I think I proclaimed 2020 as the Year of Phil on Twitter, then doubled down in 2021… and I think we all know what those years ended up being instead—anything but Years of Phil.

But the Year of Phil is too important an idea to give up on forever, so once again, and this time for sure, I hereby proclaim this as the Year of Phil, using the same super cool, awesome graphic I designed for the first attempt:

What does this mean for you?

Probably nothing, but this is my blog, so gimme a week, already.

In the Year of Phil I will put as much good effort into my mental health as I put into my physical health last year (or the last year and a half or so). Considering the progress I made on that front, I should be in fine trim this time next year.

I will write this year, and publish some books and some short stories and some poems.

I will work hard in a field I love and make a living in the world of books.

I will expand my book collection and my new hobbies.

I will do all sorts of stuff to make my life better without hurting anyone else in the process.

Those sound like decent goals, right?

They’re specific but not too specific, actionable and possible, open ended so as to reduce ending up being a detailed list of failed milestones… Not a bad outlook, and one that this post is actually meant to share.

There’s a lot of pressure on authors of fiction—on artists in general—especially in America, where the so-called “Protestant Work Ethic” is actually a bullshit name for desperation in the face of a totally unforgiving system that values short term gain over literally anything else. But though I will not be leading anything resembling any kind of Socialist revolution this year, I might just try to shift our focus away from sales and submission grinders and money-first milestones determining “success” and “failure.” Instead, let’s all take the Year of Phil to remember why we’re doing this in the first place—or, at least why we should be doing this in the first place: because we love books. We love our genres. We love our favorite books and our favorite authors, and we adore our readers.

If I can write some words I’m proud of, and maybe sell some in 2023, the Year of Phil will be a success.

Write some words you can be proud of, and maybe sell some in 2023, and it will be the Year of You, too.

Let’s not try to make 2023 our bitch. Let’s make it our boon companion.

See how that works.

—Philip Athans

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In Writing Monsters, best-selling author Philip Athans uses classic examples from books, films, and the world around us to explore what makes monsters memorable—and terrifying.

You’ll learn what monsters can (and should) represent in your story and how to create monsters from the ground up.

About Philip Athans

Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Writing Monsters. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, (https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com/) is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
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  1. Lyri Ahnam says:

    Your best post yet! Hooray for writing because we love weaving stories. I always look forward to your posts. Thanks 🙏

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