Wrap-Up Season 2016: It should be illegal how good my life is nowadays

Our country (and the world at large) is sliding into fascism. I feel like I need to preface all my posts with this. Because my life right now is not at all terrible. Rather the opposite in fact. I’m engaged (don’t think I’ve mentioned this on my blog yet). Yes I am engaged to be married!

My book came out to universal love and acclaim (I only read my five star reviews), and since nobody has told me otherwise I presume it’s selling like gangbusters (re: ‘gangbusters’ — can a cliche become so old and disused that you’re allowed to use it again?)

I didn’t write that many short stories this year (four), and I only ever sent two of them out on submission, but one of those sold to F&SF, which is a magazine I’ve been trying to get into for thirteen years. I think it’s my very best story, and I’m ecstatic that it’s out there. My second-favorite story, which was published in Interzone to general silence, has been picked up by Rich Horton for his year’s best anthology.

With regards to the real stuff, my novel writing, I’ve spent most of the last eight months working on a YA novel, Tell Em They’re Amazing, that my agent has just read and told me he’s excited about (which is not a given, let me tell you), and now I’m doing one more revision before I send it to Disney in the New Year. I have high hopes for that one.

On a personal level, I proposed to my girlfriend, Rachel, on…damn, I’ve forgotten the date. Sometime in July. I think it was July 7th. She said ‘Yes,’ as I knew she would. We’d only been together for fourteen months, but I’d known since about the second month that we were gonna be together for life. The wedding is all bolted into place, more or less. We’ve got a venue and a date and a photographer and have sent out invites and done all that stuff.

Life hasn’t been universally amazing. I got severely depressed twice this year, in the spring and in the fall. I had trouble writing. I’m still having trouble. I worried about the reception my book was getting. I had housing-related insecurities (had to leave my place in Berkeley, and now our place in SF also feels a little uncertain). In the wake of my latest depression I abandoned a lot of the record-keeping that I’d been doing. I no longer track how many hours I write or how long I write. I no longer keep daily goals. There are a lot of things I no longer put in my spreadsheet. And, even more, I mostly don’t care about the goals in my spreadsheet. I record them, but I don’t aspire to improve my numbers. This has had an impact on my writing productivity I suppose, but for the last three years my productivity has mostly consisted of writing novels that weren’t very good and that no one will ever read. At some point, I needed to change what I was doing, and that’s what I’ve done. Whether the change was for the better or for the worse is a thing that’ll only become clear with time.

So it’s hard to say whether it’s been a great year. But it’s certainly been a year in which great things have happened, and right now at this moment in my life, I feel like things are, for me, going pretty well.

Normally this time of year I do a ‘Wrap-Up Season.’ I plan on still doing that. I’ve had some writing progress I want to talk about, and of course I want to discuss the best books I’ve read. But just as my posting has become a bit spottier this year, I also think the wrap-up season will be abbreviated, which is why I’m doing a quick run-through right now.

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