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breeden
ursulav

Year! In! Review!

Well, 2015 draws to a close, and I think I speak for most of us when I say "Wait, how is it not still October?" I think I lost the last quarter of the year somewhere.

It was a year. Yep. Twelve months, apparently.

Let's see. Professionally, it was quite a year. In 2015, I published four books and re-released another--Castle Hangnail, Hamster Princess 1, and Dragonbreath 10, as Ursula Vernon and Bryony & Roses and Seventh Bride as T. Kingfisher. Three short stories--"Pocosin," "Wooden Feathers," and "Telling the Bees." Sold 3 more hamster books and a standalone middle-grade novel, wrote and sold two short stories and a novelette that will be out next year. And got my first movie option, to Disney, for Castle Hangnail.

In prep for next year, I finished off art for Hamster 2, did all the art for Hamster 3, and the art for Dragonbreath 11. (That's around 350 drawings, all told.) I also wrote Dragonbreath 11, Hamster 3, and am about halfway through both Hamster 4 & another standalone, Illuminations. Finished The Raven & The Reindeer as T. Kingfisher. (Books often span multiple years for me, so I'm never sure how to record them. Here--"Worked on other future books." There, that should cover it.)

Also, I won a Nebula and a WSFA Small Press award and got an Alfie and got nominated for a World Fantasy Award, which basically went down and ticked off a bunch of boxes on the 'ol life goal front.

I am still a little boggled by all that. It would be hard to top 2015 in terms of professional goals accomplished. I'm on track for almost the same number of publications next year, lord willing and the creek don't rise, but I'm really quite okay if things take a bit of a breather in 2016.

Creatively, I did fairly few paintings last year that weren't for a book, but I did at least four I'm quite proud of. And I started doing these weird little journal pages, which is probably the greatest accomplishment of the year, and they clicked somehow, because I didn't get bored with them after doing three, which is my usual M.O. Recorded a bunch of podcasts--like 150 Hidden Almanacs, if my math isn't wrong, and a couple dozen KUECs.

In the garden, I laid a couple thousand pounds of stone, finished off one of the paths, got the front Under Control (at least for a few years.) Grew a lot of beans, one perfect squash, a bunch of cherry tomatoes and ground cherries, and All The Peppers, including the terrifying Carolina Reaper. I also cracked 500 species recorded in the garden! (Mostly moths.)

When I look over all these things, it seems like the story of whales eaten one bite at a time--huge projects completed just by plugging away, day in and day out. Which is basically what I'm good at.

In travel, went to Botswana. Which was amazing. The big thing. This will be the year I remember as "the year I went to Botswana." It was huge and wild and mind-boggling. Did a few local trips in the US as well, did some birding, did a book tour, met a lot of people.

Personally is where the year got hard. We lost both Brandon the dog and Angus the cat at the beginning of the year. Brandon was expected, somewhat, as much as you ever expect these things, but Angus was out of the blue. Our eventual quest to get another dog was much more fraught and stressful than expected, but near the end of the year, we wound up with Lacey, aka New Hound, aka Houndoom, who is a lovely, loving, cheerful dog. (She thinks her name is "Sweetie-bear" but as she does not come when called, this is not a problem.) We also got two new kittens, Tiny Orange & Tiny Tortie, who have real names which no one uses, except occasionally Kevin.

And this was the year I finally went down for the anxiety count, and had to go back to meds. Which was a damn good thing, ultimately. Too many whales to eat, I think, and too much stress on top of it. I hope that next year will run a little more smoothly as a result.

But, y'know, Kevin and I continue to enjoy each other's company and have each other's backs. I have hobbies I like (and when the garden gets away from me, as it always does sometime in the summer, I have video games.) I have projects that I still like poking at, and people keep paying me to make weird podcasts and write weird books.

So--mixed bag of a year, all around. Great stuff, terrible stuff, a lot of stuff in between. Which is life, after all.

Happy upcoming 2016 to all!

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Is there anything we, as your buyers/fans/friends/random people, can do to help with the anxiety?

Nah, you guys do plenty! And honestly, it's mostly chemically sorted. I just have to keep on top of it and realize that when it starts to act up, it's not all in my head and there's a fix for it.

I'm absolutely flabbergasted how much you can accomplish given that you have a mood disorder. I'm giving myself high-fives for getting the dishes done most days.

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Honestly, given the number of artists I know with anxiety disorders, I think the productivity is frequently linked to that. "Work or The Nameless Bad Thing Will Happen" lurks in the background of a lot of our brains.

In some ways, I'm finding it's a trickier beast than depression. Depression kills your productivity completely, so you KNOW the meds are gonna be better, but anxiety can ramp it up until it falls over into burnout, so you gotta kinda balance the workload with the point where your brain will red-line.

Yeah. I have Anxiety=>Burnout flareups every so often. Usually my life is such that I've got it mostly balanced without meds and/or therapy, but my friends have standing orders to kick me back to the therapists if I hit certain thresholds. One year, I washed the walls. With soap and water. Burnout often manifests as mania for about 2 days before I crash into super-bleak depression, so it's really important to catch it before it hits that stage.

But the Anxiety Fueled Productivity can be really productive while it lasts! Or before it rips your stomach lining to shreds.

I remember the time I started in on wall-washing. It always seems like such a good and necessary idea at 4am.

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Also works for other kinds of 'work or...'
I'm bipolar. I have a small farm and a full time job. The job is 30 miles from the farm. And I'm middle-aged and single. It's HARD. It also helps keep me as close to sane as I ever really get.

I have the ever-so-lovely combination of bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder. What this basically means is mania = "WHEEEE DO ALL THE THINGS START NEW PROJECTS EVERYTHING IS GREAT WHEEEE" followed by depression = "Everything sucks, what's the point, it's not worth it". Anxiety operates with both of them, being that the anxiety affects the mania because I get anxious about actually fucking enjoying writing. It affects the depression because I get anxious about not doing anything.

Fuck my brain chemistry. Fuck it hard. -_-

That is a truly impressive year!

I am amazed and tired by proxy that all that happened in one year. I and my kids am incredibly grateful for your work ethic and the wonderful things it lets us read.

I guess this is a good place to let you know that I picked up "Hamster Princess" as a Christmas gift for my 9 year old niece and she's already finished it and eager for more.

-- Steve thought she'd be reading it on the plane back to Switzerland, but guesses (made obvious by a moment's reflection on his own childhood) that nothing can hold back an avid reader in full flood.

Here's to 2016 and all the best to you!

You can call a dog or cat anything. the trick is to find the name that they like and will answer to.

Internet stranger sez: Witnessed! (Cheering the good, sharing mourning of the bad, and O_o on the weird.)

Fingers still crossed on that movie option, because that would be AWESOME.

Your year sounds more productive then mine, as I am just glad I got my first novel to the "pass out for edit" stage and started slowly building a second. Then again, I have an office day job and two full time kids and am single. So, yeah. Hi Orange! I'm Apple.

I adore my copy of Dry Season Only, I just got my In Their Own Worlds prints (you and Digger look AWESOME!) and I'm a Hidden Almanac Saint, so Fan wise, this has been a spectacular year!

Thank you for being you and bringing the cute, the weird and the power of gardening to this small fan in upstate New York.

Blessed Be!


Love, Light and Laughter in 2016!

*and sushi, red vines, garden sculpture, new birds, and time to stop and just enjoy!*

May you have a Great Gray Owl in your yard! [And be sure to get a photo of if for the NC Bird Records Committee.]

Then a Snowy Owl.

And may you get weather cool enough so everything doesn't sprout ....

My wife, library_lynn bought us a copy of Castle Hangnail and loved it. So you've got a new fan in SoCal.

-Chaz (the guy who brought you cough drops)


Edited at 2015-12-29 02:41 am (UTC)

Can I send you a bucket of Red Vines? :D

> In travel, went to Botswana

The political economy of Botswana is a fascinating story and a direct cause of its relative success in the region.

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