This is probably one of my most rambling blogs. Just so you all know in advance.
I find it difficult to think in terms of triumphs most of the time. I seem to feel disappointments far more strongly. It's difficult to say whether that's because I have more of the latter than the former, or whether it's pessimism causing me to overlook achievements. More likely a heady mix of the two.
But it really does feel as though my triumphs are very lame.
Starting this blog, all I could feel inspired to do was list off the ways I haven't lived up to my potential. In short, that stuff boils down to the basics. I get way more good reviews than bad, but I barely sell a single book. The only chart successes I have are as a cover artist, and in one instance, as one of the "chaff" authors in an anthology that reached #34 on Amazon. Nice payday for me off that one, and not a single follow-on sale for that pen name.
So, I guess I have to look at things from a different perspective. Those little things which aren't related directly to publishing success, but will probably touch on it.
In 2016, I wrote words every single day. Even when on holidays over in the USA, I made time to scrawl a few words into a journal (sometimes sitting in the hotel bathroom so I didn't have to put on a light and wake the family). I ended up with close to 400,000 written words that year.
The pessimist in me, though, wants to point out that most of that 400k-or-so has remained uncrafted, unedited and most importantly, unpublished.
So what else has happened? Well, as authors, our personal lives are so heavily entwined with our creative lives. It's the same but different for most fields, of course, but on this blog we're focussed on the authory stuff.
In among the other stuff, for me, are some heavily influential events. My special-needs son finished school at the end of 2016. No longer did he have activities and supervision for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. The lion's share of his care is now performed by me, either solo or in conjunction with some paid support workers a few days a week. This has heavily impacted on my ability to concentrate and complete projects.
He turned 18 in March this year, whereupon we lost access to his bank account. A six month process of trying to work things through eventually resulted in us applying for, and receiving, legal guardianship for him. We are legally recognised as the people who can make all his personal and financial decisions. This is excellent...but it cost us a hell of a lot of time, effort and money.
He's a wonderful kid, helpful and thoughtful and funny and weird. It isn't his fault he needs a lot of one-to-one care. But, his fault or not, he needs it, and I'm the one who has to provide most of it.
I suppose my biggest career-based-yet-still-personal triumph actually occurred late last month. In person, I'm socially inept. I'm shy, but I'm also just useless. So face-to-face stuff is hard for me.
Here in my home town (Brisbane, Australia), there was a big author event on. It was called Riveting Reads Australia. Originally, I signed on to appear there in person as Willsin. As the date neared, though, and the pre-order sales stubbornly refused to occur, I realised there was little point in attending. I had no banners, no print books (I was relying on pre-orders to indicate how many I'd need to get...one copy of each was hardly worth it!), and no other swag.
What I did have, though, was a banner, hundreds of books, and some ridiculous swag...for one of my other pen names. So I attended Riveting Reads, all right. As a children's author.
I'm sure to some folks it might seem strange that someone would write dirty smut, and would also write children's books. But it really shouldn't. The two do not mix, even when I'm telling people "yeah, I'm also Willsin Rowe, who writes erotica and erotic romance".
Well, the Riveting Reads turned out to be quite successful for me, with wonderful feedback and excellent interaction with the attendees and other authors. I caught one or two other authors who might have been looking dismissively at my stuff, but they and I didn't otherwise interact so it could easily have been my pessimistic side searching for something that simply wasn't there.
And the biggest triumph of all for me...it feels so much freer in my head now I don't really need to keep the two parts secret from each other.