On the Eve of 2013: Don’t Worry

While taking a walk in the San Diego sunshine, a deep blue sky overhead and the chill air refreshing my lungs, I ruminated on the upcoming year.  What do I need to change?  What can I do to make my life more joyful?  The first thing that came to me was to find a job, but I immediately realized that that made a piss-poor resolution.  Why?  It is not in my control.  I cannot find a job because it involves the interaction and decision-making of others.  I can look harder for a job.  I can expand my job search into other fields.  I can train for skills that might help my job search.  I cannot, however, find a job; all I can do is try.  It’s similar to the situation with my writing.  I cannot sell a certain number of stories to magazines and anthologies.  I can write them and I can send them out but afterwards it’s out of my hands; it is in the hands of others.  I can write books and upload them to sales channels; that much is in my control.  But I cannot make people buy them.

What was really worrying me, though, was my lack of income.  I’ve written and published ten books and numerous stories and essays, and as far as I am concerned they are good books, the best I could make them at the time.  Since I lost my last job writing blog posts (the company discontinued the blog) I have been searching for another job.  My bank account is shrinking and nothing is coming in.  Am I doing what I can about it?  Yes, I am.  I worry, nevertheless, because what I am doing doesn’t seem to be working.  I can reassess and try to do something else, sure, but what good can the worrying do?

Therefore that’s one of the things I want to work on this coming year:  not to worry so much, especially about things out of my control.  I will do what I can, but afterwards I should be joyful that I have done so, not all stressed out that it hasn’t had the effect I thought it would.

2012 has been one hell of a year.  I’ve had many exceptional years in my life, to be sure, but this ranks among the most dynamic for several reasons.  In early February I conceived the idea that I might need to leave Greece and bring some of my sons to the United States to start a new life.  Once I set my sights on the goal I started to work towards it.  I flew to San Diego in early June, to be followed a month later by two of my sons.  We rented a house.  My sons found jobs.  One of them is in his senior year of high school here.  We’re still struggling, but hanging on.

As far as writing is concerned, I published six books in 2012, in print and electronic versions.  They came in two waves of three books each:  the first just before I left for the States, and the second in late November and December just before the close of the year.

First of all, I published my science fiction short story collection “Dark Mirrors: Dystopian Tales”.

Next, I published “After the Rosy-Fingered Dawn: A Memoir of Greece”.  The curious thing about this was that as I wrote the memoir I had no idea I would soon be leaving Greece; at the close of the book I still believe I will remain in Greece indefinitely.  However, less than a month after I finished I had made the decision to leave, as if the writing had given me closure.

Then I published my mainstream novel “The Misadventures of Mama Kitchen”.  This was the longest book I had written up to that time, and took a major effort of proofreading and formatting, but I was very pleased with the results.

During the move and the time we spent searching for housing and jobs and getting used to living in this new land I did not stop writing, but mostly I was writing essays of my impressions of America.  I did, however, go through a brief time, while I was staying at a hotel on the beach, when I wrote a complete fantasy or science fiction story every evening; it was always an adventure, as sometimes I had no idea what I would write about when I sat down to the typewriter.

Onward to November.  The first book I published then, which was the fourth of the year, was the memoir “America Redux: Impressions of the United States After Thirty-Five Years Abroad”.  It’s a collection of the essays I wrote, but I added introductions or afterwords to each of them, and a prologue and epilogue to the book.

Then I published my novella “The One Thousand”, which is a thriller involving vampire-like alien-possessed convicts and a small group of heroes who have to stop them.  This is in print and electronic formats, and before the end of the year I hope to publish “The One Thousand: Book Two: Team of Seven”, which continues the story, in electronic format only for now.

Finally, I published my fourth short story collection “Fear or Be Feared: Fantasies”, which is already available in electronic formats and will be available in print any day now.

Besides these books, I published fourteen individual stories in electronic formats.

I also sold two stories to traditional print magazines; these will appear sometime next year.

If that’s not all, while I was working under contract to supply content for a company’s blog I ghostwrote about three hundred more articles, five a day, six days a week.

Yes, it’s been a productive writing year, despite all the changes.

What’s ahead?  There are so many variables in the immediate future that it is really hard to make predictions.  I will keep writing, that’s for sure.  Nothing will ever change that.  I will make no guarantees on number of words or stories or whatever.  I will set goals as circumstance allows, and I will change them when I need to.  I hope I sell more stories to magazines and anthologies.  I hope many more readers discover my work and buy many copies, setting me free financially to devote myself to writing full time.  Until that happens I will continue to hunt for a job to help supplement my income.

It’s way up in the air right now whether my sons and I will stay in San Diego, or possibly in midyear move farther north.  Time will tell.

One thing is sure, though.  I am resolved to worry less and enjoy life more.

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