A few days ago I seriously considered returning the advance money for the Kate Daniels contract. I didn’t contemplate it because the books are not selling well- they are performing great. Or because someone was mean to me on the internet. 🙂 I did it because I was convinced I couldn’t meet our current deadline.
I dutifully sat before the computer every day and produced nothing, which of course, only made me more guilty and less likely to write. So much guilt.
We had a long, eventful, and enormously rewarding year. We released our first hardcover, the first book in our new series, and a novella. Just days before 2013 ended, we also released our first self-published novel. Thank you so much for being so kind to all three of those. You guys made each launch wonderful.
We also traveled at the request of our publishers. We met readers in Houston three times, in Seattle twice, in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans, San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, and Edina and it was an incredible experience to talk to people who really enjoy our books and who are invested in the characters.
When I look back at our professional life, it was amazing. We had a few challenges on our personal front, but they weren’t anything too dire. Just simple day to day problems, some because of us, some because of our close or extended family. We went on our first vacation in the last three years and it was so nice.
And therein lies the problem. For the past three or four years, we were always late. Sometimes slightly, sometimes more so, but we were always playing catch up. The pressure to deliver was relentless, some of it publisher-imposed, but a lot of it self-induced. I hate being late on deadlines. It makes me crazy.
So I would sacrifice things that mattered, such as vacations and family trips. I would stop going to the gym. I would stop enjoying hobbies. I would neglect walking our dogs. I walked into the pantry the other day and it was as if I saw it for the first time. It was awful. Thankfully, after a trip to the container store, the pantry is now a thing of beauty, but it took two days of work and four bags of trash. I hadn’t realized how stressed out it made me until it was clean and organized.
I would make little deals with myself. I would promise myself to work smarter, not harder and to take have a life outside work, and I failed every time. A neighbor’s son walked into our house a few weeks ago, looked at me at the computer, and said, “You’re always working.”
So after several years of pushing through, I am burned out. It was such a big year. So challenging and so wonderful, but so big. I need to step away now. I am completely drained. There is nothing left.
What does it mean in terms of our releases, Sweep in Peace, and so on? I don’t know. I haven’t tried to write in a week. I probably won’t try until after my birthday, which is coming up shortly after Christmas. You will know when I know. 🙂 For now, I am going to focus on our family and doing small things that make me happy, like conquering the backlog of laundry and a small heap of presents that need to be wrapped. We bought a lot of small things from Etsy this year.
I hope that you guys have happy, peaceful holidays and I hope we do the same.