Today is my 27th birthday. So, what did I do in the last year? I officially signed my contract with Orbit for a 3 book series of epic fantasy novels.
I edited, copy-edited, and did final pass on Promise of Blood (which comes out in less than 3 months).
I wrote the first draft of book 2.
I spent 11 months self employed as a freelance novelist.
I had my first real family vacation as a working adult. Wife and I spent Thanksgiving with her parents in Vegas, which included a road trip up to Utah.
I'm very proud of myself for what I've done. That contract was signed about seven years after I first said "I want to be a full time novelist." It was a long, hard journey through absolutely craptastic jobs and a college career that was 90% pointless. I was supported through the whole thing by my parents, my wife, my friends, and a couple very awesome mentors. Of course, if I wanted to just pat myself on the back I'd be done here.
What didn't I do?
I didn't write anything else. No short stories, novellas, novels, or even summaries. Book 2 was a real struggle for me. I started several times and probably threw out 100K words worth of content because it just wasn't working.
I didn't lose weight. That was a major goal for the year, and I think I'm actually up 5 lbs from last January. This means I didn't eat well or exercise enough, despite paying out the nose for a really nice gym.
What did I learn?
I learned that I struggle with depression far more than I've previously admitted to myself. This manifests itself in any number of ways, foremost among them avoidance techniques like playing computer games for hours on end.
I learned that I have a hard time with consistency. Every full time author will tell you consistency is key. You have to write, write, write in order to hit your deadlines and pay the bills. I've found that I'm a "do nothing for three months and then pound my face on the keyboard for 14 hours a day" kind of guy and in the long term, that's not going to cut it.
I learned that being self employed is expensive. Health insurance, office supplies. All that crap adds up and it adds up quick.
I learned that if I want to do this for the rest of my life, I need to change. I need to work more and not give in to depression and distractions.