobs and my son. This move will be well worth the hassle, as it should improve my living situation, reduce commute times, and make it easier to see my grandson.

I got a second job. What? Yep, I’ve taken on a Saturday job cleaning offices to help sort out my finances. Last weekend was my first solo appearance and it just about killed me! Cleaning sounds easy, but my body reminded me of all the muscles I hadn’t been using. Aside from aching head to foot and being bone tired, I slept poorly two nights in a row. Reporting for work on Monday looked iffy at best, but thanks to pain medication I made it. Hopefully I’ll get used to the new routine quickly and be able to enjoy at least a little of my weekends in the future. More important, the extra money will relieve some financial pressure and provide much-needed breathing room.

Given the above, it’s no surprise my writing has taken a hit. I don’t expect much to change until after the move, but a lot depends on how much overtime is required at my full time job. It will be a challenge just to produce a weekly post, let alone anything else. I’m going to focus on completing the Rise of the Draman series, including a very thorough edit & polish. The tentative goal is to have it finished by December, and if I have the funds, publish the stories as one volume. Anything else I might have time for is simply gravy.

Things are a bit crazy right now, and certainly not what I wanted, but I know the sacrifices will be worth it in the end. Margo Channing knew what she was talking about when she said, “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”