I write this while on the airplane, flying to Phoenix, Arizona, for the Fiesta Bowl. Two of my sons currently go to University of Central Florida and my baby will start there next year, and UCF is playing in the Bowl game. GO KNIGHTS!!! I was born in Phoenix and still have family there, so we'll be seeing them, which is great because I haven't seen my grandparents in years. So it's not a completely insane thing for all five of us to be going across the country to a football game. But it kind of is. And I tell you this for a reason...which I'll get to in a minute.
About this time last year, as I was thinking about what my hopes and dreams were for 2013, I gave myself a personal motto for the year: "LIVE." I hadn't felt like I'd really lived in 2012 because I'd been so tied up with owning two businesses, writing, being the sole income producer for a family of five, and, well, just surviving. So 2013 was the year to LIVE. I felt like I spent so much time working, I didn't get enough time to enjoy life. My motto was a reminder to do more than exist or survive.
I did live, too. We celebrated last New Year's in Cancun. I traveled to the UK, Germany, Prague, and several U.S. cities, too. I spent a lot - a LOT - of time in the writing cave and on marketing and other publishing business, but I also tried to spend more time on the motorcycle, on my house, on hobbies, and with the family. I didn't achieve any kind of balance, but I did experience a lot in 2013. To the point of insanity.
It was a rough year for everyone, it seems, and that probably includes you. It seems like everyone I know, including myself, lost too many loved ones in 2013. For the first few months, not a day went by where I wasn't sending someone my condolences, prayers, healing vibes, and other thoughts. The tragedies and losses seemed to even out for a few months, but then they hit hard again as we wrapped up the year. That's enough to put us all a little off kilter.
To top it all off, the publishing industry has been just as chaotic as the previous few years - if not more. More authors have self-published and gone indie than ever before. There are more books being produced and anyone who seriously desires a career as an author needs to be more productive than ever. You readers are kind of insatiable! In a good way, of course, but it means we have to write, write, write. We have to get those books out the door before you completely forget about us because so many authors are putting out so many other books, and we love you so much and we want you to love us and our books and our characters just as much and not abaondon us forever. Whew! It's insane, isn't it?
You don't even know the half of it. Unless you're an author. Because we're all feeling the pressure, I think. A lot of us are feeling that our passion, our big love in life, is starting to feel much like work. *shudders* Trust me - you readers don't want us to lose our joy in writing. We get so focused on "what's next," that we forget or are unable to enjoy "what's now." Many of us are at the point of saying, "Time out. I need to breathe." Jennifer L. Armentrout has discussed the "what's next" syndrome with authors, and my author friend Rachael Wade shared her own, somewhat similar epiphany. I know we're not alone.
2013 has been full of its ups and downs. It's been a year of LIVING. But it's also been a year of insanity. So, my motto for 2014 is SANITY. I still want to be sure to actually live life and not simply exist, but I'm hoping to level things out a bit. To not just live, but to enjoy and savor and luxuriate in life. I want - no need - to rediscover my passion and joy in writing. I don't want it to become work. Yuk. I want it to be my escape again so that rather than procrastinate over writing the next scene, I'm procrastinating on other things because I'd always rather be writing.
I try to avoid calling this a New Year's Resolution, because I suck at those. They're just a nice way to set myself up for failure - as if I need any help with that. That's why I call it my motto, but this year I could also call it a New Year's Revolution. I'm revolting against the pressure, the unrealistic expectations that I put on myself, and the constant "what's next" that I'm always looking for. I'm revolting against the insanity.
Of course, as I said, I'm writing this on a plane trip across the country to watch a football game - and my kids aren't even playing. Said game, with its tailgating (and hopefully victory party), is on New Year's Day. See, if I'd called it a resolution, I'd already be failing. But my revolution starts immediately. This trip may be a little insane, a proper way to finish up 2013, but I'm going to do my best to revel in it. To enjoy the time with my family, both immediate and extended. To have fun. To start the year with a mindset of SANITY. Care to join me?
Do you do New Year's Resolutions or do you have a motto for the year? What's been your best and worse of 2013? What do you hope for in 2014?
In the meantime, have a safe and...
HAPPY NEW YEAR!