A Year in Review: Writing

I’m going to write four posts reviewing my year.

  1. Writing
  2. Author
  3. Personal
  4. Reading

I’m splitting it up this way because I think it’s important, at least for me, to separate my writing from my authoring. It sounds as if that’s impossible, but I am an author because I write. But I am not a writer because I’m an author. I also want to split these posts up because otherwise they’ll be really long, and because my reading post will involve numbers and stats, and I’m not done reading for the year.

So without further ado…

A Year in Review: Writing

As I said above, I’m an author because I’m a writer, but I am not a writer because I’m an author. That’s an important distinction for me. It helps remind me that publishing is a single end result of my writing, but not the end result. It isn’t, and can never be, why I write. For other authors, especially those who use writing to pay the bills, they may have another way of looking at this. I have both the blessing and the curse of having a full time and very demanding dayjob. I do not rely on my books to pay the bills (and I could not.) So I have the “luxury” of reminding myself that I only have to write books I love and that I am proud of.

My goals this year were:

  1. Write three books that I’m proud of
  2. Show up and be vulnerable on the page
  3. Contribute positively to the writing community

It isn’t my place to judge if I’ve done #3 successfully, though I like to think I did, at least in some way.

I do think that I hit #2 though I’m not entirely sure that it’ll be seen by readers. And that’s okay! I showed up a lot this year. It was a hard year to be a Person in America, much less Jewish, much less queer, much less a creative person, much less someone who really needs a lot of brain space to get creative stuff done.

And I still wrote approximately 250,000 words this year.

You’ll only see about 100,000 of them as The Spy with the Red Balloon in October 2018. Which leads me to my other writing goal of this year. I only finished one book this year. But, I wrote that book about four times. About 75% of Spy (I’m starting line edits on January 2nd, so it’s not done yet!) is different than the first draft.

I showed up again, and again, and again to this book. There were a few weeks where I thought either my publisher would suggest pushing it, or I would. I cried. I had panic attacks in public, hours from deadline. I locked myself in my room for hours to work. I showed up again and again to a book that was really really hard. Spy is one hundred percent more ambitious than I intended it to be, and whether or not that works for readers is a discussion for another time. But I kept showing up.

I am not someone who shows up like that easier. I am a quitter. I am a chronic 80%er. I do 80% of something…and stop. Task completion–and maintaining the interest and excitement for a task–is really hard for me. Going back again and again and ripping out HUGE parts of a book, tearing out the seams and bending it in new ways is hard for me. The first time? No problem. Second time? Doable. Third time? Fourth time? Fifth time? That’s when I falter.

And I showed up this year. I learned a lot about how to write, and do that work, and finish major edits on a book, and hang in there even when I no longer believed in a book or a story. And I don’t know what people will think of the book, but I know, I know that I am a better writer because I learned to show up again and again, even when it got hard.

I got about 50% into another draft, and melted down, and couldn’t finish it. But that wasn’t my normal problem. That was a I have no more brain power left, this year has drained me problem. That draft is top priority for 2018 and I’m excited to make time for it and apply everything I’ve learned about myself as a writer this year.

So my 2018 goals are pretty similar!

  1. Write three books I’m proud of
  2. Be more intentional with my time (I’ll blog about this later)
  3. Try a new genre
  4. Read reviews/literary criticism and think about the cerebral/academia side (not of my own books, of other people’s books. Learn to talk about books the way I think about books, basically.)

I hope this was interesting and/or helpful to you! I’ll try to get my Author and Personal up tomorrow at some point 🙂

Tell me your writing goals!



2 thoughts on “A Year in Review: Writing

  1. Philip Douglas says:

    Hello, I just joined this site about 50 hours ago and trying to build a writing community for myself. I am impressed with your confession about being a quitter. Well this is our year for stop being quitters. My goal this year is to write my 2nd novel by March and to blog a few days a week. Hope to see you visit my site. Nite.

  2. Anna Kolodych says:

    Wow, what a powerful post! I’m not a writer (only a reader), so you’ve just opened my eyes to the other side of the process. Almost in tears here. Hope everything will go as you want it to in 2018.

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