As much as I hate changing our family’s wake-up time from ‘whenever’ to six a.m. I always get excited when the school year starts. I don’t write a lot during the summer, because of family commitments, but once the entire family is back in school (including my husband, a high school teacher), I can commit to a steady writing routine.
In past years, I’ve been ridiculously excited to get started, but this year I approached September with trepidation. That’s because the previous school year didn’t exactly go as planned. I focused on writing, rewriting, and polishing one project (a YA novel), and I was devastated when it failed to land me an agent or a book deal. I knew I was aiming way too high, but I couldn’t help it. I had only one goal in sight—publication—and anything less felt like failure. Instead of reveling in the small victories (winning two RWA contests, receiving my first R & R, and making some great connections at writers’ conferences), I kept beating myself up over what I hadn’t accomplished.
I can’t handle another year like that, not if I’m going to stay in the writing game for the long term. The obsession with being published took away a lot of the pleasure I derived from writing, and left me empty and unmotivated. So this year, I’m focusing on the writing. Don’t get me wrong—I’m still going to query and enter contests and polish my work until it shines—but I want to enjoy the craft of writing and the joy of creation.
So, I’m calling this “The Year of Writing All the Things.” What does that mean? Not only do I want to finish revising the aforementioned YA novel, but I’m starting some new projects: personal essays, shorter fiction, an historical YA, another fairytale retelling, and a NA romance based on my archaeological background. Will any of it sell? At this point, I’m not worrying about that. I just want to have fun on the journey and see where it takes me.