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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Once More Into the Breach

Rebel that I am, I've decided to take back what belongs to me.

I spent all year contemplating what I wanted to do next in my life. My biggest problem is that I have more interests than I have years left so I really want to make my choices count.

And then there's Greg. We'll be living together again (full time) for the first time in 14 years. There's bound to be some acclimation. My space. His space. My time. His time. ...our time.

So after a great deal of thought, I've decided to stop writing/publishing for at least two years. The next twelve months will be brutal. What with the extra travel, selling the other house, moving Greg here, and getting used to a full time husband again, something has to give.

I want to concentrate more on the cover art business, which brings me enormous pleasure. And then there's the homestead, which requires fewer, though still earnest hours daily. But mostly, I want to spend some long-absent quality time with Greg. 

I'm always reminded about people on their deathbeds. They always say what they regretted most was not spending more time with loved ones. I'm determined not to let work dominate the rest of my time on earth. 

I've done more work than any three mules put together. I deserve some time--not for the world, or posterity, or vanity, or even for money--but for myself.

The writing isn't the only thing going away. I just gave up a long-time freelance job editing a big SFF newsletter.

None of these decisions came easily. I'm more than halfway done with an urban fantasy that crackles with personality and will probably be my best book yet. It'll be put away as soon as I finish it--at least for a couple of years.

Two years is not such a long time. I think it will fly. And who knows what 2016 will bring by then. I may give up writing all together. Or I might write a dozen more books. Either way, I'm satisfied that I reached some level of success in publishing.

If for some reason I don't go back to writing, I can still say I did pretty good, and move on with a clear conscience.

In the meantime I'll keep blogging here and on Back to Basics, telling you tales about the homestead and all the interesting things I learn along the way. And I'll keep designing covers and other graphics, so recommend me to your friends if they're in search of an experienced designer.

It's a little scary, but also exciting. There are so many things I want to do now that Greg will be home for good.

Have you ever made a momentous decision that threw you into unknown territory? How did it work out for you?

Do you have any big plans for 2014? What would you like to accomplish in the next year? 

And how will you be spending the last day of 2013? 


Mark K said...

A very Happy New Year for 2014, Maria :)

Dru said...

Happy New Year Maria!

Darke Conteur said...

I know making a decision like that was hard. I've had a few writer friends do the same, and they echo your sentiment. It's a hard choice, but we support you with any decision you make. Re-connect with Greg. The stories will always be there.

Happy New Year!

Maria Zannini said...

Mark: Back at ya, buddy.

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: Happy New Year, hon.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: It was a difficult decision. And I'd like to think I'm not shutting the door, just leaving it ajar until the next time I go through. :)

Stacy McKitrick said...

Wow! 14 years apart? I can't even imagine. Being apart from my husband for a year (while he was stationed in Korea) was probably the worst year of my life!

As for my momentous decision: it happened at the tender age of 17 when I decided to join the Army. Had NO IDEA what I got myself into, but it was the best thing I ever did. I wouldn't have met my husband otherwise.

Happy New Year, Maria. While you're giving up writing, I'm glad you're not giving up blogging. I'd miss you!!

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: Aw, thanks!

You know your story reminds me of a friend I had when I was 17. She up and joined the Marines--and tried to convince me to join too.

I sometimes wonder how my life would've changed had I gone that way.

Renee Miller said...

Anyone who knows you, knows you didn't make this decision lightly. I'm in awe, because it takes guts to set aside such a major part of your life, even when it makes sense to do so. Good for you. Enjoy your time, both with Greg and yourself. You've definitely earned it.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Wow, that must have been a tough decision, but I think it's the right one.
My hubby takes off work a lot--especially in the summer. He works on commission so yes, he could be making more money, but he always thinks he'll never be on his deathbed wishing he had worked more instead of spending time with his family. :)

2014 is the year I'm going to write a YA. Oh dear. I actually said it out loud. Now I'm stuck. LOL

Happy New Year!!

Sarah Ahiers said...

Was that the OWW newsletter? Or another one?
And i pretty much gave up writing for a year a few years back. For much less magnanimous reasons, though.
I think you'll handle everything amazingly.

Maria Zannini said...

Renee: I really struggled with the decision. I'm still not sure I won't have some residual panic attacks thinking I should be writing. :)

Hopefully, writing the blogs will ease my conscience.

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer: We have you on record now. No turning back.

This time next year we better see some YA out of you. (I think it's the perfect segue for you.)

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: It was indeed OWW. 6+ years I edited that newsletter. I can't believe it's been that long.

I think sabbaticals are good for everyone sometime in their lives. How else will you know what else is out there unless you try it?

Anonymous said...

What a huge decision. Although I don't really know the situation with you and your husband, I understand about devoting time to him and to your relationship. I've done something similar on a smaller scale. When my husband retired, I made a promise that I would let his schedule dictate mine. He'd had major heart surgery just a couple of years before retiring, and I'll tell you true - he's far more important than any "job" I have to do, whether that's writing or teaching childbirth classes. So enjoy these two years with your husband. I think you'll see some benefits as well - it's a good chance to notice the world around you and understand how you fit in. That can give you more clarity in your life.
Have fun, good luck, and happy new year!

Angela Brown said...

That is a big decision to make but one I can fully support. You and Greg really deserve some much needed "you guys" time. And as you mentioned, you've accomplished a nice level of success. Taking a lengthy break is well deserved.

I'm sure the years will fly by faster than expected. Heck, 2013 sped by so quickly I'm still trying to figure out what happened lol!!

I'm looking forward to 2014 and embracing my decision to spend more time with my kiddo, writing and reading. I'll still be publishing but doing a better job of putting family first when it comes to the promos and marketing.

May your 2014 be prosperous and filled with more than you can hold in the all the world.

Big Hugs!!

Maria Zannini said...

Marlene: It's obvious from your comment that you know where I'm coming from. I can totally understand how his heart surgery brought things into perspective.

I like too what you said about noticing the world around me more too. That could be nothing but useful if and when I return to writing.

Thank you for sharing.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: You will never regret spending time with the Chipmunk--and neither will she!

And unlike me, you have an extra 25 more years to play with, so there's plenty of time yet for everything you want to accomplish.

I hope 2014 brings your wishes to fruition. You've worked long and hard on them.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I admire your resolve, but I wonder why you decided to just put writing away instead of saying you're not going to lock yourself into it or make yourself feel guilty for not doing it? If you have some free time and want to tinker, why not? Or is it that you know yourself and know you couldn't ever do it casually?

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: It's all or nothing for me. Whatever I do, I immerse myself completely. This past year, I noticed how other things kept pulling me away from writing and that's when I knew something had to give.

I'm kind of looking forward to the sabbatical. It'll give me more time to read, hang out on FB, and visit people online. It's quite liberating.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Maria, I just wanted to reach through the screen and hug you. You sound so happy with the decision, and that's fabulous to hear. Life should be joyous.

And selfishly, I'm grateful you'll still blog :)

Happy 2014, whatever it brings!

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: Do you really think so? Greg thought I seemed happy too.

It is a huge burden lifted off my shoulders--especially the editing job, but only because there were so many people I had to keep tabs on.

I'm glad you'll still read my blogs. I was afraid with that announcement my writer friends would desert me.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Desertion? Never. Besides, I have to learn if there's BBQ Billy in your future :)

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: LOL. Oh, I have a lot of BBQ stories coming up.

Shelley Munro said...

Happy New Year, Maria. I agree with Jenny. You do sound happy with your decision, and that's the most important thing. Doing what is right for you.


Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: I also plan to do some of that fabled stuff you do--travel for PLEASURE. LOL!

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Happy New Year Maria. :)
Wow your decision has rocked me but I agree with what you have said. Writing will always be there.

I have made some tough decisions in life and each time they have turned out for the best. It was touch and go for a while, similar to what you are experiencing, but it does get better.

So glad to hear you will be still blogging. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Suzanne: I'm hopeful--and excited. I've waited a long time to be reunited with my husband.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I really admire and respect your decision. A life lived without regrets would be awesome. I'm working on my balance this year also.

Marian Perera said...

No way would your friends desert you. :)

I'm glad you'll get to spend more time with your husband, because after 14 years? Wow. It'll be like the two of you are setting out on a whole new adventure - together.

And sometimes that kind of time and distance is just what's needed after completing a major writing project. Best of luck there too!

Cate Masters said...

It's eerie sometimes how your thoughts echo mine! (or vice versa)
I'm in the same position - trying to figure out what to do that will make me happy and feel fulfilled and still allow me to earn a living.
Hope 2014 brings you all the best.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: Balance is a good word for it. I'd be happy to find such a creature.

Maria Zannini said...

Marian: I've always found time and distance really hones my observation skills sharper, so I think this will be a good thing.

Maria Zannini said...


Re: It's eerie sometimes how your thoughts echo mine!

It's possible that's because we're close to the same age. We're probably facing many of the same obstacles.

Anonymous said...

I suspected your news was something along these lines. You definitely deserve a break and quality hubby time!

I wish you and Greg all the best as you explore this new chapter of your lives. Happy New Year, my friend.

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: And it's not like I'll disappear from the blogosphere. It's just that I'll do more reading and less writing.

Suzanne Brandyn said...

It sounds wonderful Maria. I wish you all the best. :)

James Garcia Jr. said...

Greetings, Maria. I wish you the very best as you see what 2014 has in store for you and your husband. I'm pleased you're still doing covers as I will be needing another one of your magical covers sometime in the spring or summer. *evil grins*
I'm sorry I haven't been by. I have focused my time exclusively on writing and not blogging. For me, a lot of the internet stuff has proved to be a giant time suck. Other than making and maintaining friendships it hasn't done much for selling books. We'll see what 2014 has in store. Maybe that will change.
Anyway, I've got to run. My vacation is over and I am back to work today. Take care, my friend.


Maria Zannini said...

Jimmy: There's nothing sadder than the last day of vacation. :/

I'm glad to hear you're focusing on writing rather than blogging. So many people spend all their time on social networking to the detriment of a quality book. You've got your priorities straight.

I'll be here whenever you need me.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I've taken extended writing breaks before and often find them healing in many ways. Good luck, Maria, and happy new year!

Maria Zannini said...

Karen: To you too, Karen. I'm so excited about your new adventure.

Misha Gericke said...

I know what you mean. Sometimes we need to make tough choices to make our life better.

I hope you have a wonderful 2014, and that getting used to living with Greg goes smoothly. :-)

Maria Zannini said...

Misha: I've already noticed that I feel less stressed than last year. That seems like a good omen. :)