Welcome to 2020.

Sometimes you stay up to make sure the old year goes out, rather than to bring in the new. I did, and promptly went to bed. I’ve been struggling with my voice the last couple days, and I had enough to talk to my guests for New Year’s Eve, but often they had to shush to hear me. This morning it’s not so great again, and I might just need to chalk the week to a loss of spoken words and diminished energy for socialization.

Which means it’s a great day to go clean my office, and make room to work on my manuscript. I only work on it when I can see it, and my office has been a pretty big disaster for, well, months. I keep managing to get part of it where I want it, and the rest of it sags around a random project or holding the other things (like gifts that need to be hidden) that must be out of sight.

I’ve seen so many writers talk about the last year and the last ten years – so here goes: My daughter is ten, and my son is seven for another few days. This decade has been spent learning how to be that parent for them, learning to juggle what I need for me around what I need for my family, and changing residence three times.

I’ve almost lived here longer than I’ve lived in a single place. It’s been 7 years 6 months in this house. My record is 7 years 7 months – in the house I was born in. I had 9 years in a town once, but we changed houses even though it stayed on the same property. And we took the house with us when we moved.

It’s hard to think that at my children’s ages – the younger I had moved once to a much different place, and the older I had actually moved three more times – leaving family and/or friends behind each time. I wonder when we’ll move from this place, but it hasn’t come yet. We thought it might last year because we got plates on my husband’s car that matched our county, which has generally heralded a move.

Not yet. Not yet.

For writing, I’ve learned how to set out a rough draft, sometimes I call it a zero draft because it’s not usually organized enough to call it a first draft. I’ve tried editing but I’ve only sort of learned how to get myself to sit down and stick to it. I’m struggling there, but I’m working on it.

In ten years, I’ve written several zero drafts. I’ve published a few short stories. I’ve talked about setting out a couple self-published books (the one that’s recently gone out of print and another one). I’ve rewritten one science fiction book entirely, and I’m on the next pass. Description is sort of the bane of my existence, and I’m learning to appreciate what it looks like when I finish that even if I hate the actual process. I actually have triaged the zero drafts to know which one comes next when I finish this draft.

I also sought out writers in their groups, and eventually formed one of my own. They keep calling me their fearless leader, and I have tried to strike out in the direction that works for all of us. No mutinies so far. It’s impossible to please everyone, and it’s impossible to always accommodate every possibility – but I’m very pleased with the group and how we work together and that we all keep learning from each other.

[We also watch and share larger things happening in the writing world, like JK Rowling’s anti-trans comments and the implosion of the RWA. Quite a lot happened last month in the writing world!]

This year, I’m going to finish the draft I’ve been working on for what seems like forever and isn’t actually. I’d like to do it by the equinox. It’ll probably be close, so long as I don’t abandon it for easier projects. Then I’ll immediately start the next triaged draft, which may or may not be a good idea.

I’m also going to get a better blogging schedule and review my social media. It’s a good time to do all of those things since I haven’t for a while, and it’s an important step to keeping myself focused on the path I’d like to take. Even if that path changes every few steps.



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