I don’t usually reflect and take stock this time of year, usually I’m too busy, but I had a quiet couple of days recently and spent some time wondering, Where did all the time go? It seems to have flown by this year faster than ever before. This was the year I was going to get something done (AKA finish the damn book). What happened? What did I DO in the past year?
Looking back, I realize I spent most of the year pushing myself out of my comfort zone. And learning.
I took a screenwriting class that completely changed how I look at writing a novel. Boy, did I need to change how I look at writing a novel. Nearly a year later, I’m still trying to wrestle my story into a structure that makes sense. With as much as I’ve learned, I’m constantly amazed by how much I don’t know about how to write.
I wrote 34, now 35, blog posts over here. Plus the six posts I wrote on another blog. Fewer than in prior years, but I also spent a good bit of time creating not one, but two new multi-page blogs in WordPress. Great fun and mentally invigorating, but that was a huge learning curve for me.
I started using Twitter, another learning curve and very much outside the comfort zone. I’ve encountered some fascinating people, made a few new friends and gained valuable insight into certain aspects of publishing and marketing. I feel like I have spinach in my teeth half the time over there, but I’m trying not to dwell on it.
Let’s see, what else consumed my energy, other than the day job (as if that’s not enough)? There were the months I spent worrying I might have throat cancer (I didn’t). There was continued angst about selling and moving out of my house — until I realized I could refinance the damn thing (I did), followed by endless paperwork and monitoring mortgage rates and worrying that something would go wrong before closing (nothing did). I tell myself I learned to stop worrying (I didn’t).
There was the trip to Minneapolis and the wrenched knee, which still hasn’t quite healed. And a nasty bout with pneumonia, preceded by what I’m pretty sure was the flu. No learning curve there, but definitely exhausting.
If I’m to be honest, there was also a significant stretch of time when I struggled with whether I have what it takes to become a published author and whether that’s even what I want for myself. For now, the answer is yes, but I suspect that’s going to be an ongoing debate.
And while all these things were either unavoidable or somehow important to my personal or professional growth, none of them had anything to do with putting words on the page. Not directly. With all the things I did this year, the one thing I didn’t do enough of was write.
What a waste of time, you might think. I disagree. I’ve always believed that things happen when and how they’re supposed to happen. Sure, you need to work hard and you can focus your efforts and try to steer so you’re going in the right direction instead of running straight into hazards. Absolutely, you need to do that. But things happen. You can’t force them any more than you can avoid them. You may not believe that, but I do.
So this past year might not look particularly productive on the face of it. But every event, every fleeting yet educational moment was a necessary prelude to what comes next. I’m exactly where I need to be, doing exactly what I need to do. And I have a very strong sense that the coming year is going to be one of great change and accomplishment.
What about you? Are you satisfied with your accomplishments of the past year? What were they? What are your hopes and dreams for the next twelve months? Do you, too, feel a sense of impending events, of things beyond your control? Or are you more concerned about odd behaviour (perhaps yours?) during the eclipse of the blue moon this New Year’s Eve?
Stay safe this weekend and have a very Happy New Year!