Hello to December! My gosh, I can’t believe 2019 is already almost over! This year has just flown by, but it’s also been a really great year from a writing perspective, and I’ve honestly really been very proud of how much I’ve managed to accomplish this year.
Not even just this year, either. This decade has been a whirlwind of ups and downs, highs and lows, and I thought I’d take this month to look back at where this decade started and how far I’ve come and everything that has happened to me.
And yes, there will be zombies.
When I initially wrote this post, it was way too long, and while I enjoy writing novels, and I hope you enjoy reading them, I didn’t think you would want to read this as a novel, so I decided I’m going to make this a little mini-series of posts over the month of December, sort of a retrospective of the decade type thing. I hope you guys enjoy reading about my trials and tribulations (and maybe get a little insight as to why I didn’t really release very many books over the past decade)!
I figured I’d back everything up to 2009, because that seems to be the year that everyone is going with with the “ten years ago vs. today” meme going around on the internet. (Which, yes, I participated in on Facebook, because why not?)
So looking at 2009, I started off the year working retail in Walmart. (I ended the year working retail in Walmart, too.) Fortunately, I had a cushy position in the accounting office, though I realize “cushy” is relative where Walmart is concerned. (Those of you who have worked at Walmart before will totally understand what I mean when I say that.) It was a scenario that was pretty much designed for insignificance, but the year actually ended up being pretty significant for a number of reasons: I discovered the availability of e-books on my BlackBerry smartphone, and I began writing for the first time in years.
See, back in 2009, I was starting to have a bit of trouble with my vision. Oh, who am I kidding? I’ve always had a good amount of trouble with my vision degrading. I got put into glasses when I was in third grade, and it had been essentially downhill since then. In the years leading up to 2009, I’d virtually stopped reading books, one of my absolute favorite hobbies, mainly because the print in them was too small and I was having trouble reading them. (And, when I did try to read them, I would get some pretty nasty headaches from eye strain, so as I’m sure you can imagine, this prompted me to just quit.)
I don’t remember which type of BlackBerry I had in 2009, because I went through so many of them over the years, constantly upgrading them, but I think it was a BlackBerry Curve, and I discovered an app and website for it called eReader.com (which later got purchased by Barnes & Noble), where you could buy e-books and read them. And, better yet, you could actually enlarge the font in e-books, which was a blessing for my poor eyes. So on this discovery, I actually started to read books again. And one of the first books I read was one that had been recommended on a book review website: World War Z by Max Brooks.
Now, anybody who has read World War Z know that that book is phenomenal. And that makes it quite a tough act to follow for any book. Which is why I try to not be too hard on the book that I read after that, once I’d been bitten by the zombie bug courtesy of World War Z. I’ve never named that book (and I won’t name it here, either), but suffice to say, that book left me feeling disappointed, like something was sorely lacking in it, which may have been down to just the poor thing following World War Z.
That was the point at which I said to myself, “Self, remember when you used to write stupid stories instead of paying attention in class because you found class incredibly boring?” [Ed. Note to My High School Teachers: I am so very sorry.] “It’s about time you picked up a pen and wrote something, because you could probably do way better than this.”
So yeah, that’s how I began writing The Becoming. Except I didn’t pick up a pen; I picked up my BlackBerry, because at the time, I didn’t have a computer that I had ready access to as often as I’d have liked to get a book done. So that’s how the drafting of The Becoming Series began: on a BlackBerry, hiding behind a coin counting/sorting/rolling machine in the accounting office in Walmart so I didn’t get in trouble with my bosses for doing that instead of watching a machine spin coins in circles for over an hour. [Ed. Note to My Former Walmart Bosses: I am so very sorry.]
This was also the same year (that fall) that I went back to school to take an Emergency Medical Technician course to become an EMT. I did this partly at the urging of my father and party because I was beginning to get really desperate to get away from Walmart. There’s really only so much of retail work you can stand, especially when you’re an introvert who hates dealing with a lot of people, and it seemed like interesting enough work. And yes, I worked on my books during class breaks (but not during class, in this case).
2010 is when things started to pick up a bit for me. I completed my EMT class and took the National Registry exam, which is a test that certifies your EMS licensure, and I ended up having to take it twice, which is pretty common, because the whole process is just freaking intimidating, and I didn’t know what to expect and it all just threw me for a loop. I passed it on the second try, though—once I knew what to expect—and I got my first job in EMS that summer.
Later, at the very tail end of the year, in December, more specifically, I completed writing the little zombie project I’d been working on on my BlackBerry, and I self-published The Becoming: Outbreak, which later became the first half of The Becoming. It actually did very well for the whole week in 2010 that it was out (and it really picked up steam in the first quarter of 2011, but that’s to be addressed in the next post).
Sometimes I still wonder what would have happened if I had left the series as a self-published project instead of going with the publisher that approached me, but it’s a little late for what-ifs now, right?
Anyway, that pretty much recaps the events of 2009 and 2010, as much as can be recapped without making this post astronomically long! Next Monday, I’ll be making a post recapping 2011 and 2012, which is where things really start to get interesting! So keep an eye out for that, and feel free to tell me what you were up to in 2009 and 2010!