The Story of My Year

Self Improvement 150First of all, I’d like to wish all of you a wonderful 2014 and to thank you for reading and commenting on all the little scraps of paper that flow out from this here digital writing desk. It’s been a great learning experience trying to cobble together thoughts coherently enough to share them and (hopefully) affect other people with them, and I’m so very grateful those of you out there reading this have helped me with those lessons. I’m really looking forward to learning more with all of you, once we all get over this collective hangover.

When I sat down at this desk a year ago, I was bristling with enthusiasm for the opportunities I would have to tell stories in 2013. I had set out with the goal of writing 25 short stories throughout the year — that’s two a month, plus one to grow on. I figured that if I wrote about a thousand words a day, I could write one 5,000 word piece a week and spend the week after that editing another work, polishing it so that I could post it online or submit it somewhere for publication. It was quite ambitious, of course it was, but I wanted 2013 to be the year that I broke out, knuckled down and <i>became a writer</i>.

There really wasn’t another resolution that I set for myself that year. I wanted to focus on telling stories, learning about them, inhaling them, breathing them, becoming a storyteller first and foremost. It was, I think, a great goal. So how did I do? At the time I’m sitting down to write this, I’ve managed five short stories for the year, only two of them published in an amateur press association that most people won’t see.

So what happened? Life happened. The first part of the year was taken up with Further Confusion 2013, then a dietary detour known as the Whole 30 (one that I plan on taking again later this year), and then a worsening bacterial infection that ate up so much of time and energy. Once the cause of that was determined, the new energy and enthusiasm didn’t translate to a burst of creative productivity. I had two spells of depression this year that made it all but impossible to do anything, one right at the end of the year before holiday craziness hit. On the bright side, it was sort of an eventful year that makes the ground more fertile for the stories that I will get around to telling eventually.

Even though I didn’t quite make my ambitious goal last year, 2013 wasn’t lost time. I did progress. I wrote a few short stories, got more serious about writing personal essays and creative non-fiction, and worked with friends and colleagues on editing their own work. I was invited to be a regular contributor to [adjective][species], pitched in to help with New Fables, and even popped up on a podcast or two this year. I became more comfortable talking about stories and the craft that goes into shaping them. I learned a lot about my limitations and how to cope with them. And Ryan and I finally finished a grand project that took years to complete — we watched all AFI Top 100 Movies. Well, at least the 1997 list.

Speaking of Ryan, we celebrated our five-year anniversary at Rainfurrest 2013 on the same weekend that his second novel, God of Clay, was released. He wrote the sequel and is currently editing it, and he’s written a number of short stories and a novella — all of which he’s very excited about. As far as my husband knuckling down to take serious strides with his craft, last year was a tremendous success for him and I couldn’t be prouder.

Without tooting my own horn too much, I’m pleased with the work I’ve done here at the Writing Desk. I haven’t been the most consistent rabbit, but I have been persistent — working hard to write and post on a regular basis whenever I can. This blog really has been the anchor of my writing practice over the past year, and I’m looking forward to making sure it just gets better with age.

Now that the year is out of the way and we’re embarking on a shiny new one, I have a few goals for 2014 that I’d like to pin down and share here. And I’ll be sure to do so on Friday!

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