2018: Not a roller coaster. More like a pinball machine.

(Image by Steve Berry via Flickr Commons)

This year did not go as planned. I mean, they never do, do they? But this one really went off the rails, starting with my mother’s stroke back in January, one whole week into what until then I thought was shaping up to be a pretty good new year.

I thought that was a glitch and that I could get things back on track once she recovered. But it turns out that that event was simply the plunger being pulled back before sending us careening around the rest of 2018 like an Atomic Arcade pinball (’80s kids represent).

Here are a few of the highlights of our year:

  • We spent a month caring for my sick mom, and let me just say that I’m so deeply grateful that it was only a month and that she made such an incredible recovery in what is really practically no time at all where these things are concerned.
  • We moved. To a travel trailer. Way out in the country…
  • Which kicked off our 8-month experiment in living tiny–me, my husband, our dog, cat and two turtles crammed into a 25-foot trailer. Did I mention my husband and I both work at home? And are both introverts?
  • We got to chicken-sit–and rooster-wrestle–on multiple occasions. Chickens are stressful, y’all.
  • We looked at a lot of real estate, and made a lot of tentative plans, only to see them fall through.
  • Some relationships fell apart, and that’s all I’ll say about that. But we also made new friends and new family who we will always cherish.
  • We moved–AGAIN! To a whole ‘nother state this time, and to a fully house-sized house WAY, WAY out in the country–more precisely, in the middle of the Ozark wilderness.

And that is why we’re ending 2018 plum exhausted. And a bit mystified. If you had told us a year ago that we’d be living in the middle of the Arkansas woods on top of a small mountain by the end of the new year, we would have thought you’d done lost your mind. And yet, here we are–and I’m ridiculously grateful to be here, where it’s beautiful and calm and peaceful and I can hike and introvert to my heart’s content.

With all of that happening, it’s probably no surprise that so much of what I’d wanted to get done this year, particularly publishing both the new edition of Dominion of the Damned and the sequel, Deliverance of the Damned, ended up not getting done. But really, it’s amazing I got anything done at all–and I did. While it’s my usual tendency to focus on my failures and ignore my accomplishments, in the interest of being kinder to myself and focusing on the positive, here’s what actually got done this year:

  • I managed to get through three rounds of publisher’s edits on Bound Spirits despite all of the chaos in my life those first few months.
  • I managed a whole revision of Dominion AND made it through most of my editor’s edits.
  • I wrote an entire first draft of Deliverance.
  • I helped launch Bound Spirits at the end of July.
  • I wrote my first non-fiction book!
  • And I put together my very first online course.

I still feel disappointed that I didn’t get as much traction as I wanted on the Damned trilogy, but I realize that a sane person would think that’s a lot to accomplish in a single year, so I’m going to go ahead and let myself feel proud about that. And put Damned high on the priority list for 2019.

Because I am so worn out from living through 2018, I’m going to tie up some loose ends and then take some time off until after the start of the new year, when I’ll be back to tell you all about the plans I have for 2019. Or should I say hopes, because if there’s one thing this year taught me, it’s that it’s useless to make long-term plans.

How was your 2018? Tell me all about it in the comments.