2021 started with sadness and relief. Sadness at saying goodbye to my grandmother, who passed away on New Year’s Eve last year after a fifteen-year battle with Alzheimer’s. Relief, because her struggle was finally over.
It took it as a sign that it was time for new beginnings. I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions, but I did decide to reorganize my house, and make progress on some goals. So, while 2021 was a tough year for many. It was a big year for me. A lot of major stuff happened, and it’s important, now to think back on it and put it in perspective.
I started writing again July 1, 2019 and by the time this year had started I had written almost three complete manuscripts. So, this year, I stopped waiting for opportunity to be handed to me, and published three books. I assembled a team to help me: professional editor, cover artist, formatter. I am proud of the books I put out. And while they have yet to set the world on fire, they’ve attracted an audience. An audience I am working on building. This next year, my goal is to publish at least two more books, and also work better at promotion, so I continue to find readers.
By the time this year ends, I will have drafted over 300,000 words of new fiction. I finished two books this year and have made significant progress on two more. Most of this work is on the Broken Stars books, but I also came up with another series I wanted to write, and didn’t want to wait, so I started upping my daily goal from 1000 to 2000 words and started working on two books at a time. I wasn’t certain I would be able to do this long term. I had, in the past, written 2000 words a day, but only during NaNoWriMo. This new goal started in October, and have continued through the rest of the year. Thankfully, I am not finding myself burned out in the process, which was a relief. And working on two books at once has actually been helpful. Monday through Wednesday, I work on the Broken Stars books, and Thursday through Friday, the Incarnate books. Saturday and Sunday, I give myself completely off writing to let my brain recover. This has allowed me to maintain my forward progress while also taking needed days of rest. I’m proud of the work I’m producing right now, as well as the pace at which I’m working, so this seems to be working out.
My family grew this year. My Daughter fell in love with a young man and moved in with him. That was fine, but even better was the fact that he had two children, ages 4 and 3. We eagerly welcomed all three of them to the family officially when Sarah and Josh got married on Nov 27th. The kids weren’t sure what to make of us at first, but we fell instantly in love with them. When I first met them, the same feeling went through me that went through me when I met my own kids. These are absolutely my grandchildren. Thinking of myself as a grandparent was something of an adjustment, but It’s been great. This is my first Christmas with them and I cannot wait. Adding to our joy is the knowledge that Sarah is going to have a baby this April. We are eagerly anticipating this new arrival.
I redecorated and rearranged my house earlier this year, finally claiming the space for the first time since my divorce. I reclaimed my dining room, which had been my office (which I never used because the space didn’t really work), turned my son’s former bedroom into an office that worked for me, replaced my couches, and finally put art on the walls for the first time since the whole house had been painted back in 2017. My home really feels like my home now, when before it had been a place that had stressed me out. I have been able to keep up with the cleaning, so nothing really gets out of control. Having a place that feels like me has really been helpful for my mental health.
I work on Saturdays, which I don’t mind since my partner is my BFF Nick. After work on Saturdays, we have been grabbing lunch from the local gourmet taco place and watching movies and TV shows until the evening. It’s been fun. We watched all the Lord of the Rings Movies, then started making our way through the 90’s Charmed series. We’re almost all the way through Season 3. Having this weekly event to look forward to has been great, and also gives me a reason to keep the house picked up. Nick is also a writer, and we talk a lot about our works in progress. He’s good at helping me with plot holes. I’m good at brainstorming ways he can make things worse for his characters, like, wouldn’t this scene be more fun if it was happening in an active volcano?
Another thing that happened: I started therapy, finally. I wasn’t able to find a local therapist, but I matched on Betterhelp with a therapist named Mary, and she’s been great. We’ve talked a lot about the damage I did to myself and other people before I came to understand the way my mind worked. And she points out my disordered thinking. I’ll say something I don’t realize is bonkers, usually about how I really should be hating myself, and she’ll be like, “Chad, that is a really fucked up way of thinking about it!” It’s exactly the approach I need. We started out web chatting but have graduated to phone calls, which have made things a lot easier.
So, that was 2021. There were definite challenges, but I feel like it was a year of figuring things out and deciding the approach that would work for me. I have some definite goals for 2022, but I’ll write about them in another post, if I’m brave enough.