Kris and I Had An Anniversary Today…
We were married 28 years ago on December 20th on the top of a hill in the middle of a tree farm we owned surrounded by small trees and great friends. We had already been a couple for almost seven years at that point. I remember it as a fun day since we went back to our house in the mountains outside of Eugene with all the friends and had a great dinner.
At that point in time Pulphouse Publishing Inc. had become a shadow of itself, I was still editing the first Pulphouse Magazine and Kris was the editor of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. And were both writing like crazy. I had three book deadlines at that point and was the only one left at Pulphouse, not being paid, just trying to just keep it slightly alive and pay off debts.
No idea standing among the trees that 28 years later we would be living in a penthouse condo in downtown Las Vegas while in the middle of a pandemic. We had no idea at that point that by now we would both be well over a hundred and fifty more novels each and more hundreds of short stories than I can count, not mentioning all the nonfiction books and other writing projects.
28 years is a long time and a short time.
Now, on previous anniversaries we would always go out to a nice dinner, the best we could afford at the time (some years were very lean in those 28 years.) Then we would often go to a movie, one that we both wanted to see and had saved for the day.
Well, not this year, of course. Kris ordered us some wonderful bacon-wrapped steaks and I broiled the steak and we added some Tater Tots and had Christmas sugar cookies for desert. Then we went out for a walk. (We both had been working all day.)
Then we watched a fun, but not well-done Christmas movie. All inside and safe. It was a very, very nice day.
While having dinner in the alcove looking out over the city, we talked some about the coming year.
Now going into 2020 I had been excited for a lot of things. Writing, licensing, publishing and maybe playing in the World Series of Poker. So today, talking about 2021, I found myself very hesitant to put much weight on the new year. I was going to be glad to see it, but more like looking through my fingers waiting for the next major stupidity to hit.
But it is possible to look at 2021 on the track things seem to be on.
First off, the vaccines are going to take time, so we are going to lose a lot of good souls between now and when this finally clears next summer or early fall. And the economic destruction is just off the charts and no telling how long that will take to recover. For some, it never will.
Kris has been doing a series of great blogs about all that in the publishing industry. She explains very well how traditional publishing is in deep trouble in a lot of ways, some of which will not show yet. But we indie writers have gotten through this so far pretty well on the economic side.
Not so much on the personal side.
From the hundreds of writers I have talked to over the last few months, it is clear that about half of the writers didn’t write as much as normal in 2020 (if at all) because of Covid and the election in the States.
About half of the writers managed to stay close to 2019 writing levels or actually increased production.
But almost all selling indie writers I talked to had book sales go up in 2020.
So sitting there at dinner tonight I felt confident for the first time that I might be able to see 2021. Vaccines and the new administration are going to help a lot to level things out.
But thinking I might be able to see it and believing what I can see are two different things completely.
2020 just knocked any possibility of real belief in a new year out the door.
But I can still plan, and that’s what I am doing and I suggest all of you do the same. Plan for 2021 to be what you can see now. Not a normal “before times” year, but a year of recovery.
And that starts now with staying home like Kris and I did today. Make the best of your situation and work to stay alive. That’s first. I know the holidays are coming and we will all miss friends and family, but if you and they are alive next year, it will be even better.
That is a plan for 2021.
Set writing and publishing and exercising goals. It took me a number of weeks recovering from some injuries before I realized my exercise goals for 2021. I’ll talk about them later. I got my publishing goals set, including Smith’s Monthly returning monthly. And I am forming some writing goals.
All of that looking ahead, looking at Covid, at the vaccines, at the new government, and planning what I can.
Again, belief is a fleeting thing, but that does not change the planning.
Do I believe everything I am planning will happen? Put it this way, I hope it will happen and I am going to work for it to happen.
And I hope that for our next anniversary in December next year, Kris and I can be in a nice restaurant having an expensive dinner and celebrating.
And I hope all my friends and all of you reading this will make it that far as well. I’m really tired of so many friends dying.
Here is to a lot of writing and publishing in 2021. And staying safe in the process.