I’ve rather ignored blogging of late. When I moved my main site from Blogger to WordPress a few years back, I guess a lot of people lost touch with my updates – as I did theirs. I think blogs generally went out of fashion, too, as people focussed more on Twitter and newsletters and TikTok and whatever. Maybe that will continue and maybe it won’t, but I do intend to post more – and to write longer updates – from now on. Don’t know if anyone will read them, but I figure they’re a good habit to get into.
First up, a brief review of where I got to in 2022. I stopped working as a software developer (at least, I think I did; plans can change!) and I became a full-time writer (or as much of a full-time writer as I want to be). This was a big moment; it’s something I’ve wanted to get to for years. Decades.
I also completed my MA in creative writing, gaining a distinction. Woo! My 11th novel (The Seven Succubi, the second Office of the Witchfinder General book) was published by Elsewhen Press, and I completed my 12th novel (Head Full of Dark, the third Office of the Witchfinder General book) and had that accepted by Elsewhen Press.
I also had a good year on the short fiction/novella front: I had 26 shorter pieces published (2 in audio, the rest in print). Of those 26, 12 were new stories, the rest reprints. My novella The Clockwork King won the Tales by Moonlight Editor’s Prize.
Despite all this, there were times, I admit, when I decided to quit writing completely. It’s so damned hard to make any real progress and achieve significant success (more of this in later posts, oh yes). There are days when the universe’s indifference becomes too much. Another rejection, a bad review (not that I read the dammed things anymore), another market or agent or bookshop completely ignoring me – it takes its toll.
Then there are the days when a piece of writing works out, a story gets accepted, a reader says something nice, I sell some books – and all is delightful. It really doesn’t take much for it all to seem worth it again.
Full disclosure: I suffer from (fairly mild) depression, and I tend to cycle between (a) thinking that it’s hopeless to try and write because I suck and everyone else is way more talented and what the hell am I doing? and (b) being filled with pure delight at the ideas I want to set down and the books I want to write. I like the latter person a lot more, but they’re both me.
The bottom line, though, is this: I really enjoy writing. The creation of it, the fuck you it sends to that indifferent universe. It’s hugely important to me, and everything I’ve achieved is a source of great pride. I’m not going to stop, probably not ever. I am going to repeat a quote from Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art: “The professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of the work. The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like.”
That. This is me. A professional writer. I’m going to write for the sake of the writing, because I need to set these things down, and the universe can catch up when it gets round to it. Or not. Whatever. It’s only a random pile of atoms and fundamental forces and shit anyway. Why should I care what it thinks? It can’t think. It’s just inanimate stuff.
See, we need to make other worlds, better universes. On with the writing. On to 2023…