As the year approaches its end, I tend to suffer from an increasing sense of melancholy. And as a result – though it may seem counterintuitive – I always become more productive.
Perhaps the short days remind me that time is passing and so I need to make the most of it (I don't know about you, but somehow I feel more mortal on a winter's evening than on a long and lazy summer's day). Perhaps it's the sinking feeling that another new year is coming, and then another birthday, and this time I'd better have something to show for the milestone. Or perhaps it's a throwback to the days when I used to distract myself from school by writing fantasy (is there anything bleaker than the month of November when you're a socially awkward teenager?)
Whatever the reason, it was in autumn 2008 that I first joined an online writing community and, with great fear and trepidation, posted an early draft of my book Dawn Rising.* And I learned that while revealing myself to other writers was hard, my work would become infinitely better as a result.
It was in autumn 2009 that I won my first ever paid writing contest. And I learned that maybe, just maybe, I could earn money from what I was doing.
It was in autumn 2010 that I returned to the same writing community with several projects – including, briefly, the first draft of Darkhaven. And I learned that I had improved in two years, and perhaps I was nearly ready. Nearly.
It was in autumn 2011 that I started blogging. And I learned that sometimes a few hundred words a week can seem like an insurmountable hurdle, and sometimes they are an insurmountable hurdle, but if you can achieve them then maybe you can achieve a snippet of dialogue. Or a scene. Or a chapter.
It was in autumn 2012 that I submitted Darkhaven to Voyager. And I learned that even after 16 months, if it isn't a no then it could very well be a yes …
And here we are.
So what have I been doing in autumn 2014? Well … writing a book. Editing a book. Proofreading an anthology. Writing a short story or two, or three. Designing a set of bookmarks. Raising a baby.
Yep, it's autumn all right.
And I'm learning that I work best under pressure. And that it's possible to write from the point of view of a bad-ass mercenary while breastfeeding. And that selling a book is just the beginning. And that I will always, always have more to learn.
Above all, I'm learning that I should be thankful for the autumn blues. Because without them, I wouldn't be where I am right now. And where I am is good.
* I had to look that up and yes, it's been SIX YEARS. Wow.