Ten things I’m taking from this year

I know people constantly say it, but it really is true … I cannot believe 2017 has flown by so quickly.  I remember when I was younger my grandmother used to say that as you get older so time seems to speed up.  Then, of course, there’s the age old saying:  “Time flies when you’re having fun”.  And for the most part, this year has been fun.  Here are the top ten things I’m taking away from 2017:

1. Always make time to do what feeds your soul.

Never was this lesson more apparent than in November. For the most part, work has been fairly slow this year. There have been spurts of busy-ness but for the most part I have had time to write and stay on top of writerly things. This made me decide that I would chance signing up for NaNoWriMo since I haven’t been able to for the past two years. The first couple of days went well and then all hell broke loose. Suddenly work flooded in, it was all hands on deck and no time for any personal endeavours. That’s when I realised just how important it is to make time for yourself. If you don’t, no one else is going to do it for you.

2. Life is boring without friends …

… to get up to mischief with. 😂 I’ve spent more time writing with friends this year. This has contributed to helping me grow as a writer. I get to learn from others that are a little further down the writing path than I am and are super generous with sharing the knowledge they’ve gained from their experiences. It also plugs into point 1 since it definitely feeds my soul.

3. I can…… if I just believe in myself!

Up until very recently I have had such a crisis of faith in my writing abilities. It is not easy pouring your heart into words on a page and then baring them for all the world to see you at your most vulnerable. I have heard writing compared to child labour. No lies, that! Sometime I wonder if childbirth isn’t easier and less painful!!! But as I am learning and growing I’m finding my way and I’m learning that I can, in fact, write. I just have to accept that it won’t be perfect first time around, and maybe not even 10th time around but that’s what editing is for and beta reading. So if I choose not to be so hard on myself during my first draft then I realise that yes I can do this … all I have to do is believe in myself!

4. Own it sister!

I mentioned in a previous blog that I had a hard time owning up to the fact that I am a writer and I write erotic romance. I wrote a novella that, I must say, I’m actually pretty proud of but I could never bring myself to tell anyone about it since I didn’t believe in myself as a writer to own up to it. As this year progressed and I’ve learnt more I find I am getting better at this. I’ll keep working on it and keep owning it. I’m the only one who can, right?

5. I am a planner, right down to the bone.

Oh lord, I have tried to lighten up on this one but what a mess. In the end it just stresses me out more than just taking the time to have a good long thinking session about who my characters are, what their story is and how to tell it. The one concession I have made is letting go of the tightly held notion that nothing permits deviating from the plan. When a character shows that they want their story to go in a different direction, I’m learning to let go and follow where they lead. Sure it may not follow the plan to the letter but the plan is meant to be a guideline and not cast in stone … a lesson I am finally getting.

6. My writing isn’t perfect and thats okay.

There is no getting away from it. I am a perfectionist with slight OCD tendencies. Papers need to be lined up and the corners perfectly aligned before they are stapled together. Papers lying in a pile on the desk need to all be neatly aligned in their stack, with no strays sticking out to the side. Artwork on the wall needs to be straight and will be shifted endlessly until it is just so. Getting the idea? So when it comes to my writing why would I be any different? The words need to be just so. This word is better than that. The story must be told perfectly first time around. No imperfect first drafts allowed. I laugh at myself now. This difficult lesson is finally seeping in and I am learning to let go of writing that I don’t necessary feel is good but that it is at least words on a page that can be fixed in edits. If I keep deleting work I don’t think is perfect then there will never be anything to edit. My writing isn’t perfect and that’s okay.

7. I definitely need more time in my day. 🤣

Whoever said the life of a writer is easy should be taken out and shot … or made to live that life!!! It is not easy. However, I will say, it is rewarding. The problem with being a writer is that apart from the actual writing (which can push a saint to turn alcoholic some days) there is the continual need for marketing, engaging on social media, learning and growing, feeding starving family members, keeping the house from being declared a disaster zone and actually taking time to eat, shower and sleep. Gosh, I feel tired just having typed that. 😜

8. I still have so much to learn and thats okay too.

I have learned so much about writing this year alone. Slowly but surely I’m honing my skill and learning what will and won’t work … and what does and doesn’t work for me, specifically. As the old adage goes, you have to know how the rules work first in order to break them. Right? 😉

9. Life is precious … don’t waste it!

This year was a sad time of saying goodbye to loved ones and friends. We lost six in total this year, one just 26 years old. It just reminded me how precious life is and how we should never miss an opportunity to tell our loved ones how very special they are to us and how much we love them. So hold them a little closer, a little longer and make sure they know.

10. I can! And I will!!!

2017 has been an amazing year of learning.  And for the most part it has been a wonderful year too.  Taking all the joy that this year has brought me into next year I trust that 2018 will be good to me too.  And may it be a wonderful, rewarding year for you too.

Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed 2018! 🖤

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