Over the years, I’ve managed to avoid looking in the rearview mirror, at least in public. Not sure if it’s because I have so much unfinished business or maybe I’m concerned about the less-than-sterling results of the self-critique or maybe I struggle with grasping the value of the exercise at all. Regardless, new years are a good excuse to try new things, right? So at the risk of swerving off the road and hitting a large oak tree, and for the first time in public, I’m glancing up to the mirror that shows what was…or at least what I choose to remember.
Each year I allow goal carryover from previous years – a long running tradition. Some of these goals, born decades ago, have managed to stay on my list even though I see some progress every year. At the beginning of 2010 I began to see some light at the end of one of these multi-year goal tunnels.
Like many of my friends, I live two lives (at least). I play the responsible, mature, bill-paying, good friend role; I also play the passionate, freedom-loving, all-or-nothing writer/artist role. For most of my life the former ruled my actions while the latter watched on with confusion, pity, and frustration. I made many promises to the writer…and I’ve broken many promises to him. And yet he refused to be corralled by the tactics I employed over the years - everything from ignoring him altogether (see denial) to feeding him small bites of hope in the form of expected next week/month/year activities…oh yeah, and the “when I have a bit more free time” excuse.
This year I wanted to get my suspense novel, The Father’s Child, out into the hands of readers…one of those carryover goals. After a couple years of patiently working through the traditional publishing paradigm – agent queries, manuscript submissions, contests, many conversations, etc. – a friend challenged me with the insanity-is-doing-the-same-thing-over-and-over-again-expecting-different-results criticism. Out of nowhere, the writer dude inside steps up and says “Enough is enough. Time to either get on board or get out of the @#k#%&* way!” Did I mention feisty and R-rated?
Well, one thing led to another – additional editing, researching ebooks, setting up a social media presence, cover artwork, etc. Much of it a blur. But in the end, a little over a month ago, I browsed over to Amazon.com and there it was for the whole world to see, read, and hopefully enjoy. Chalk one up for the writer dude.
Before the year ended, my novel had traveled up to the Top 50 Techno-thriller rankings on Amazon. Although it’s much too early to reasonably evaluate the success of my foray into the new publishing world, I finally made good on my promise to the writer in me. I never pledged best-selling success or a life of limos, but I did agree on numerous occasions to give him at least a little of my best time, energy, and love...knowing full well that once I released him from his prison, it would be impossible to get him back in there.
So in my rearview mirror, I see the out-into-the-hands-of-readers goal reached in 2010…a HUGE goal…but more importantly I set someone free. Honestly, he’s not that easy to live with – demanding, obsessive, creative to a fault – but when I close my eyes at night I no longer have to end my day with “Maybe next year.”
Here’s hoping that you have a prosperous, healthy, and wonderful 2011!
2 days ago