A year ago, I wrote this:
I’ve been 30 for nearly four months now, and quite honestly, have enjoyed this year so far. I’ve burned off the fat that I needed to, I’m writing again, and at this point, my only regret is that I didn’t do this 5 years ago.
I know it’s stupid and a little trite, but the proverb that, at the end of your life, you only regret what you haven’t done, has been playing itself in the recesses of my mind lately. Knowing how to balance patience and consistency while moving in the direction of my dreams will be the skill I will need to cultivate. Hopefully, I don’t make myself crazy in the process. But, more importantly, I don’t want to be in the same place next year as I am now. Each step needs to take me closer to my goals, and in a year, I will achieve my goal of finishing a story.
This post was my very first post on this blog. I was high from a successful year at my paythebills job, and from regaining my ideal body composition. I worked really hard at both, and saw the fruits of my labor. I was happy. I reached my goals. But, strangely, I was still restless. I was not content. And I think reaching those other goals only increased the discontent.
Before this post, I only dreamed of writing a novel. I toyed with the idea for years (YEARS!), but that was something Other People did. Not me. Besides, I wasn’t smart enough, experienced enough, good enough, whatever enough to write a novel, so why bother?
A year ago, my mindset shifted. I obviously CAN reach goals. Actually, if I was honest with myself, I have always reached goals. I just never set myself up to choose goals that mattered to me. And writing mattered to me.
So, instead of “Why bother?” the question became, “Why not?” If I can spend so much time and energy to achieve goals that, at the end of the day, I don’t really care about, why not chase after The Goal that I’ve been dreaming about for years?
A year ago, I said this: “I don’t want to be in the same place next year as I am now.” Now, let’s see how far I’ve traveled on my writerly path.
A year ago, I cringed at the thought of anyone knowing that I was trying to write a novel. Or, even be identified as A Writer. Now, I embrace that identity. I am a writer.
A year ago, I started several novels, but was easily discouraged from finishing any of them. Now, I have a novel, WIP1, which is now in the revision phase, and am drafting WIP2.
A year ago, I was overwhelmed with low writerly self-esteem, and pre-rejected myself from submitting my writing to anyone (even to potential writing partners…I felt I was doing them a kindness). Now, I’m writing some short works to submit to various publications. And, my writing partners will be getting part 1 of WIP1 shortly.
A year ago, I felt very much alone (which is probably why I was so easily discouraged!). Now, I have amazing writer friends who I met through the magic of social networks. I even went to an annual writer’s conference last week and chatted with Other Writers about books and stories and other nerdy things. (Indiana SCBWI’s annual conference…highlights of that conference coming soon!)
I’m so thankful for this past year, and look forward to another year of progress toward my goal.
Thank you for your company on this journey.
27 thoughts on “A Year”
A beautiful, profound blog posting. This is one of the most inspiring, thought-provoking posts I’ve read in a long time. Count me as a new fan of yours, ’tis an honor to have stumbled across your blog.
Thank you for your encouraging words! I’m so happy that you stumbled upon my little blog and look forward to getting to know you!
This is really inspiring. Congratulations on your successes too!
Thank you so much! I still have a long way to go, but am happy to celebrate all the little wins.
Your post reminds me of another I read which posed the interesting predicament of when one can call themselves a “writer.” Good on you for latching onto that identity pre-publication. One can claim to be anything nowadays…a self-help guru, a graphic artist, an epicurean ‒ what sets such individuals apart is if they truly are passionate about their craft and are recognized for the quality of what they produced.
For example, you can claim to be an obedience trainer but it won’t really be that befitting if you don’t believe in your capabilities and the pet itself disrespects you :P! Ironically, Cesar Milan had hecklers including his own father, but he didn’t give up…and now he’s pretty much “THE” animal whisperer. Despite calling myself the “hopeless poetess,” I take approaches like yours or Milan’s and believe that I CAN make a career out of writing one day…whether it be through poetic verses or anything else!
I’m definitely a proponent of “we are what we do”. I write, therefore, I’m a writer. That’s my full time occupation. I think about my WIP all the time, live it, breathe it. So, I don’t get paid for my words. Meh, *shrugs* doesn’t bother me.
It has taken me a long time to share my work with others and admit that I write as well. I still don’t openly speak of it to friends and family. Only socially on the net. I am socially challenged. The SCBWI helped me come out of my shell some too. 😀
I’m happy that you’re breaking through! I’m not socially challenged at all, given my paythebills job. I’m more…too methodical for my own good. Labels mean something to me, so when I thought of “writer” I thought of someone who was a full time, paid for their words writer. Also, I didn’t HAVE any works to speak of, only lots of starts, no finishes.
As soon as I embraced the broader definition of writer, I was able to finish works. weird huh?
Sorry I missed you at SCBWI…I liked being able to put a face with blog/twitter account. Next time 😉
I love love LOVE this! That’s exactly how I felt when I first started writing. Other People write novels. Other People achieve their dreams, but I’m just a small town girl without any motivation or skills. A little work goes a long way for confidence. This post made my day! 😀
YAY! I LOVE knowing that I made your day! ^_^ And, yes, LOTS of work has helped me gain confidence! 🙂
Congrats on the past year! It’s so nice to be able to look back and say “look how far I’ve come!” And next year you can do it again, and have even more to celebrate!
Thanks Rebecca! I can’t wait to get cracking on some noticeable milestones for next year! ^_^
Great post, very positive and inspirational!! I’m glad you changed your mindset – I totally agree with that “why not?” way of thinking. You might as well give it a go, because there’s no point in NOT giving it a go. That’s my opinion anyway 🙂
Thanks for stopping by! And, exactly: If I did nothing, nothing about my life would change. If I failed, again, nothing about my life would change. I still had a paythebills job, a family that loves me, etc. BUT, if I tried and succeeded, I would be living my dreams (which still includes the loving family!!) 😀
No real risk, so why not? 🙂
I, like Kayla, am a bit surprised to see the insecurity. You radiate full confidence all the time 😉 It’s a harrowing place to be, I know. But the progress is wonderful to look back at! LOOK AT YOU! WIP#2!!! Less fat, half the calories, TWICE THE SCARY.
I think other writer friends are truly crucial. Honest to goodness, there are days I think my mind will explode until I email my lovely critters to get some of it off of my chest. Writers UNITE.
Well, I needed SOME insecurities to practice my mental strategies/focusing techniques on! 😉 Besides, I’m my own worst critic, and easily wonkwonk when I should really w00tw00t more.
Once I started meeting peeps that I could connect with, notsurprisingly my productivity increased! I blame my sales and fitness background: accountability, partner, coaching, developing…all those buzzwords are SO a part of my consciousness! 😀
This is so encouraging because I finally feel like I’m getting to the point where writing a novel is starting to feel manageable, if also a little insane =) Congratulations on having a good year and hopefully the next one will be even better!
Thanks Sierra! And I’m happy that The Writing is getting more manageable to you! I understand the feeling ^_^
You’ve come a long way, baby! 😉
It was so great to meet you, and even cooler now, knowing a little more of your story. It really strikes a chord with me. So glad you followed your gut and took a chance. I know it’ll pay off. Already is.
Can’t wait to meet up again! ❤
Thanks for saying, Carol! I’m glad I started blogging to chronicle this journey. Helps to keep things in perspective: that I AM actually making progress and am moving in the right direction!
I will definitely be on the lookout for any book events for us to roll out to! 😀
Great post! It’s amazing how a mindshift change can happen in a short time. I’m glad that you found your identity as a writer and that you are growing more comfortable with the process. The best of luck with the next year. ^_^
Thank you for stopping by, and for your encouragement!
I’m so glad I met you (through social networking 🙂 )! You are an inspiration to me because I am right now where you were a year ago and it’s refreshing to see it from your perspective. Happy Blog Birthday! Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your journey. You’ll reach those goals, I’m sure of it.
I’m glad I met you, too! and I’m happy to have inspired you! I look forward to following your journey! 😀
Love this post, Liza! Thanks for sharing—I loved reading about where were a year ago compared to where you are today. Having known you for much, but not all, of that time, it’s so cool to see how far you’ve come! I never would have guessed many of those things about you, like that you were once hesitant to identify yourself as a writer. This resonated with me, too, because I remember feeling that way, now that you mention it (but had forgotten that was the case). Guess I’ve come a long way, too. I’ll have to do one of these posts in June-ish (my 2-year blog anniversary already, wow).
❤ Yay for progress!
If I really think about it, most of the actual writing progress happened within the sevenish months I knew you (and Melissa)…though I think that NaNoWriMo had a lot to do with it 😉
The Writer label WAS a big deal for me, because I felt like I couldn’t own it unless I was published or whatever other criteria my sometime too methodical brain handicapped me with. I really had to understand: that I AM what I DO. I write, therefore, I’m a writer 😉
Yay for progress! *confetti*