I'm not quite where I want to be yet. That's the main takeaway, I think, as the new year dawns.
I came into 2019 determined not to surrender to my frustration with the state of my career. I'd toyed with the idea of retiring from the writing game, but I still loved telling stories and had faith in my abilities.
I came into 2019 determined to work as hard as I could to keep my career alive.
"This is the year," I wrote, "I leave no stone unturned to prove I still have a future in this business. I'll bust my ass, and I'll write a ton, and we'll see where things stand when the dust settles on 2019.
And if it doesn't work out, then I will walk away. Not to teach anyone else a lesson, but because I'll have done all I could."
I feel pretty satisfied with how I tackled that resolution.
I wrote 4.5+ books this year. Two of them will be published in 2020. The rest, with any luck, will find homes in the future, though that's not guaranteed, by any means. As it stands, the two books I'll publish this year are the last I have under contract.
I also managed to find THE PROFESSIONALS a home with a film and TV production company, and I'm proud of that, and cautiously optimistic about the road ahead on that front. I've learned you can't take anything for granted in Hollywood, but the book has been optioned by a good group of people and they seem excited, and that's all you can hope for.
I worked hard this year. I busted my ass. But I'm not quite where I want to be yet.
Financially, my situation is still pretty tenuous. In the spring, I had something of a Come to Jesus moment. I realized that it didn't make sense to pin my hopes on life-changing, six-figure-or-better, home-run book contracts.
Far more realistic to bank on singles and doubles.
"The way things stand now," I wrote, "I'll need to publish two or three books a year to maintain this career. I can write two or three books a year, if I can find publishers willing to print them."
Creatively, this was pretty liberating. I spread my wings and challenged myself, worked on projects that inspired me, regardless of genre or how they fit into my professional image.
Where this will take me career-wise remains unclear. I have two books with my agent right now, both of which are new stories, and departures for me. Time will tell if we're able to sell them.
I'm working on a couple more traditional thriller-type books at the moment. These, too, are new stories and characters, and there's no guarantee they'll ever find publishers. But I'm trying to just enjoy the process of writing, nonetheless, and let the chips fall where they will.
I feel proud of the books I wrote in this period, anyway, and I'm excited for the projects I still have on the go. I'm at one of those stages where I have more ideas than I know what to do with, and I'm eager to get my stories written and sent out into the world.
This is what I love about my career. It's why I work so hard to maintain this lifestyle, despite the frustration and the insecurity that comes along with the business side of things.
I am proud of my abilities as a storyteller, as 2019 comes to an end. What I don't know is how I'll fit into the publishing industry, in 2020 and beyond.
So that's disconcerting. It keeps me up nights. But all I can do, I think, is keep writing, and keep busting my ass on the business side of things, too.
I've not come nearly as far professionally in this last year as I would have hoped. But I'm not ready to walk away yet.