Writing Out The Old In 2014

With 2014 coming to a close in a few days, I’m looking forward to putting this year behind me. Not that 2014 was a difficult year. That honor goes to both 2008 (being eaten alive by bedbugs) and 2012 (my father dying from cancer). With being unemployed for the first half of the year, and starting a new non-writing tech job that demanded much of my time for the second half, 2014 was an unproductive year for writing short stories and publishing ebooks.

Writing daily haiku on Tumblr started off great as a New Year’s goal for the first six months. Plenty of time to write multiple three-line poems while unemployed. That became touch-and-go when I started the new job in Palo Alto, as my initial daily commute required four buses and two hours each way. That changed to three buses and one hour each way when I started taking the express bus. I did get 16 haiku published in various publications. Like everything else this year, daily haiku fell off to the wayside.

My vintage Black MacBook (2006) dying after eight years of faithful service took the wind out of my sails. I wasn’t in a position to get a new Mac anytime soon. Repairing the MacBook was out of the question, as it had an obsolete 32-bit CPU and software updates required a 64-bit CPU. Although I continued my job search on the Windows PC, ebook publishing came to a halt without Adobe Photoshop for creating ebook covers and the Bento database for managing ebook details on the PC. While Windows alternatives do exist, I prefer a Mac to get work done. I’ll get a replacement Mac in 2015.

Writing in general was a mixed bag. After publishing 30+ short stories in 16 anthologies in the last five years, this year was a total bust with ~6,000 words for new short stories and no first serial anthology sales. (Several reprint short stories saw publication in an omnibus collection and an audio podcast.) Between this writing blog and my personal blog, Kicking The Bit Bucket, I wrote ~30,000 words. As I’m frequently reminded by my ebook sales, my non-fiction sells better than my fiction. I’m thinking long and hard about my future direction as a writer.

What 2014 taught me was that I need to set interlocking priorities in my personal, professional and writing lives. After being unemployed for three of the last six years, filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2011, and 20 years away from retirement with nothing in the bank, I need to get serious about my non-writing tech career. Unless I get extraordinary luck (so far I haven’t), being a full-time writer won’t happen until after I retire. Maybe then I’ll have more time for writing, blogging and publishing.