Or what I’ve been doing the past ten years
Recently, when I told an extended family member I had work to do, he snapped back at me, “What work? When was the last time you wrote a book — ten years ago?”
His response says more about him than me, of course. I’ve gotten “come on, you’re not really working reactions” from the occasional person near to me at every stage of my career—though less and less frequently over time—and I’ve come to know this response as a sort of leveling, a way of saying, “Don’t think too well of yourself.”
I’ve also come to understand that most people don’t bother saying “Don’t think too well of yourself” unless they’re feeling badly about their own selves, and are looking for some way to soothe that insecurity.
And yet. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t an inner voice in my own head, too, after so many years, that also sometimes chimes in to say, “Come on, really, who do you think you are? What do you think you’re doing?”
When that voice speaks up, the answer can seem like, “Not much.”
So I’m writing a post to push back against that inner voice. I’m writing a post to list out something of what I actually have been doing this past decade. Because from the outside, these might look like quiet years, but from the inside, they look really rich and full and challenging and significant and wonderful, and I need to remind myself of that.
Along the way, maybe this post will help some of you reading it to push back against your inner voices, too. Because whatever you’ve been doing the past ten years, it matters, and it’s enough, and you have every right to be proud of it.
And in the end, really, whatever we do or fail to do, whatever we achieve or fail to achieve, isn’t the entirety of who we are anyway. Every single one of us is bigger and more wondrous and more wonderful than that.
What I’ve Been Doing, 2012-2022 Edition
(An Incomplete List)
- Finished three novels, including Faerie After, the final book of my Bones of Faerie Trilogy
- Published two of them, one under my own name and one under a pseudonym
- Wrote a guest episode for the Zombies, Run! App
- Wrote the video game script for The Huntsman: Winter’s Curse
- Sold a new short story to Stars of Darkover (and then donated the proceeds when I learned some hard truths about Darkover’s creator)
- Volunteered at a wildlife center
- Volunteered with an expressive arts group for local refugee families
- Camped and traveled and hiked and explored
- Mourned several friends
- Became a parent
- Finished rough drafts of four novels-still-in-progress
- Curated a Writing for the Long Haul blog series
- Served as the inaugural Writer-in-Residence for the Pima County Public Library
- Served as Guest of Honor at TusCon Science Fiction Convention
- Spoke at countless other book festivals, conventions, comicons, and writing conferences
- Practiced multiple styles of bookbinding
- Created designs for t-shirts, journals, stickers, mugs, and more at my Redbubble store
- Mourned my father
- Settled my father’s estate
- Did I mention becoming a parent?
- Became politically active and took part in dozens of pro-democracy actions
- Battled depression
- Wrote more than 400 blog posts
- Redesigned and reorganized my blog and website
- Launched and published two chapbooks in my new Writing Life series
- Redesigned and re-released new editions of three short stories
- Designed and published Unicorn Seasons, a new short story collection
- Re-designed and re-released a new edition of Tiernay West, Professional Adventurer
- Taught myself some basic Mandarin
- Had open heart surgery
- Recovered from open heart surgery and went through rehab
- No, really, parenting needs more than a line or two on this list
- Homeschooled my kid during a pandemic
- Lived during a pandemic, one that is still ongoing
- Volunteered at a vaccine clinic
- Published a humor piece with the Weekly Humorist and three humor pieces with Frazzled.
- Published a non-fiction piece with Modern Parent and two pieces with Blank Page
- Mourned my mother
- Redesigned and re-released a new edition of Thief Eyes
- Redesigned and re-released new editions of Bones of Faerie Trilogy
- Marketed the new Bones of Faerie editions well enough to have the best year, from a business perspective, of my entire career
- Did I mention parenting? Because parenting could easily fill ten years all by itself
So yeah, it’s been a decade. Love and loss. Lots of ups and downs. Lots of living. Lots to be proud of, some of it writing and career related, a whole lot of it not.
I’ll take it all. And I’ll look forward, with whatever cautious optimism as I can muster, to the next ten years.