My writing career starts today.
Each year for the past three years, I’ve chosen a single word to describe the next step in the 20 year writing plan I came up with in 2007.
In 2007, although I wrote my first novel, I was on sabatical, separating myself from my prior life with its focus on things that had nothing to do with writing.
Then in 2008 and 2009, I backslid. In integrating myself once more into a daily routine, I fell back into old habits, putting too much of my energy into self-help blogging and coaching.
In 2010, I got wise. I decided that the word professional would guide me through the year. And it worked. I focused on my writing, improved my skills and most importantly cut away anything that wouldn’t help me fulfill my writing plans. Yes, I did get a day job, but it was one that I could leave at work, plus my bosses have told me a million times that my job is my job, but it should never get in the way of my writing.
In 2011, I chose consistent as my watchword. Without consistency, a writer is nothing. The only way to build up an income is by producing new work, continually. So I learned to write regulary, even when my muse didn’t feel like it or when life tried to interfere. In that year, I discovered that I need lots of time away from my writing or I resent it. Because of that year of focus on that one aspect of my writing, I’ve developed a pattern of writing that produces lots of words and yet gives me plenty of time off to enjoy time with my husband, my friends and with myself.
My word for 2012 was preparation. It wasn’t an easy year and I wrote very little, but that wasn’t my focus, so it was okay. My preparation included becoming debt-free so that I can save to indie-publish without going into further debt. I balanced my need and desire to write with the other parts of my life. And I read, a lot. I used to run my own business back in my other life and so spent 2012 learning how to apply the principles of running a small business to being a writer in the new publishing paradigm.
The year my word is an active one – the verb start. In 2013, I will publish a short story each month (including a few in Spanish), and one short story collection. I will also prepare two novels for publishing in 2014 and build up the queue of short stories for 2014. I don’t expect instant success, or any success at all. In fact, I expect to fail, over and over. This year is only the beginning. No one can expect to achieve everything at the beginning. Success is something that’ll come in the future.
This year I only need to worry about taking the first steps on the journey to success. I know where I’m headed, but my focus needs to be on the road in front of me, choosing the smoothest, clearest path possible.
And why does that journey start today?
Because today, my first short story of the year is available – in English and Spanish.
They are available in print and electronically at all the usual puchase points:
And to whet your appetite, here’s the intro to the English version. Enjoy!
It took less than a day for Daniel to fall in love with the city of San Sebastian, and by the end of the third day he never wanted to leave. How his mother had been able to trade this jewel on the sea for dirty, damp northern England, he had no idea. Nor could he figure out why she’d never brought him here for a visit. No matter, though. He was here now and not going anywhere any time soon.
He stretched his arms above his head and sat up, marveling at the view spread out around him. From his towel, he could take in everything beautiful about the city in one sweeping glance, from the rich houses that crept up the side of Mount Igeldo off to the left, to the island Santa Clara in the middle of the bay, which when lit up at night looked like a railroad model, to the Old Part scrunched up against Mount Urgull protected from the worst of the winter storms.
Of course, the selection of mostly naked tanned people enjoying the late September sun also made the view more enjoyable. His own Yorkshire pale skin had just begun to get a hint of the color his mother’s genes had bestowed upon him. With luck, he could rid himself of his near-death pallor before winter settled in.
His eyes settled on a topless old woman whose skin had turned to leather from far too many years of lying on the beach and suppressed a shudder. Mental note: too much sun was a bad thing. The image wasn’t helped by the fact that she’d pushed her deflated breasts to either side as she leaned back in her chair. Did she move them around so as not to leave tan lines? He looked up and realized that she’d caught him staring. Blushing, he looked over at her companion, another old lady who sat fully dressed under a large parasol, her stern gaze on a book that she held out at arm’s length. Daniel smiled. His father had done that until giving in and getting reading glasses.
“It’s my favorite view as well,” the leathery woman said in a British accent that rivaled the Queen for formality.
Daniel’s eyebrows rose in surprise. What were they? A pair of eccentric duchesses taking their holidays here? Set the stern one on the beach a century ago and she would have fit in perfectly.
“Do you come to the city often?” he asked and made an effort to keep his eyes off the leathery woman’s divided cleavage.
She laughed and slapped her companion’s leg. The stern woman responded by turning the page of her book.
“He wants to know if we come to the city often, Rowena.”
The reading woman grunted.
“Young man,” the leathery woman continued, “we came once a long time ago and never left. The city enchanted us. Just like it has you.”
“Never leave? I’m only booked into my hostel for a week.”
Never mind that he’d already decided that he would do whatever necessary to stay. These women didn’t need to know that.
Rowena lowered her book to give Daniel a thorough inspection. He wanted to blush again and look away, but her gaze captured him and wouldn’t let him go. After an eternity, she released him.
“Philomona is correct. You are a part of this city now. It will not give you up easily.”
The surety in her voice gave him the chills despite the heat of the sun and sand.
“How old are you?” Philomona asked out of the blue.
“Twenty-one,” Daniel said, then bit his tongue. What business was it of theirs?
“No girlfriend with you or back home waiting for you?”
This time he did manage to refrain from answering. They were getting too personal.
“You must excuse an old woman’s curiosity. We sometimes forget we are no longer as young as we once were.”
She’d been trying to flirt with him? It took all his control to keep his jaw from falling open. They had to be at least a hundred years old, if not more. Beginning to feel a bit creeped out, he pushed himself to his feet.
“Time to cool off a bit.” He jerked his head in the direction of the water.
“Enjoy,” Philomona said.
He nodded and wandered down to the edge of the waves. As he walked away, he thought he heard Rowena say something along the lines of him being a perfect mix, but he dismissed it as his imagination. A mix of what? And perfect for what? He swam out to one of the rafts that floated in the middle of the bay, and after diving off of it a few times, swam back to the beach. The old women were gone by the time he got there, so he lay down for a nap and a bit more tanning before the sun dropped down behind the mountains off to the west.