So, it was kind of a weird year, what with starting on a massive depressive episode, the worst case of bronchitis ever, the descent of the anxiety in May, the damn near lethal heat wave that coincided with the struggle I had regarding my new anxiety medication, then being chronically short handed at work for weeks…
But my writing also, somehow, exploded? I wrote about 250k words this year, and I finished my third novel. And I think that’s something to be proud of. I think I’ve improved, too, since it’s easier for me to reread my own work now. What I need at this stage is a good critique group, but I don’t know where I’d even find one, considering how bad I am at online networking. There was almost a queer writing group started in my town, but typically, it didn’t come to anything. Sigh.
But still, looking back, my health issues have seriously constrained my productivity in 2023. I was only able to work on one project at a time, because of my work schedule changing over and over again (that always messes me up), and I did almost no other arts or crafts. There’s an argument for not focusing on the concept of productivity over mental health—I see this on Instagram all the time. But there’s a difference between forcing productivity for a thankless job (and I’m really over this, so that’s not my problem) and striving for a goal. And my eventual end goal is to be published, and my preference would be as a hybrid author, with trad pub for my more political works, and small press/self pub for my more niche stuff.
The ‘new years resolution’ is one of those weird social constructs that set us up for failure, and I don’t want to make one because historically I have a bad record of keeping them for two days and then adhding myself into a depressive spiral. (I seem to have started this a bit early this year lolsob) I do want to outline a few goals, though.
1. Finish the second volume of my Character Bleed fanfic. This one is a reasonably sure thing, since I’m about three quarters of the way through. I did give up on the goal of finishing it before the end of 2023, because if I learned anything from my NaNoWriMo attempt, it’s that yes, I can write 50k in a month (I actually wrote about 60k), but it burned my brain out and severely impacted my output in December. I work better if I mostly write on my days off, because it gives my brain time to recharge. I don’t know if this would be different if I didn’t have to work 30+ hours a week, but since I have that adhd brain thing where I either hyper focus and lose track of time, or can’t focus at all and waste the entire day doing nothing much at all, I doubt it. I probably need to have my brain meds changed, but I really don’t want to do stimulants, and Strattera didn’t really do much for me.
2. Finish Golden Wolf. I feel a little guilty for spending so much time and energy on the Tourmaline books, a project that could likely end up being entirely non-commercial. I do plan to ask KL Noone’s permission to try to get it published when the trilogy is done, but that’s not a given, and I don’t want to go the ‘file the serial numbers off route’ either. I’m not a fan of that idea, especially if it’s done over a small creator’s work instead of a large franchise like Marvel or Supernatural. Not that I think GW is going to be terribly commercial either. The urban fantasy market is saturated with over-sexualized, trope-driven sensationalism, and GW is a fairly quiet narrative with no sex and my wolf shifters diverge from the popular alpha/beta patriarchal bullshit that is somehow so popular, despite being gross and inherently misogynistic, to say nothing of how inaccurate it is to actual wolf behaviour. GW is also queer MF which is…not a booming subcategory. This isn’t something that bothers me overmuch; I’d rather tell stories with less commercial viability but more thematic resonance and positive, diverse representation, than jump on the capitalist bandwagon of queer exploitation.
3. I want to get back into making art. I used to do watercolors, and I have accumulated a lot of acrylics stuff that I want to try. I also have a bunch of miniature projects that need finishing, boxes upon boxes of polymer clay, a graphics tablet gathering dust behind my computer, an enormous yarn stash, and tons of leftover jewelry supplies…like, J, what is the point of having a dedicated studio if all you do is nap on the futon in it.
4. Get a better job. This is pretty self-explanatory. My job is thankless and exhausting and has severely damaged my mental health due to chronic stress. Nuff said.
5. I want to try to be more social. I have become a hermit who only gets out for work and necessary chores like grocery shopping. This needs to change.
6. Do the research for that one humorous urban fantasy idea that is going to be more folkloric than the standard UF tropes. (Wait, didn’t you already complain about UF tropes up there in Goal #2? Yes, yes I did, let us all partake in the inversion of the shitty tropes that have accumulated in this genre.) I’m currently going through my werewolf and vampire resources, which right now is mostly public domain ebooks and YouTube videos on the various history and folklore channels I follow.
7. Read more. I have fallen into a major reading rut. It’s partly because I’m too broke to buy up all my fave authors’ releases, especially since so many of them have gone trad pub, and trad pub prices are frankly extortionate. But also, since 2016 I have been reading romance almost exclusively, and while this was nice and comforting at first, it is also a suffocatingly formulaic genre that is largely exclusionary to aro/ace/nonbinary folks, in that many of the tropes and genre standards follow and enforce allo-cis-het-normativity, even in the queer narratives that comprised the bulk of my reading. Also, see above point about capitalist exploitation of queer narratives.