I can’t believe I started this blog back at the end of June 2011. I thought I’d only started this year! Time sure does fly, doesn’t it? Maybe it only seems like I started this year because I had to step back and write every other week rather than every week. I’m glad that I made that decision, although it seems like I’m still writing my entries the day they are “due.” (No doubt a holdover from my school days when I procrastinated absolutely everything. Even my senior paper I wrote the night before it was due. But I got a “B” so I call that a win.)
I’ve covered a lot of territory this year. In some ways, I wonder if I have anything else to say about writing. Sometimes I look back and wonder, “Well…what else can I talk about?” Sometimes I feel like I don’t really have the authority to talk about some subjects because I’m not good at them, have little experience with them, or simply because “I’m not published.” But I’ve realized that being published doesn’t mean you have all the answers or know what you’re talking about. I might not be published yet, not even by a vanity press, but at least I’m writing. I really took to heart Chuck Wendig’s admonishment of “aspiring” writers: “If you write: you are a writer. If you do not write: you are not.” (Whether you write well is a whole different story.)
And it’s true. So much about 2012 has been absolutely horrible for me and for many of the people close to me. There’s a lot about this year I wish I could change, ignore, or erase. There’s a lot that I don’t understand, and I’ve railed against the universe more than once, asking “Why?” “Why me, why this, why her, why him, why us, why now?” I still don’t have any answers beyond the unsatisfactory, “That’s just life.” I’m harder and more cynical than I was. I curse more and my attitude towards the future and my fellow human beings is darker and grimmer. But I’m also more focused, more dedicated to my craft, more driven to grit my teeth and push forward. I’m writing more than I ever have: bi-weekly entries on The Cat’s Cradle, weekly contributions to Geek La Femme, a new chapter of fan fiction each Saturday, and making slow, but steady progress on my novel Ravens and Roses. Last year, I never would have attempted this kind of output. I never would have thought it possible.
When life goes to hell in a hand basket, it really forces you to prioritize and see what is really important to you. That’s where my “Writer’s Mantras” came from. And, on the plus side, it really does make you enjoy the little bits and pieces of life that are bearable or even happy. I laugh hysterically at the slightest excuse, I enjoy hot showers and my morning tea, I don’t groan at the thought of taking a walk in the chill of a December morning. I think I notice more of the little things that make me happy and I hold onto them more. I’m trying not to take those good things for granted. It’s so easy to complain. Sometimes it seems like there isn’t anything good at all. But I have done more to establish good habits in this time of adversity than I have in all my previous years of relative ease and comfort.
This year, I established regular exercise, healthier eating, and the desire to write every day. (I even got a Twitter account, even though I’m not a huge fan of social media sites that limit word counts.) I’ve been following through with these goals more often than not. I’m better at prioritizing and doing the things that I feel are important. I’ve learned to say “No” and stick by it. I still struggle with depression and guilt, but I think I’m handling it better. I know what I am, I know where I’m going, and I can take the little daily step of 500 words to get there. I just have to keep going. I hope you’ll do the same.
That being said…what kinds of topics are you interested in reading on The Cat’s Cradle in 2013?