I knew 2012 was going to be a hard year.
I knew it before it ever started. I had a 2-year window from sale to shelf on THE NEAR WITCH, and I swore I would never let that happen again. Why? Because 2010, the full calendar year between the book’s sale in 2009, and it’s publication in 2011, was HARD. It was useful, in that it gave me time to find my online voice, and to become comfortable with my digital surrounding. But those benefits were things I wasn’t able to appreciate until AFTER my book was on shelves, when I could do signings and smile and chat about the waiting that was finally behind me.
I remember hearing at the end of 2011 that my publication date for THE ARCHIVED was going to be January 2013.
And I remember sitting on the floor, and sobbing.
I could. not. do this again.
But I had to. My agent assured me that I’d be busy, and I wanted to believe her, but THE ARCHIVED #2 hadn’t sold yet and VICIOUS hadn’t sold yet (both were being held until after the holidays), and 2010 was still burned into my memory, and I was scared.
And that might seem silly, in hindsight, unless you know WHY I was scared.
It might seem like I was scared of being BORED. But my agent was true to her word, and made sure I would be BUSY. She sold a total of FIVE books for me this year, and I’ve been BUSIER than ever, juggling two and sometimes even three deadlines at once.
But you see, boredom wasn’t–isn’t–the thing I’m afraid of.
I’m afraid of myself.
Writing/Editing/Breaking/Fixing/Making books is an equation.
One with a lot of variables, so at its best, most elegant, it is still messy. The author’s emotions tangle and create and work for and against their books. Their minds generate and solve and get in the way. I often feel like I’m trying to find the best possible equation, the way to minimize my self-loathing, and love my job.
And I knew that 2012, like 2010, was going to complicate my already-messy equation.
Because in those years off, that tricky emotional balance is upset by increasing the deadlines and decreasing the promotion–meaning the actual, in-person book-on-shelves time.
Some authors, I imagine, love that. Maybe they pine for a few years where they can go into their caves and be alone with their work (and we all need to be alone with it, for a time, to focus).
But I LOVE promotion. I love the part where the book’s on shelves and I get to put on real clothes and travel and talk to people and smile and soak up the energy like sunlight.
I NEED that light.
Subtracting the promotion–really, the CELEBRATION–from the equation means that I end up spending far too much time in my own head. And while it’s an okay place to be if I’m in the throes of a new idea, or if I have the balance of public time, it’s not always the kindest, healthiest place for me to be.
I try to be kind to others.
I’m not very kind with myself. I second-guess everything. I doubt everything. I hate everything. I feel worthless. I feel like a fluke. I feel like it’s hopeless. Like I’m not doing enough. Like I’ll never be able to do enough. I want to hold down delete. I want to quit.
I worried I would find myself back in this place. And I did. Only it had changed. It wasn’t as simple as in 2010, with the impatience and the want. No. This place, the 2012 version of my dark mental landscape, had gotten worse. I’d learned a lot from publication, and all my doubts and fears were able to adapt. I fretted about things I didn’t know existed in 2010. I lost sleep and sanity over things out of my control.
And EVERYTHING felt like it was out of my control. It still does, most days, but I’m trying to find calm. Trying to breathe.
I ended up making myself very literally sick from stress.
2012 has been a strange, busy, hard, productive, destructive, stressful year. It has been wonderful in obvious ways, and awful in less obvious ones.
2012 is finally ending. I do not want to seem ungracious. 2012 has been one of the most important years of my life. And time is a gift. It is always a gift. I have lost enough people to know how precious a year is.
But lovelies, I look forward, and finally see the promise of light. I’ve always loathed the way time trudges on, and under deadline I might want to pause it, but the truth is that right now, I want to cry because this year–this messy, beautiful, hellish, essential year–is almost over.
THE ARCHIVED comes out in January.
VICIOUS comes out in September.
And the relief I feel–still tangled with fear, always with fear, and doubt–is immense. Relief not only because two books I’m deeply passionate about will finally be on shelves, but because I will once again have something to celebrate.
35 days until 2013.
56 days until THE ARCHIVED.
Thank you for sticking with me. You are such a vital part of my equation. I would have lost myself by now without you.