2019 – One of the Worst & Most Important Years of My Life

I had . . . plans for this year.

Thinking back to January, I remember being bright-eyed with wonder and excitement about my creativity.

I don’t remember why.

I’m not saying I lost my love for writing this year. I just got hit by life so hard that I genuinely don’t remember why I was so peppy about my projects when the year started.

The goals were:

  1. Finish editing “Nurture Garden 5” and send it out.
  2. Write a short story for Warframe, a looter shooter MMO I used to play.
  3. Finish as much of The Hand and the Tempest as I could.
  4. Work on my board game idea.
  5. Work on other, smaller ideas I had.
  6. Post here more often.

I got two of those things done and had a really good start on the last one before everything fell completely to shit.

I had a medical emergency that turned out to be a false alarm. It consumed a few weeks of my life, which totally sucked, but it left me with a really positive outlook on the rest of the year. “Holy shit,” I thought. “I’m okay! Life is amazing and every day is a blessing!”

I had maybe a month of that–during which I put in a ton of work on that board game idea–before an extremely abusive (like, genuinely abusive) person came back into my life. In that scenario, which I’ve previously mentioned here, I had to move out of my home. My entire life became consumed by that singular goal so completely that even after I found a new place, I just remained in crisis mode. Like, now that I’d found a place, I had to make sure all of my stuff was secure. Once my stuff was secure, I had to save money. Once I saved money, I had to make genuine steps toward getting a better job. Once I started volunteering at a library’s conservation lab, I finally calmed down enough to start writing again.

So, basically, I moved in the summer, spent three months trying to get settled, and only then picked up a pen again.

I had lost all momentum on Hand and the Tempest. I’d already been struggling with it, but now it was like looking at a wall. The furthest I’ve gotten was realizing that I hated a lot of the new stuff and just needed to cut it out and start over (ya know–typical writer fun).

I actually finished that Warframe short story, but I was right-now-years-old when I remembered that I had. I mean, it’s nice that I did, but writing a short for an MMO, to post on a game dev’s forum, is the most 2018-Louis idea ever. Like, I only did a quick first draft one afternoon, but I . . . do not know what I expected to come of that. Not even sure the devs would’ve read it. Whatever. I’ll post it here at some point, just for kicks.

The only thing I finished was that heavy edit of “Nurture Garden 5,” which, submitted in April . . . still has not received a rejection or acceptance, even after a query. I’m giving it ’til Christmas. Googling “how do I withdraw a fiction submission?” will be my Christmas gift to myself.

Outside of that, I started hoarding ideas.

It wasn’t intentional; it stemmed from my desire to work on small ideas, number 5 on my 2019 to-do list. Oddly, it yielded good results (I actually finished two short stories by pursuing two of the best concepts I had), but the hoarding reflex also got crazy. Like, high-school-Louis levels of idea hoarding (back when I wrote notes about my “books” without actually writing them).

But that’s just how this year worked for some reason. Massive set backs paired with bunches of small victories; one of the above-mentioned shorts was “American Made,” which is probably the cleanest, strongest short story I’ve ever written, but the process that yielded it also totally destroyed my focus. I want to write everything now, which is amazing–it doesn’t escape me that I need to be grateful for that–but I keep jumping from project to project, unable to focus on the tone for any of them.

And that’s where I am now.

The Good: I’ve already submitted “American Made.” I finished another short story (that I’m currently doing way too much research for so I can properly theme it). I have other shorts in the works (an 80’s action movie parody and another dark Sci-Fi), and I’ve started a folder for all of my viable ideas.

The Bad: Every day is now a constant stream of my brain processing stimuli as “a good description for setting b in story a. Or no–wait; would it be better for the theme of story g? Or wait! An intro paragraph to character x’s neighborhood?”

It . . . can be . . . kind of overwhelming.

So resetting–figuring out how to hunker down and work on the one project–is my resolution for 2020.

Maybe I’ll find that I won’t be able to. If that’s the case, then figuring out how to work on a ton of projects at once is my resolution for 2020.

And with that, I’m going to take a break from posting until January.

To everyone here, thank you for stopping by. It’s been a strange year for me, and 2020, for better or worse, is already set to be a rollercoaster.

Here’s to hoping it ends well.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

Published by

Louis Santiago

I'm a fantasy writer based in New York. Recently, my short story, "Aixa the Hexcaster," was published at Mirror Dance Fantasy. You can read it here: http://www.mirrordancefantasy.com/2016/09/aixa-hexcaster.html.