2019 Forecast

Wow, do I have some updates.

The last couple of months have been pretty busy and exhausting. My husband and I were in the process of trying to become homeowners, and as of October it finally happened for us. The good news is that this means no more renting, especially in the increasingly prohibitively expensive area we were in before. The bad news is that we’re trying to get the place together and are still partly living out of boxes. I’ve been told that this is normal for at least a year, though, so I’m not terribly worried about it.

I’ve talked on this blog before about being a semi-professional musician and how this has partly informed the craft of my writing. As of December, I’m no longer playing with the band I was with before and won’t be taking any more professional or semi-professional trumpeting gigs. It wasn’t an easy decision for me to make, considering that music has been a part of my life and identity for almost as long as writing has, but I think it was ultimately best for me and the ensemble. I’ll miss the horn and my musician friends and family dearly, but I can focus on my more personal writing with less potential for guilt and burnout.

I did pick up a new writing venture along the way, sort of. I got into playing tabletop RPGs about two years ago, starting with Dungeons & Dragons 5e and branching into other systems. The hobby was one that I had wanted to try for a while, but I never got into it because I was intimidated by the sheer volume of content that I felt like I needed to learn. In the short amount of time that I’ve been doing this, I’ve found an amazing creative outlet, source of inspiration, and community, and I’m interested in exploring it further. To that end, I want to talk to more people, play more games online, and start creating content. It’ll probably be small things at first—a D&D class archetype here, a 200 Word RPGcontest entry there—but I could branch out into larger projects as I get more comfortable with the medium. I have a loose set of ideas for a portal fantasy game that would be Powered by the Apocalypse, but that won’t come together for a very long time.

This also means that one of my goals with regard to publishing novels has shifted. I thought that the traditional book deal and agent representation was the dream for me, and on paper, it made sense: I would get the validation from being signed by someone and seeing my name on shelves, other people would take care of a lot of the parts of making a book that I’m not great at, and someone else being in control would mean that I have one less thing on my chronically ill, sometimes low-energy shoulders. However, my RPG experiences combined with some soul-searching made me realize what it was about telling stories that I found fulfilling—at the most basic level, that all I really needed was a handful of fans that loved the things I brought to the literal and proverbial table and the freedom to safely create nearly anything I wanted on a schedule that was easy on and partially set by me. Would I have gotten that with traditional publishing? Maybe, but it would also have come with different kinds of stress in the long-term that probably wouldn’t be sustainable. Seeing my name on a shelf in the near future would be great, but the pressure in trying to keep it there would take away the joy and make it a job.

This is not to say that traditional publishing is inferior to self-publishing, and if that’s your dream, that’s awesome and I admire your tenacity. I hope no one takes this as me giving up on the traditional book deal just because I never got accepted, because that’s not true. I’m shifting away from the traditional book deal because I believe that I was pursuing that particular dream for the wrong reasons.

My immediate action items are to finish another draft of a novel manuscript, because it’s still in NaNoWriMo 2017 form. The manuscript that I refer to as Kingmaker until it gets a proper title requires at least one substantial redo (but ideally more) before I take it to an editor and get it ready to hit a self-publishing platform. In the meantime, I want to write and submit shorter content again, from RPG supplements to short stories to blog posts, because I’ve been neglecting that in the interest of everything else in my life.

There’s also the fact that I probably need to rip this website up at the roots, which I’ve been putting off partly out of being busy but mostly because I’m not looking forward to it. The default WordPress layout, the post tags, the posts themselves, everything needs to be given an absolutely brutal once-over. By the time this post gets published, some of those changes might have already happened. So pardon my dust, as they say, because this is probably my second rebrand in the space of a year and it’s not going to be pretty until it’s done.

In the meantime, I’ve been doing a lot of smaller, business-like things. One of these things is signing up for a Ko-fi page. Creating an online tip jar is something that I’ve been putting off for a while because I felt really weird asking for donations, especially since I haven’t exactly been at the top of my writing game lately. After so long telling my other artist friends that what they do is worth money, though, it was probably about time that I took my own advice and had it ready for when I do publish more frequently. You’re under no obligation to donate, of course, but the option is there if you felt so inclined.

I’ll feel better about asking for donations if I have a bunch of content ready to go, so now I ask you, readers: what kind of writing, gaming, or other content do you really hope I write about coming up?