Happy New Year, faces. We survived 2019. Let’s hope 2020 is a little easier.
(Either that or have it come with jetpacks. Finally.)

From Farewell, 2019

On Tuesday I turned 40. I don’t really remember turning 39 – I know I did, I know how time works, I have memories from that day both in my head and on Facebook – but like everyone else in these *CLICHE ALERT* unprecedented times, time has ceased to mean anything and everything is just one big jumble. We’re definitely not out of the woods, pandemic-wise, and to claim otherwise is foolish, but at the same time, there have been enough adjustments and space to process that I feel like… like I did in the Before Times? Maybe? Almost. Like I want to go sit in a co-working space for a few hours, and get this backlog done. I’m not ready to sit indoors outside the home for hours yet, but I do want to return to semi-regular working hours, and restart submitting.

Yes, I gave up on submitting. Back in May, I think? The ‘rona caused a lot of backlog in the publishing world, unsurprisingly, and where I used to complain if I had to wait 60 days to get a response from a magazine, I was now waiting 150+ days to get a form rejection with no useful info, and more agents than ever were ghosting on queries. On top of that, I had AQA2 and BOO’s launch to worry about/co-ordinate,, not to mention generating weekly content for my Patreon. It was a lot, and I chose to put subs aside for a month, and then didn’t pick them up again. But two jabs and two launches later and I am feeling more confident about my headspace.

And of course it is a new year for me: 41 FFY. September has arrived, and I am ready to get back to my Real Work. BOO is launched, the paperback of AQA2 is launched, Fletcher & Cooper 2 awaits editing, Space Crazies awaits an updated query package and a generous submission plan. But just because submitting fell by the wayside doesn’t mean that I sat around staring at the walls. As usual, I did a lot more than I give myself credit for:

  • SOLD BLACKOUT ODYSSEY IN SEPTEMBER 2020 (it’s still exciting, that’s why I am yelling.)
  • got a new tattoo
  • finished editing Book One of Fletcher & Cooper
  • attempted to teach myself Dutch (by which I mean I reached 100 straight days on Duolingo. I did not succeed in teaching myself Dutch.)
  • began a Patreon (and ended a Patreon; an interesting experiment but not for me at this time)
  • watched Arashi’s last concert via livestream from Japan (I had to get up at 5am to do so, hence the feeling of achievement)
  • went through 3 different lockdowns? I think there were three? Essentially December to May
  • read over 450 submissions for AQA2, and sent corresponding emails – our response time average on Duotrope was three days. Take that, places with 150+ response times.
  • knitted Cutie a sweater, and myself a hat & cowl set
  • embarked on the journey of learning to sew clothing properly, making myself a vintage-inspired capsule wardrobe:
    • 3 pairs of trousers
    • 3 pairs of shorts
    • 4 button up shirts
    • 2 blouses
    • pyjamas
    • Regency-style men’s shirt
  • as well as:
    • several pairs of undies
    • a jean skirt and two hats for Cutie
  • designed the cover to BOO
  • designed the entirety of AQA2
  • GOT MY HAIR CUT (so exciting!!)
  • launched AQA2 both in ePub and paperback, which meant teaching myself about paperback distribution
  • launched BOO – my first traditionally published novel! The dream of my childhood.

The list doesn’t feel as momentous as re-reading other years. Maybe it’s because I lost focus on writing and turned to smaller crafting projects instead. Maybe that’s because this year, unlike many others, I was forced to take it one day at a time, and so they just blended into each other. Maybe I didn’t do enough – there was an awful lot of Netflix/YT watching. But as I scrolled through my FB feed, trying to remember what happened in November of 2020 (because it certainly wasn’t NaNo) I realized that yes, I did accomplish things last year. I did enough. I hope that 41FFY is a return to more writing-related activities, but I will continue to take things one day at a time.

And to end on a hopeful note, I leave you with one of the presents I received on my birthday: the delivery of my author copies, and a dream realized. May it be the first of many. Stay safe, everyone, and I’ll see you next week. <3

It’s real! It’s really real!!

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