Last year--by which I mean 2010--was a year that more or less completely sucked for writing for me. I only had one story published, and I only wrote three. I didn't finish any new novels. So when the editor who published that one story noted that hey, end of year, maybe might want to link to the story I'd had published...I didn't have anything else to put it with. There was nothing to talk about. I hate self-promotion. I find it boring, and it goes against my Scandosotan nature. But on the other hand I also hate going to people and saying, "Look, this year I kind of sucked at my work by all objective metrics, look at the suckage!" I felt stuck.
Last year--again, 2010--I was also on a med for the vertigo. It mostly worked, sort of. It had unpleasant side effects, but at the time I did not think that any effect on my writing was one of them. I'm not entirely sure now that I have numbers in front of me, but...I guess we'll see when I go back on it in 2012. Because odds are pretty good I will have to in 2012, and I think it was just where I was with particular projects and levels of cope? and also a couple of other things were not in place that now are? but I can't swear to it. So we'll be keeping an eye out.
In 2011, I finished a major, major rewrite of The True Tale of Carter Hall, and also some smaller-scale revisions so that it was ready to send out. I also wrote twelve short stories or novelettes, and I sold a bunch of things, and a bunch of things came into print. I'm not good at keeping track, but there was:
"Some of Them Closer," Analog Jan/Feb 2011
"The Witch's Second Daughter," Andromeda Spaceways Issue 49 and PodCastle version
Entanglement, Nature 18 March 2011
"Tusk and Skin," Bewere the Night--this was a first for me, a print anthology that wasn't a best-of type reprint
"The Witch's Second," Beneath Ceaseless Skies 25 August 2011
"Modification or Mutation: 8 Ways a Parent Can Be Sure," Daily SF September 7, 2011
And a reprint of "The Six Skills of Madame Lumiere" in BCS's Best Of anthology.
Add to that the fact that I have a whole bunch more things coming out early this year, and I'm feeling a lot better about work than I was this time last year. A whole lot, actually. I know what book I'm going to write next, and it's pretty much ready to start when I decide I am; I have a lot of short story projects I'm excited about, but I've also finished some of the ones that were hanging over my head. When it comes to work, 2011 was a pretty good year, and it puts me in a good position for 2012.
The other thing I should mention here, because it's important to this topic, is that in the middle of 2010 I started sending everything new I write to alecaustin for critique/discussion. (He is doing the same with me.) Alec and I have known each other for more than a decade and critiqued each other's stuff for the entirety of that time, but not nearly this comprehensively. Nor had we tried to co-write anything until this year. This year we wrote three stories together, and we have an idea for a fourth pretty well figured out for next time we have the chance, and also vaguer ideas for further work, including possibly longer stuff. I cannot overstate how good this has been for my work, and it looks like it's doing pretty well for Alec's, too. Win all around.
As for the health stuff...well. I started 2011 doing pretty well and have gradually gotten worse and worse all year. We tried some things that didn't work. It has not been awesome. I'm feeling gloomy because I have a bad cold right now, but even without the cold, I'm falling again, I'm having a lot more times when I am not safe to drive, and...vertigo bad, is what I'm saying here. Objectively non-good. And even when I'm not in the middle of a dizzy spell, I'm feeling a lot more worn down by the combination of the vertigo and trying to cope with the vertigo. This means that something like a cold is catching me in a weakened state and knocking me on my butt.
So. At the moment, the best idea on the table is an attempted rest cure. I'm going to take most of the middle-to-end of January and--just--rest. I won't be writing. (E-mail still welcome.) I won't be cooking. I won't be doing laundry. I won't be running errands. I won't be going out with friends. I will just be resting. This is not magic. But exhaustion and stress can contribute to the condition that causes the vertigo, so we're going to see if we can knock those out a bit and hope the vertigo will get better.
If it doesn't, back on the meds with me sooner rather than later. Nobody--not the doctors, not me, not various concerned parties who know more than I put on the internet--wants me on the med permanently; it's just not a good option for several reasons. But I can do another six-month-or-so course of the stuff to try to get things more manageable again.
I'm hoping very much that this will not slow my writing to a crawl again. But you know what else would slow my writing? Falling wrong and breaking my arm. Etc. So this is what we're going to try here, and I will be hoping to still work well on the projects that are exciting me. But I also hope that I will be kind to myself if that work turns out slower than what I might want. Sometimes that's the hardest part.