I’ve hardly written or read this year. I think last year burnt me out a bit as a writer. I published four books in 2013, producing two of those from page 1 of draft 1, completing a third, and making a valiant attempt to polish a fourth. The reading part? I’ve buried myself in nightly Sudoku-a-thons. I have no valid excuse for slacking off.
I can’t say taking a break from writing has been wrong. It’s given me time to reflect on everything I did last year and learn from it all: the execution of completed works, the publishing process, marketing, networking, fortitude, humility, and perseverance. I now see books from the business side. Books aren’t your babies so much as they’re your product. I’ll never publish a book if my heart and soul isn’t in it but at least now I have a better idea of which books to prioritize writing. You really have to cater to what the market is craving, until you’ve made a name for yourself.
I’ve also taken a stab at marketing and I’ve drawn two conclusions after throwing away a couple hundred bucks: 1) all those sites that have marketing/promotion packages ranging from 5-100+ are a waste of money. There are a zillion desperate authors competing for a day, week, or month of exposure through all these sites that are more interested in making money than selling books. Don’t bother with them, unless you’re doing a free ebook promo, and don’t spend money advertising a free ebook. The only exception is if you have a series to follow up the handout. 2) You need a lot of money to do proper marketing. Honey holes, like Goodreads.com, start at $5,000/month.
On a more positive note, I’ve gotten a table at the Phoenix and Tucson Comicons. I’ll be in Phoenix from June 5-8, and I’m nervous and excited as hell about it. I’m terrified that, when I arrive to collect my Professional badge, they’ll tell me there’s been a mistake and I won’t even have a table. I just want to enjoy the whole experience and hopefully garner a few more fans. I don’t have any delusions of grandeur that I’ll become famous after one con; that weekend will be a stepping stone laid down on a path I’m traveling. Same will go for the Tucson one in November 2014.
And on an interesting note, I’ll be attending the residency back at my grad school this summer. I’ve been asked to speak on the thesis panel, which I happily will, and I’ll be sitting one on one with a literary agent. I’m hoping all the business sense I’ve learned will give me an edge. We’ll see.
Not writing until my eyes burn at the sight of an LCD screen or until my right wrist feels like it’s gonna snap in two has allowed my personal life to grow, more specifically my relationship with Simon. I’ve been a workaholic all my adult life and put off dating for one lame excuse or another.
In all honesty, they weren’t lame excuses. We all yearn for companionship, to love and be loved, to not be alone. Looking back at this past decade, I believe it was all preparation to be ready to have Simon in my life. What point is there in meeting the perfect person for you if you’re not ready to receive them and be the person they need in return? If you’re single and/or alone, what do you need to personally learn in order to be a great partner and lover?
Ironically, becoming boyfriend-girlfriend wasn’t the plan. Yes, we talked extensively about the possibility before I moved in with him, but we started as friends, even though EVERYONE assumed we were dating when they saw us together, even the neighbors. We must’ve had an air of being a couple or something. It wasn’t until back in March, 9 months of living together, when we finally made things official. Simon went from saying, “You’re the best girlfriend I never had” to “You’re the best girlfriend ever.”
I became consciously aware of my behavior towards him. I’ve never gone to such lengths to make anyone happy and comfortable, striving to make sure Simon has to do nothing beyond work, eat, sleep, and be good company. He’s done the dishes a whole twice since I’ve moved in, I do most of the cooking, and I massage his back almost every night. I find joy in simple pleasures, like his reaction to my making Ninja Turtle mac & cheese, or taking turns sticking our tongues out at each other until we crack up and call ourselves retarded (no offensive intended towards anyone).
Almost this entire time I’ve been worrying I don’t do enough for Simon. I’m so used to taking care of myself and, if I want something, I have to get it for myself. I’m financially dependent on Simon to take care of me, something that’s created quite a few sleepless nights over the past year. However, when we attended his grandmother’s 80th birthday party in Cali, Simon and I spoke with a family member who gave me a different perspective on the dynamic of our relationship.
I’m Simon’s cook, maid, accountant, housekeeper, errand runner, secretary, girlfriend, organizer, planner, and more. The fact that my financial contribution is almost nil is moot. Simon gets all of the aforementioned for taking care of me in return, and he’s also admitted that he hopes I become a rich and famous author one day so all he has to do is go fishing and work on cars. Works for me!
I guess part of me has been feeling guilty all this time because I’ve been enjoying life so much and, growing up with both parents working, I felt like I wasn’t doing my part. Simon and I talked about this and he actually prefers to be the sole provider. He feels a sense of duty and all I do on the home front has made his life the best it’s ever been as well.
Writing about this makes me want to cry tears of joy. To make him as happy as he’s made me is a beautiful thing. Our personalities compliment each other perfectly. He loves me to pieces but I’m still catching up emotionally–but I AM catching up. This is one of those relationships that’s started at a slow burn and grows stronger every day. Our goal is to get married by the end of 2014, and then start a family in 2015-16.
Start a family?! That’s a news flash to all who’ve known me for a while now. We had an oopsie in bed that led to needing to buy a morning after pill, which led to us talking about kids. Simon used to have a grandpa who shares the same birthday but, after he died, Simon has avoided celebrating his birthday. If we were to have a son together, he’d want to name him–first or middle name–Carlos, after his grandpa. It’d be like celebrating his birthday with his grandfather again. I’d get such joy out of giving Simon that.
If we’d never had that talk, I’d still be adamant about never having kids. Now I walk around in public, observing child behavior and telling myself that that’s what kids do. The only exception is that there will be no spoiled brats in our house. We won’t be starting a family until after we’re married and have financial stability. We don’t want the strain on our relationship, or the stress of trying to raise kids on an insufficient income. There will always be ups and downs, good times and scary times, but so long as we can depend on each other, things will always turn out alright in the end.
So… first things first: see how much longer Simon’s current contract lasts before hashing out wedding details.