A look back at 2018…

This probably should have gone up on January 1st, but Dark Souls III isn’t gonna play itself. (I’m actually playing several games all at once and hope to have something ready for review soonish. I’m also close to finishing a book for review, and I can say that review will be mostly positive.) Truth be told, I’m hard pressed to think of what to say about 2018. It’s wasn’t a bad year compared to some in recent memory, but it wasn’t stellar, either. It’s the homely year, the kind of year that attractive years take along on pub crawls to make themselves look more alluring. It didn’t overstay its welcome or shit the rug on its way out, so…I don’t know, I guess I’ll mostly be remembering this one somewhat fondly.

It was a year I released a book, albeit it almost two years late. (Sorry about that. I blame my self-esteem as much as my health for that one.) But I used to be able to release four and five books a year, and so one book is…well, it’s less than I’d hoped for. By the same token, I’ve been less able to post reviews for books and games. I can’t afford more than a handful of games per year thanks to my less than stellar sales record (again, my fault; I need to do better at promotions) and I’ve had difficulty reading for most of this year. (Or more precisely with reading and retaining what I’ve just read.) So on the surface, I know it’s seemed like I haven’t got much done.

BUT—and, like my expanding rear it’s a big but—that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working. I’ve been serving part-time as an editor of an international glass print magazine and web-site, and this year, I also began writing articles for them. The pay is pretty good, but we’ve still had money troubles due to the move from Milan to Pavia. I’m glad we made the move despite the financial strain. I have an office of my own, and with our new kitchen, I’ve become more enthusiastic about cooking again, something that’s pleased our neighbors and my husband to no end. I do miss Milan, but Pavia is full of its own charms, and I’ve enjoyed hunting them down one day-trip at a time. The hubbers is also closer to his mom, and that’s having a positive effect on his mood. So all around, I’d call the move a win-win even if it is keeping our bank account strained for the time being.

I’ve done more to exercise, though winter has halted my progress there for now. For some folks, MS kicks in worse in summer, but for me, it’s always the winter that wrecks me and leads to relapses. This winter is no exception despite being incredibly mild. I sleep a lot longer, and I suffer a lot of pain for even minimal physical activity. But when I can, I still try to get in a stationary bike ride because it does help me to feel better. It hasn’t done much to reduce my butt size, but some of that can be chalked up to my increased cooking. (The traditional southern diet is a tad carb and calorie heavy, after all.)

Looking ahead to 2019, I’ve got plans to find other avenues to write in, stuff of the paying kind that I’m looking forward to talking about once more details are finalized. For now, I’m just getting together my CV and work samples as well as a few references before I get around to selling myself to the (hopefully) new bosses.

I also have plans to release a book, possibly two. It’s my hope that once I have funds coming in from paid work, I can invest a bit more in marketing services from someone who can take the strain off of me. When the last book came out, I made about 3 weeks of full-time promotion efforts, and it wiped me out. I know I need to get someone else to pick up the slack, and I’m not one of those folks who expect work to be done for free. I may call my fans my minions, but I still respect them too much to say something like, “Y’all could be doing more word of mouth advertising for me.” I know some already are, and what they do is more than enough. So what I need is someone I pay to pick up my slack, and if they slack off, I can fire them…from a cannon. Kidding! *Hides cannon*

I also have some hazy goals around reviving my YouTube channel, though I’m not yet sure of what it’s going to be. Part of me thinks it would be better to create another new channel. So the old one would just be video game stuff, and the other would be more…vloggy? Like, it might be a stream of thought vlog one day, or the next I might cook something and share my recipe. Another day, I might take a day-trip to show off some location in Italy or elsewhere in Europe. All of this depends a lot on getting that second paid job, obviously, but I feel confident that I can, given that I went from just a few weeks of editing work with my current company to be asked to write articles for the print magazine this year based solely off of the first article I turned in over the summer. Once I have that second venue locked in, yeah, I think I’ll have the money to make a vlog and the gaming channel more reliable.

So, that’s about it, I guess. Before closing this out, I should remind y’all that the old Twitter account went poof on January 1st, and if you want to keep up with me, you should go to https://twitter.com/Zoe_Whitten and follow me there. I assure you, it’s not all ads all the time like some Twitter writers, and in general, I’ll only bug y’all for a bit when I have a new book out. Despite the nasty rep it’s gained over the last few years, Twitter is still my favorite place to socialize, so if you tweet at me, there’s a pretty good chance I’ll tweet back. (Especially now, when the follower count on the new account is back down to the kind of numbers I had in my first year online. That may sound dire, but it’s been nice, seeing more real tweets instead of bot-streamed ads all the time.)

I wish all of y’all a belated happy new year, and I hope to give you more of what you come here for in 2019. Thanks as always for reading my stuff, and I hope the new year sees you earning some success of your own.