Choices: 2014 in Review

meandjonah

Hey everyone. How’d the holidays go for you? Hope they were fantastic.

So, I come and go around here, blogging well for a week or two at a time and then sort of disappearing, throwing out the occasional, short post, many of which are often just recaps of other articles I liked. I want to be better at blogging, but the thing is, there are only so many hours in a day — and more than that, there’s only so much energy I have for writing stuff, and lately, I’ve been incredibly busy with things that have consumed both my hours and my energy.

Something crazy happened last year. Katie and I had a baby.

Turns out, babies sort of take over your life.

I had no idea. And I can tell, now, that friends who don’t have babies have no idea. Not that I blame them or feel offended by it or anything — they just don’t know. They want to make plans and we’re all like, “Uh, dude, no,” because our lives are diapers and feedings and trying to get things done and trying not to let the house go to crap and trying to remember to feed the dogs and trying to pursue hopes and dreams and whatnot. And Katie and I want to, you know, still have time to have fun with each other, because we sorta like each other and like hanging out together. And we had two weddings to go to in two months, both of which we were in, plus all the holidays, and — life just went sorta bonkers.

In the middle of all that, I had to make some choices of what work to focus on, and unfortunately, the blog was what fell on the backburner.

I’m sorry about that. We have fun around here. I’m planning to pick things back up now that 2014 is behind me and things are settling down somewhat. But I thought you might also like to know what else I’ve been working on, and what some of my 2015 goals are for all of it. I’d also love to hear what you’ve been up to, and what you’re hoping to accomplish in 2015.

My main project, of course, has been Behind The Drive. It’s become something that I think will be pretty special. I can’t say enough about how great Kenney Moore has been to work with on it, and I’ve learned absolutely a ton about life, working, and writing throughout this process, and I can’t wait for you to read it. We’re in the final stages, proofreading and sending it out to advance readers for reviews and blurbs, which is fun. After that, as you may know if you hang out around here much, we’ll be publishing it via Ten22, the small publishing outfit my wife, Katie, and I started. This was an intentional decision: My agent said we could probably get a big publisher to buy it, but that would require us waiting at least another year, probably two, before it would be released, and we figured that since we could put it out way faster with Ten22, we might as well do that. Kenney agreed, so that’s what we’re doing. It’s going to be awesome.

I’ve also been working on a book proposal idea with my agent, but I can’t tell you too much about it yet, except to say that it’s taken a great deal of time and research. That’s been a worthwhile investment, though, because we really think that this book has the potential to be Moneyball-level good and important, so we are, obviously, really excited about that. There’s still a little ways to go before we know whether I’ll land that contract for it yet, but I feel good about it.

My goal with that is to have a proposal ready for publishers by February, and have a deal in place by the end of March.

I’ve also been teaching, just sort of for fun and to see how I like it — and I have loved it. I taught three English classes at a local community college in the fall, and I’m teaching two in the spring (cut back to prepare for the Behind The Drive launch), and it’s been a blast. I don’t have a specific goal with teaching yet. I think it would be loads of fun to eventually land a full-time professor job somewhere, and really work with students to cultivate good writing, because writing is one of the most vital yet underestimated skills for people to learn these days. And I just love teaching it.

Plus, when Katie went back to work, I took on daycare duty to save us $800 a month it would have cost otherwise, so that’s been a fulltime job in and of itself the past however many months. (I’ve completely lost track of time. It’s a problem. The good news is that now we have a daycare person a few days a week — Katie’s mom retired and offered to help out a few days a week, which has been amazing.)

My goal with the kid: Just keep him alive.

Even still, I could have done all of that and kept blogging — but I chose to work on something else.

I love writing nonfiction, but fiction is what first made me love reading and then writing, and I’ve got lots and lots of ideas for novels, and I finally just went for it with one. Started it about three years ago. And somehow, I’ve stuck with it all this time. I mean, I’ve played around with a couple other novels over the past decade, but they’re terrible and nobody will ever read them. This one just felt different, though, and I just kept at it.

I just decided that if I’m serious about writing it, and writing more novels in the future, I needed to get the darn thing done. And I have! I don’t have a title yet, but around Sneed World it’s called The Tommy Book because the main character’s name is, well, Tommy.

It’s evolved from a 75,000-word terrible first draft about a weird island and its weird people to a 200,000-word monstrosity to, now, back down to a decent 150,000-word book that I’m (finally) excited about sharing with people. It’s gone through a couple dozen versions over the years, but over the past few months, I devoted every spare second I could find to it, and now, after three years and 27 drafts — it still needs some work to be as good as I think it can be — it could probably be markedly shorter — but I can also, finally, see a finish line, which feels amazing, and it’s a book that I’m really excited about. A brief overview: A kid goes on something of a cosmic quest to find his father and solve some of his life’s more burning questions, and it turns into a pretty fantastical adventure.

My goal for The Tommy Book is to either have a big publisher buy it from me by fall of 2015, or move forward with publishing it through Ten22 by Christmas. So that’s exciting.

Anyway. So that’s what I’ve been up to, and that’s why the blog has been a bit lacking lately. Sorry about that. I’ll work on getting some good, quality content here for you soon, and in the meantime, I’ll try to at least post more updates about my work.

Hope you all had a great 2014, and here’s to an even better, more productive 2015.

As always, thanks for reading.

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