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Friday, December 19, 2014

LOOKING BACK AT 2014 - Reflection of a Writer's Year

I'm sitting here in my bronchial pneumonia haze, hoping I get better for Christmas, and trying to slough through edits that are overdue. Bear with me if I don't make a lot of sense. I find my stuffy ears and nose are helping me focus, of all things. Who knew being sick had its perks?

We just got back from a wonderful trip, a cruise from Italy to the Caribbean, and 3 fabulous days in Disney World with our children and grandchildren. I would do the whole trip again, except that my husband took ill and so, being in a tight space for so long, of course I got it just as we were coming home. But the trip was fabulous. Beautiful blue water and beaches--things I crave now sitting here with the rain pouring down. I had that cheeseburger in paradise, found a place I want to go to rent a
little cottage by the beach for a month next year. I'd wanted to do a writer's conference in Italy, but I've decided to do this instead. I need solace. You'll see why.

It's been a productive year. Loved the post yesterday about boxed sets and yes, I've done a bunch of those too, 7 to be exact. They are time consuming, but helped my ranking, even if they didn't throw a lot of sales to my other titles. I still think they were worth it in terms of hitting lists, namely 3 times NYT in 9 months. I even hit a USA/Today list in my own boxed set, Ultimate SEAL Collection, which was nice.

I've released four SEAL Brotherhood books this year, books 5-8, am about to release my first paranormal book in nearly two years, Underworld Queen, which is also a continuation of my Guardians series, wrote one SEAL novella for Bella Andre's Game For Love world, SEAL's Goal, and co-produced, with my awesome storyteller, J.D. Hart, 10 audio books this year. I've attended ten conferences.

This year has gone by so fast I can hardly believe it's nearly over. When I run into people who tell me, wistfully, "Oh yea, I'd like to write a book some day. I have a really great story in mind..." and then they go on to tell you something you have a hard time following, I sit back on my heels and nod like the Pope and say internally, "Bless you, my child." Now I know what other writers were thinking when they warned me about giving up my career as a Realtor to write full time.

Being a writer is hard work. Sometimes the work isn't equal to the pay (blinding flash of the obvious here), not like in a "real" job where you show up and you get paid, sometimes regardless of how much you get done. You may work for months on a project and get paid very little, or much later, like a year to eighteen months later, or sometimes not at all. We have to pick and choose what we get involved in, where a good use of our time lies, and which people to surround ourselves with. We have to stop chasing rainbows and just do what we can. No one can do it all. And what works for one author, might not work for another. And we have to stop comparing ourselves to other authors. Ouch, that one hurts. If you're doing it right now, stop it!

Now we have Facebook changing the game as far as promotion, taking down pages and not not allowing promotion. Some who haven't paid attention to these changes are going to be disappointed with the results. The rest of us have to learn how these new mandates affect the most effective and free method of advertising our books. We have to find another way.

I just think about the premise of my Guardians Series: Heaven isn't 100% perfect by design, the Underworld isn't 100% evil by accident. That just about sums up my year, a year of pleasant and not-so-pleasant accidents, in a well-planned and orchestrated year that wasn't nearly 100% perfect.

Next year? Yup, I've normally got that all planned out by 12/31. Sort of my personal rule that stuck from my years coaching Realtors. But just like I used to tell them, in getting ready for the next year, your most important ally is your attitude.

So, here's my New Years advice for writers out there: Smile. Be resilient. Learn to say no, but don't be afraid to say yes. Learn to thank people more. Accept defeat and disappointment with grace and dignity. And keep doing what you love. 

Happy Holidays, everyone. And may you start the best year of your life in a few days!

Sharon Hamilton
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.


18 comments:

Rose Anderson said...

I enjoyed your writer's reflections post, Sharon. Loved the cheeseburger in paradise. :) I hope you feel better soon. Happy Holidays.

Sharon Hamilton said...

Thank you so much, Rose. We'll all survive, won't we. But nice to be part of such a warm, loving circle here. Thanks and the very best to you as well.

julie beasley said...

Hop you feel better soon. Really enjoy your posts and all the best for next year.

Judy Baker said...

Enjoyed your post. Your trip sounded wonderful except the part about getting sick. I'd love to go to Italy. I wish you and yours and very Merry Christmas and the best to you in the New Year.

Sharon Hamilton said...

Thanks, Julie. I'm much better, thanks. Love sharing our journeys and the Holidays with all of you. All the best for you as well.

Sharon Hamilton said...

Judy, so glad you enjoyed it. Italy is a wonderful place to visit. I think just getting a feel for how people outside of our home celebrate the holidays is a pure joy to me. You'll love it when you get there. I had to wait quite a few years to go back, but it was worth the wait.

Polly McCrillis said...

With all you packed into the year you must have had to schedule in Breathe somewhere! Wow, did you ever accomplish a lot, Sharon! Great, inspirational post. Happy Holidays......Breathe!

Cara Marsi said...

Sharon, your trip sounds wonderful. I certainly see why you needed it. You're one busy lady. Thanks for the inspiring post. You reminded me I need to pay more attention to what FB is doing. Merry Christmas to you!

Paris said...

Happy Holidays, Sharon! Hope you're better very soon.

Melissa Keir said...

Awesome post! You were really busy this year but also in good ways like enjoying the cruise and spending time with your family. That's what I'm going to do this year. I've made up my mind finally! All the best!

Sharon Hamilton said...

Thanks, Polly. Yes, I took on a lot and I think paid the price a bit later in the year, but I'd probably do it all over the same again. And breathing would have helped me with the drama. There was more drama than there needed to be, but I learned.

Sharon Hamilton said...

Thanks, Cara, yes, the FB changes are going to affect a lot of people. There are some great discussions on some loops. I'm sorting through the information and consulting a couple of people who are paid to know these things, but we'll be changing the game a bit in 2015. And, to be honest, I'd rather have more connection than promotion, anyway. So it's a good thing.

Sharon Hamilton said...

Thank you, Paris. As I write this, I'm nearly hacking-cough free!!

Sharon Hamilton said...

Melissa, thanks, yes it was a good kind of busy. I survived, but moreover, I learned a ton. Gave back a lot, and probably should have been more patient with myself and others, but as I said above, I've learned. And family and dear friends are my world, even though I do like to hang with my hunky heroes.

J.D. Hart said...

Your post made me laugh and cry. As you reflected over this past year I found myself reflecting over my own past year as well. I'm overwhelmed with an attitude of gratitude that you came into my life and have been the best part of my life this past year. I suffered a great deal of loss this past year and without our friendship and collaboration, I just don't know if I would have gotten through it. You are the quintessence of grace, beauty and dignity. You have been my best friend and mentor through some very tough times this past year. I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart. Please feel better soon my friend. Keep writing those amazing stories that teach us how to love and how to have faith. This world is a much better place with Sharon Hamilton in it. I am blessed to know you and have you in my life. Merry Christmas my Angel!

Sharon Hamilton said...

Thank you, J.D.!!! You are indeed my angel as well. It has been such a rich and rewarding year for me (and a productive one). You and your kind heart and our deep friendship have inspired me, given me the energy to achieve new heights. I know this year has been a touch one, and it is the greatest gift at Christmas to know that I have helped in some small way. We will be lifelong friends. My books wouldn't be the same without your voice and spirit uplifting them, and me. Thank you too. I am even more blessed!!!

J.D. Hart said...

We be sailin'in smooth waters into the sunset me hearty!!!

Sharon Hamilton said...

Indeed, my prince.

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