The last few years, I’ve picked a word for the year ahead. I make goal lists also, but the word serves as my anchor. It’s a guiding value, and it becomes a filter for most decisions. I’m still deciding on my next word, and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my previous word and hopefully get some ideas for the next one.
Last year, I chose COURAGE to guide me. 2013 knocked me on my butt, and after dusting myself off last fall and winter, it was clear that I was living in fear. It was time to get in the ring and fight for me. So I did, in lots of ways. For the purpose of this post, I’ll just talk about how the word influenced my writing goals. And while I’m a huge Hemingway fan, I’m not talking about the “grace under pressure” version of courage. I don’t give a rat’s ass about grace. If I’ve gotta get stuff done by screaming and flailing, then so be it. At least I took the jump and did it.
This was the year of Finishing Something. For the first time, I took a story through not one, not two, but many, many drafts until I couldn’t figure what else to do with it. Then, I held my breath while other people read it and gave their suggestions, and I revised again. I entered contests, worked with critique partners, queried, and worked on it even more. It’s been quite a learning experience, because finishing is such a different skill set than drafting, and it’s scared me in the past. Not this year. This year, I gathered my COURAGE, and I did the hard stuff. I finished something. A big something. No matter what the outcome, that counts as a huge success.
I also rewrote an old draft of a Fun Book from a couple of years ago. After polishing that one, I sent it out to betas, and I’m excited about the possibilities for it. It needs a little more love, but I came very close to finishing a second book this year.
In November, I did NaNoWriMo again. This time, I wrote a YA fantasy. I’m not sure where that one will take me, if anywhere, but it was fun. I’m going to need to carry over some COURAGE into next year if I plan to tackle the worldbuilding those revisions will require. Yikes.
So, that was my writing year. It feels like it was a lot more than it looks like here. Probably because the research and work that goes into querying was so much harder and more time-consuming than I anticipated. But I love learning new things, so while it was difficult work, it was exciting, too. I’m looking forward to another year of big steps, hard work, and exciting new experiences.
Happy New Year!