So another year in which I didn’t really blog. I do, however, tumbl, if for some reason you need more gif sets of Hamilton in your life. But here we go. Another year, another round up.
In a lot of ways, 2015 was a pretty good year for me. But it was also a fairly quiet year. I made progress on a lot of fronts, I worked hard at a lot of things, but there were relatively few massive accomplishments to trumpet or set backs to bemoan. But you know, I’ll take an overall positive, if pretty quiet, year, since I suspect 2016 is going to be a little bananas.
+ Work stuff: For various reasons that would require a lot of backstory to explain, 2015 was a tough year at work, and a transitory one. I spent a lot more time working together with other areas of the company, and I helped tackle a couple of pretty massive projects. Various processes that run the site are changing, which I’ve been involved with figuring out and setting up; and there’s going to be a lot more of that to come next year.
Oh, and also — there was a massive event in the HIV world this year when Charlie Sheen disclosed his status. I wrote what was a pretty quick one-off piece about it for the site, and it turned out to be one of the top articles for the year. Wow! Check it: –> Charlie Sheen Deserves Your Scorn, but Not Because He Has HIV.
+ I chopped off my hair. Actually, that feels more like the culmination of a long process — I started it by inches years ago but never managed to make the leap from short-ish to actually short. Except this year, I wanted to do something really different. Over the last couple of years I’ve found myself sort of staring at rad short haircuts, wistfully wondering if I could pull that off, to finally deciding… screw it. I thought it looked cool on other people, there was no reason it wouldn’t look awesome on me, so I found a ridiculous hipster salon and went for it. And holy crap, you guys, I love it. Right after I chopped it I tried to explain to people: I look more like myself like this. Which is pretty freaking cool.
+ Ten years and $30k after graduation, I have paid off my student loans!
+ Book stuff! I think part of the reason the year felt quiet to me was because last year I announced signing with my agent and my book sale; next year, my first book will actually be on the shelves. So what happened in the meantime? Two biggies: revising the first book, and drafting the second.
The revision process started in January and was more or less finalized in August. There were two rounds, both of which were substantial. Writing new material while cutting other pieces, changing the way key scenes play out, cleaning up the language, completely rewriting the climax. It was a long, intense, kind of awesome process. I learned tons from it, and was super psyched to dive into writing my second book. (Which, for those who don’t know, is a direct sequel to BOUND BY BLOOD AND SAND — it’s a duology, so book two will finish the story.) But I was also still intimidated as I got started. I’ve never written a book under deadline before and, well, it took me several years and three versions to get the first book in good enough shape to query. Instead of several years, this was six months.
The good news: I did it! A complete draft, by deadline. It was actually a huge relief to find out that yes, I can work steadily, get the words out, and write a messy draft of a complete book in about half a year. And it’s a good thing I can because, having done that… I now get to do it again. It turns out, in as much as I have a consistent writing process, it involves a zero draft. Some throat clearing, world building, character defining stuff that shows me what the book is going to be… nearly none of which is usable. Someday, perhaps, I will write a whole post about this, but in the mean time suffice to say I’m doing some more drafting.
The rest of my year was taken up by slowly dipping my toes into bookish twitter, meeting other writers and reviewers; by watching all 11 seasons of Cheers because what else is Netflix for?1; by having brunch with friends. It was a year that brought me Hamilton, the hip-hop founding fathers musical I had no idea I wanted; and ended with The Force Awakens, featuring the butt-kicking lady Jedi I always knew I wanted. It was a quietly good year, but not a dramatic one.
Here’s to 2016.
- It’s for Jessica Jones, it turns out, holy crap what a good show. ↩