As we close out another year, I want to take a moment to talk a little bit about 2014.
There were some amazing highs. For instance, Wizard being able to retire, and BLB’s (youngest son) graduation with his B.A. and a few other things. On the professional side of things, I did a little math…. Before I get to that, I need to tell you that I didn’t keep a cumulative total of all my unit sales on the Plus One Chronicles, which includes The Proposition, Possession, Obsession and The Plus One Chronicles Boxed Set. So as this year closed, I took the total money I made off the books (Yeah, I tracked that, LOL, for one thing, the IRS insists on it) and divided it by an averaged price point to get a ball park figure on total unit sales.
I was expecting between 50k and 75k.
I’ve sold WELL over 100K units of The Plus One Chronicles, and that does not include my subsidiary sales to Germany and Brazil this year. I was stunned. That is a career high that covered part of 2013 and 2014.
My career low for 2014? Writing Exposing The Heiress (Book 3 in the Once A Marine Series by Jennifer Apodaca) triggered serious burnout. Part of it was plain old fatigue and some of it was writing and rewriting that book to fit the changing needs of the publisher (that isn’t a criticism, that’s how publishing works). The book ended up consuming all my time, forcing me to push back all my other projects and causing me to lose momentum with readers. Letting down readers added to my frustration and that fed the burnout.
Burnout sucks. Self doubt sucks. I’m coming out of it now, but it’s been pretty miserable. So how did I get past it? Well I know people have all kinds of solutions; vacations, chocolate, writing exercises, change of scenery, help from friends, etc. But in the end three things really helped me:
Even when trying to write actually upset my stomach, NOT writing was worse. Which means that my PASSION outweighed the heavy dread and bitter self doubt that kept up a running dialogue in my head. I knew I loved writing and telling the stories of the characters living in my head. The idea of all those voices in my head forever silenced left me unbearably sad. I just had to rediscover my love of telling stories which brings me to:
Because no matter how burned out I was, I refused to give up. I kept at it, first determined to finish Exposing The Heiress (still need to hear back on the latest version, but that’s another blog), then I set about figuring out what projects I really wanted to write in 2015. Just because I love writing, doesn’t mean it’s easy and that’s why perseverance matters. Get ready, because this is the ranty part of the blog: Dreaming is easy, but achieving your dreams? It had better be so hard, so challenging that you have moments of doubt. You had better feel like you’re trudging up an impossible hill, in the snow with a pack of demons nipping at your heels while trolls are shooting flaming arrows at you and hyenas are bouncing around, laughing at your efforts.
Because when you make it to the top? It will be so freaking amazing, even the laughing hyenas, flame-shooting trolls and nipping demons will celebrate. There is nothing like the feeling of achieving a challenging dream. It’s a rush like nothing else with a chaser of pure satisfaction. But to get that, we have to strive hard for something that feels a bit out of our reach.
And if it’s not hard? Then you aren’t dreaming big enough.
Just as important, when that beautiful dream at the very tip of the impossible hill takes an inevitable slide (and it will, because life is full of ups and downs), you know what will save you? Say it with me now, “PERSEVERANCE.”
Okay now I’ll end that rant and let’s move onto the final thing that’s helping me come back from burnout:
3) SUPPORT. And that’s where all you guys come in. Thank YOU for the constant support! Additionally, I have Wizard, my family, my sister and friends. All of them have been there when I’ve chosen to talk about it. I don’t always do that because I think talking can morph into a habit of complaining that can become a slippery slope. A little venting and problem solving is good, too much weighs us down until we’re trapped in the same place. It’s a fine line, but I couldn’t do this without the supportive people around me.
So there you have a bit about my highs and lows this year. My goals for 2015 are to release CAGED MAGIC in the Wing Slayer Hunter Series and launch my very sexy, Savaged Illusions contemporary series. I’m dying to write that first book. It will be loosely tied to Sloane Michael’s world from The Plus One Chronicles but each book will be a stand alone story with a happy ending. It’s possible I’ll have more releases in 2015, but those two are my focus right now.
I hope you all have a safe New Year’s Eve and that 2015 rocks for all of us! If you’d like to share some of your highs and lows from 2014, I’d love to hear them!
Oh and FYI, I’m going to be offline doing some family stuff so I won’t post again until Monday.