A Year of Writing and Gratitude

2014 was a big year for me. As of January 1, 2014, I had written zero books. As of December 27th, 2014, I’ve written two. I’ve done immense amounts of editing. I’ve started querying my first book and participating in twitter pitch parties. I’ve made amazing writing friends, connected with supportive groups, and made tons of progress. I’ve started to see myself as a WRITER and find joy in the grind, the hard work and blank pages. I’ve finally figured out how to give the commitment to writing a permanent place in my life. And I have a lot of people to thank.

First, the long-suffering Man-Creature who endured endless plot brainstorming sessions, weeks of black moods brought on by self-doubt, and long stretches where he wondered if we were still married or if I’d left him for my laptop. Thank you.

Next, my writing communities: I met so many lovely people through the YA Buccaneers and found lots of encouragement and discipline through their bootcamps. I met new friends through NaNoWriMo and ended up finding a new local writing group because of it. Twitter has been amazing. No, really, I had no idea that twitter was where the entire publishing industry was hiding. So many agents, editors, and fellow writers throwing out 140 character wisdom for my ravenous consumption. Thank you.

Finally, though, I have to thank myself. I find it hard to explain just how difficult this year was on my mental health. I’ve suffered from anxiety and moderate depression on and off for my entire adult life, and the process of chasing my ultimate dream, writing a book, was fraught with intense fear, self-loathing, and a whole host of other unhealthy emotions. I finally typed “the end” on March 1st, 2014, and hoped that would be the end of it – fears conquered! On the path! Achieving my dream! Unfortunately, the process of rewriting, editing, and sharing my work with beta readers proved to be even more terrifying. Then starting to query. Each new step in the process brought new fears, fresh insecurities. But then NaNoWriMo happened, and I wrote a second book. And it was easier to master the fear. And querying is easier now, too. I’ve made progress. It’s still hard work, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve learned so much, met so many people doing the same things. I’ve come out the other side with two books under my belt and months of querying and editing ahead of me.

And I’m excited to tackle it all.

So thank you, self. Thank you for sticking with it. For not giving up. For proving you can do it, and that you can keep doing it. Thank you for reaching out for help when you needed it. Thank you for becoming a writer.

I share this with the hope that someone else who is struggling might glean a little courage to keep fighting for the dream. It’s possible. Keep going. Every word counts, even the ones you know are awful. Rip off the band-aid, take the time you need to look after your mental and physical help, and put in the work. You can make it happen.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and productive 2015.

What 2014 accomplishment are you proud of, creatures? What do you deserve to thank yourself for? Share in the comments and receive high fives.

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