Welcoming 2015

confidence2014 was a good year overall. I have no real complaints. My family and I stayed in good health. My mom had a few little health issues along the way, but nothing dramatic, which is something of a shock to all of us. I’ve grown so used to bad news, I’m now at the point in my life where I’m suspicious of any good news, treating it like bait to lure me into a false sense of security so life can hit me broadside once more. I’m not necessarily a negative person, but I am a realistic one, and I’ve been burned too many times to let my guard down.

A lot happened to me career-wise. I lost a publisher (my choice) but I also gained a publisher (his choice). I’m basically very happy with how my work is being received, and I have a good number of prospects on the horizon. Self-publishing continues to be a profitable venture, so I see no reason to quit, although I do plan to diversify some of my work, so you never know where it might end up.

I know it doesn’t seem I’ve done a lot of writing, but most of my year was taken up with commissioned work in an effort to get on top of debt. House repairs have been the main culprit, but we also lost one of our dogs to cancer, and his treatment set us back a long ways financially. I despise asking for handouts, so it’s been my prerogative to work as long and as hard as I can doing whatever writing or graphic design is required to try and get on top of the bills, and little by little, I’m getting there.

Twice this year I almost started job hunting. The first time was during the summer when sales flagged just a little, but when they suddenly picked up, I stopped panicking and told myself to get back at it. The second time was in October when the same happened. Then, no lie, my cat ran off with half my application. I took this as a sign that I should sit tight and see what my royalties looked like before I threw myself back into a panic, as well as the retail fire, where I don’t actually want to be. Luckily, they picked up once more and I was saved–mostly by you readers.

We lost two pets this year, and I lost one cousin. A number of talented writers and online friends also passed. But I’m blessed, or perhaps cursed, with the fact that my family is mostly long gone, so there aren’t a lot of funerals to attend and the shadow of death doesn’t hang over us quite the same way it does a large family.

In the beginning of 2014, I set a goal for myself. I disliked the introverted, morose person I was becoming, so I planned to excise any and all negativity from my life. I mostly succeeded at that. I’m no longer quite so morose, though I do remain rather introverted–I think by nature. I also learned to recognize negativity for the poison it is, and I’ve learned to train myself away from other’s negative energy in an effort to better myself. My goal was to try and be more positive and not assume the worse of everyone or every situation. Despite a few minor slip-ups, I reached that goal.

It’s so difficult to retrain your mind and expectations. I think when you live with enough bad things, they tend to alter your entire perspective. It’s like looking through a kaleidoscope, only the little hole becomes darker and smaller and more fractured with time so it’s hard to find any light or colors. It’s easy to become “that person” who is so angry and embittered with the whole world that no one wants to feel the taint of them standing close by. I don’t want to condemn myself for things I have little control over, and never want to lose hope that I can fix the things that are fixable in my life. I don’t want to be “that person”. I don’t want the negative experiences in my life to win by changing me.

I was going to make 2015 all about positive energy, but I feel more drawn to work on my confidence level–or lack, thereof. Too often, I replace confidence with anger. Anger is, if not my happy place, then at least my comfortable, familiar place, but it’s tough dragging anger around ad infinitum (and ad nauseum). So considering all the sharp, roller coaster turns my career has been taking of late, I think work on confidence will suit me and my work better. Maybe I’ll even be able to shake off all the anger one day, but I know that will take a good deal more work than I can accomplish in just one year.

So happy 2015, everyone! I hope it treats you well. 🙂

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