2015 becomes 2016

Had a whale of a year. The Chaplain’s War earned out in just nine months, in trade paperback and e-book editions. Made a nice splash on Audible.com, too. Netted the family a surprisingly robust royalty check, just in time for Christmas. Consistently earning four and five-star reviews. Got a pile of sweet letters from some gradeschool kids who were read my story, “Astronaut Nick,” for the holidays — and enjoyed it quite a bit, to hear the anecdote of the reader. Fan mail is always amazing, but fan mail from youngsters is priceless. Better than diamonds or gold, I tell you. And I am (of course) contracted for more, with Baen. Hard to find any bad in any of that. 2015 was awesome. Only real bad thing has been being away from family over the holidays. Especially my little daughter, who isn’t so little anymore. I confess to shedding a few tears about that on Christmas eve.

Looking to 2016, I have a multi-faceted plan to spend a lot less time on social media, a lot more time reading recreationally, much more time with family — a new car will aid greatly in this — in addition to re-integrating with the household when I get home from deployment. On that note, my wife and I are going to be focusing especially on co-diet and co-exercise, to begin the process of reshaping our at-home lifestyle for long-term sustainability. Nobody lives forever. But the changes Annie and I both make, now, could be the difference between us enjoying our (eventual) senior years, and hating them. My desire is to be the 70 year old biking up Little Cottonwood Canyon, not marooned in an easy chair, made prisoner by arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, etc.

2016 is also the first year of a rather ambitious five-year writing roadmap, including overdue projects, long-dreamt-of projects, stories I both need and want to tell, new experiments in marketing and fan outreach, as well as making good on some promises to both myself, and to other people. 2010-2015 was an amazing stretch for me. At least in comparison to all the years from 1992 (when I first imagined becoming a pro) to 2009 (when I won Writers of the Future, in November.) I’ve got my feet firmly established. Venues. Audience. All of it. If 2010-2015 was the burning of the first stage, 2016 sees that first stage fall away, and the ignition of the second stage. If all goes well, the second stage should put me into orbit. I am looking forward to all of it.

Of course, nobody can eat a whole side of beef in one sitting. Over at Mad Genius Club, I put together a piece about New Years resolutions, and how not to make a liar out of oneself. I think most New Years resolutions fail for two key reasons. First, we don’t understand the difference between a goal, and a dream. Second, we don’t anticipate setbacks, bad days, road blocks, etc. In order to achieve a thing, we must understand what it is we’re capable of actually effecting or influencing in our lives. And in order to reach a large goal, we have to hit small goals over an extended period. That extended period should include enough elasticity (in our plans) for bumps, bruises, and the drama of life.

2015 certainly had its fair share of drama, of which I was a willing participant. Some might even say, pugilist? But we all have to pick and choose our battles.

One of the reasons I am imposing some new rules for myself (for social media) is because I am dreading the 2016 United States Presidential election. Or at least, the run-up to said election. I am pretty sure no matter who wins, half of America will consider it the end of civilization. I already went on that carnival ride in 2012, and don’t need a repeat. Especially since none of the present frontrunners thrill me. I will cast my vote, and hope that (somehow) everything will work itself out as it should. This faith isn’t easy right now. Both my father and I agree that there’s a great deal wrong with Washington D.C., almost none of it easily rectified. But then, getting back to my circle of influence — the things I can actually control — there’s no point spending all day raging into a keyboard about politicians who don’t care.

I wish everyone else — my many friends, my readers, my family — good luck with your New Years resolutions, goals, plans, ideas, etc. My church always offers some smashingly good thoughts on this subject. I know I’ll be referring back to these basics when the inevitable missteps and setbacks occur. It really isn’t about starting off with a bang, that counts. It’s getting back up off the mat, each time life knocks you down.

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14 thoughts on “2015 becomes 2016

  1. Yeah, Brad, I hear you. The coming election is going to resemble a civil war……..seriously. I expect the whole thing is going to get so out of hand, that we’ll barely escape with our lives. As an arm chair historian, the parallels are quite clear. Literal marxist insurrection. Anyways, congrats…..look forward to your work.

  2. Something to be aware of as you reach that golden age:

    Most of what we consider the “symptoms of aging” are really the effects of low thyroid: 80% of people over age 50 have some degree of hypothyroidism due to reduced conversion of T4 to T3. Some doctors are now doing annual thyroid workups (T3 test is the important one) on their older patients, since while this may be a natural consequence of aging, it’s readily treatable, thus not _necessary_ to suffer from it.

    Yeah, I sound like a broken record on this, but it’s skimmed over in med school and I’ve found most doctors have little or no clue about it despite there being reams of research on the subject (which I’ve had to read in sheer self defense). With any chronic condition, it should be the _first_ thing checked, not the last. If it’s not working right, no amount of taking care of yourself will fix things.

  3. The new year really could feature a “literal Marxist insurrection.” It happened in Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, Chile, Indonesia, and other places in the 20th century. The question is, do we have our Suharto or Pinochet to lead us in defeating the would-be socialist dictators? If not, then something like Venezuela or Cuba is in our future.

  4. Well said friend, working over some goals, after getting great employment I need to be wise and plan out budgets so we don’t just pay for things, but control where the funds go. Also this is my fathers last Christmas so it forces some reflection on what he taught and what I should remember and how I can represent him well.
    The Lord gives a guide, and as we cultivate the Spirit we will make better choices, prayers for a wonderful and safe 2016. Thank you for your writing, your example, and your friendahip, I am honored.

  5. Eh, I figure the collapse has already happened, so not sure that it matters who wins the next election. By the time the general populace notices, it won’t matter anymore. Not that I think most people really care. Just as long as they have their TV and their Internet.

  6. > fan mail from youngsters is priceless.

    Not all authors seem to appreciate it. When Heinlein’s “Expanded Universe” came out, he made room to complain about the letters he received from children. Everything from their penmanship to how they folded their letters.

    Well, **** you, Bob.

    Shortly after that my Heinlein collection got a serious culling…

  7. Best wishes for the future Brad. I have enjoyed some of your (non-Puppy themed) pieces at Mad Genius. I genuinely wish you every success in your life and career.

  8. Congrats on your success, both personal and financial! As for 2016, if the final choice is between Trump and either Clinton or Sanders it’ll ALREADY be the end of civilization.

  9. Looking at the lies over such relatively minor things as Gamergate, Shirtgate, Metalgate, and Sad Puppies, can we get a time machine and just skip to the swearing in in 2017? Because Satan vs. Cthulhu would be a less contentious race, and, given the field on both sides, provide a more competent leader. (At this point, I’d vote Jar Jar for the same reason.)

    Happy writings, Chief, and I hope you can stay out of the Sandbox.

  10. Glad to see you’ve succeeded in spite of those would tear you down. Success and living well are the best rebuke.

  11. Ya got yer head on straight, Brad.

    We are watching history as far as politics go. I wouldn’t be surprised to see bloodshed, race, and civil wars erupt at the rate we’re going. Now would be a good time to keep your head low, and stock up on ammo and popcorn.

    Jump on the health and fitness thing! I am just getting at it and it may be too late! You need to get that going when you’re young AND STAY AT IT. To do what you want in old age, you will need to be a string bean and seriously disciplined and motivated. It’s do-able!!! Good luck to you both!

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