2004: My Year in Review

This past year was a big one for me. It’s kind of amazing to think of all the things that happened in 12 short months. I adopted the dog. I started this blog. I spent my first full year in my own home. My divorce became final and I went back to my maiden name. I reconnected with an old friend. I did a lot of writing, including 45,000 words in November. I took a lot of photographs, read a lot of books, and went for a lot of walks on the beach. There were hardships and struggle, yes. But there were also victories and a couple of life-changing events.

This was a year of some financial difficulties. It started with a 2003 tax bill that was much bigger than expected. I had to borrow quite a bit of money from my folks to pay it. And then I lost a well-paying and steady freelance gig. It was a company I really liked working for, too.

In the summer of 2004 my first book was published. I had been working on it (and talking about it) since 2001. I can’t tell you how many times over the years people asked me how it was going, if it was finished, or when it would be published. Now they all ask me what I’m going to do next. Good question. Let me get back to you on that one.

By the end of the summer, I still hadn’t found a regular job to replace the one I lost and things were getting tight. I was making money from other sources, enough to pay the bills and the mortgage, but not much else. My savings account was depleted, I hadn’t paid my folks back any of the money they loaned me, and I started using my credit card for everyday expenses like groceries and gas.

In the fall, I set a deadline for myself. If I didn’t get another freelance writing job by the end of September, I would get a job in a bookstore with all the other struggling writers. In the eleventh hour, I landed a job with an educational publishing company. I still owe my folks a lot of money, my credit card is completely maxed out, and I’m living paycheck to paycheck. But I’m making my pathetic living as a writer, dammit.

In December, I signed a copy of my book for someone. As I was doing it, I realized with a little rush that it was the first time I’d ever done that.

Despite the financial difficulties, I’d say that 2004 was a good year for me. It was certainly eventful. And although I’m hoping that 2005 is a little less dramatic and a little more prosperous, the fact is that I’m really happy with the way things are right now—personally and professionally.

I don't think I can ask for much more than that.

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