Colleen's Take on 2008

I enjoyed Joni's recap of the year so much that I thought I'd share, from my point of view, the highs and lows of my 2008 writing life. One more year and we'll officially have a tradition.

The Good
Compared to 2007, where I was slapped down by a debilitating viral infection that rained down all kinds of nasty repercussions, '08 was a year that brought both physical healing and much-improved focus. It brought, too, a bit of badly-needed equanimity as I settled into a relationship (one that began in 2007) with a terrific new agent, saw the publication of my fourteenth novel, Triple Exposure, and agreed to write two more romantic suspense novels for Dorchester Publishing.

I count among my year's blessings my first final in the Daphne Du Maurier Awards (for Head On, a 2007 release), a number of lovely reviews and reader letters, and a small flurry of foreign sales and publications. In addition, I've kept busy speaking to writers' groups and penning writing-related articles. A teacher by trade and personality, I derive a great deal of satisfaction from these and other mentoring activities.

I'm continually grateful as well for the many close friendships I've developed as a result of writing. Whether I need a pal to yahoo with me over some good news or someone to talk me off the ledge when I'm having a crisis of confidence (as does every writer I know), I have a number of good friends I can count on, as they can count on me.

And last but not least, I wanted to mentioned how thrilled I am to live in a country, culture, place, and time where creativity is celebrated. From television and movies to novels, nonfiction, plays, poetry, music, dance, the visual arts and beyond, our world is alive with artistic vision. Not always the Capital-A Art and not limited to dusty classics, but the living, breathing, growing, changing little-a arts that add so much color and texture to our lives.

The Bad

During the first half of 2008, I was still feeling a lot of fallout from the Virus from Hell. I didn't get out nearly as much as I would have liked, and I completely fell out of the exercise habit. Though I managed to get quite a bit of work accomplished, I feel sluggish and slackerish, like a flabby, middle-aged woman treading water as the Michael Phelpses of this world go streaking past. I'm hoping that a brisk daily walk will signal to my subconscious that it's time to really get much more productive and quit goofing off, and I'll regain the energetic confidence and tolerance for "informed risk-taking" needed to keep boxing octopi!

The Ugly
Compared to so many others, my family and I emerged unscathed from Hurricane Ike, but it certainly blew me off course for awhile. Already hard on the heels of a tight deadline, the power outage and general upheaval forced me to ask for my very first deadline extension. Though the book was turned in only two weeks late, I've felt way behind (see the old postcard from Bob Weeks' collection) ever since.

Like many others in this economy, I look toward 2009 with a bit of trepidation but thankfully, a good deal of hope that I'll be able to see beyond the stress and to the opportunity.

So how about you, brave BtO readers? What in your opinion was the best and worst of this past year?


Christie Craig said…
Ahh, Colleen,

It so good reflect. Thanks for the blog. For me, reflecting on the year’s good, bad and evil reminds me of what I've accomplished, what I need to work on, and all the blessings that came my way.

I've had a few up and downs worrying about my parents' health this year. Something that most everyone has to face. To counter that, my daughter is pregnant with my first grandchild. I’ve managed to exercise more this year, but still managed to pack on some extra pounds. I want to say it has to be all muscle. (You do believe it, don’t you?) And it has nothing to do with a lack of will-power to good Italian dinners and chocolate.

I've had some accomplishments with my writing--and after so many years banging on that door with no answer, there are times it still feels as if I’m just dreaming. If anyone ever wonders if the time you give to you dreams is worth it, let me say that it is. I don’t regret one hour of the years of work I put in. Then again, I've had to confront the consequences of those writing accomplishments--deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. I'm not whining, just still trying to learn to balance career, family, friends, and "me" time. I think this will forever be a goal I work on. Hopefully, every year I’ll get better at it.

Thanks for the blog.

vicky said…
Great post, Colleen. Actually 2008 turned out really fantastic for me. In Jan/Feb, I spent 2 weeks in London and Paris courtesy of my job (J'aime Paris!). I won some writing contests. I signed with a fabulous agent. I only had minor damage from the hurricane and my landlord fixed it fast.

The only bad thing was a nasty tooth abscess, but I found out I have great dental insurance. And my dentist reads romance - how cool is that?

As I end the year, I'm grateful to be employed and to have gotten a nice bonus as well. Happy New Year, Colleen!
Thanks for stopping by, Christie. I know this has been an exciting year for you!

Glad to see you here, too, Vicky! Congratulations on your outstanding accomplishments. I have every confidence a book deal will be on your next year's list.

And I read at Galleycat that romance sales are actually *up* this year. So take that, harbingers of doom!

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