Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013: A Semi-Great Year in Review

Cartoon showing baby representing New Year 190...
Cartoon showing baby representing New Year 1905 chasing old man 1904 into history. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I detest the sort of “my year in review” columns in which the writer looks back and praises himself for his accomplishments or wallows in self pity for the things that didn’t work out. 
Like most writers, I have a propensity to do both and so I don’t like to reflect overmuch on my writing career. I’d rather let others do that if they are so inclined.

If writing is a form of communication (and it is), then it becomes more meaningful to the writer if it is sharedthat is, if it comes back to me in some form (sales, feedback, reviews, and did I mention sales?).  

Nevertheless, something needs to be said about 2013 because it was a year in which I met two very important writing goals: publishing my first novel and taking a full-time teaching position. 

Both goals were realized after several years of hard work, learning, and faith. And both experiences have turned out far better than I could have hoped. 

But whenever one attains a goal (let alone two), there’s a need to sit back on that lofty perch and ask, “What’s next?”   

Well, what is next?

Fortunately (?), I don’t have the time to luxuriate in much indecision. My teaching job keeps me very busy, which is good: I have the privilege of teaching online English courses to students who otherwise might not get to go to college at all, as well as members of our armed forces, many of whom do their assignments while being deployed. 

If writing is communication, then teaching is service. I get to communicate and serve, passing on subjects I’m passionate about and which may help others find their passion.

However, some things have fallen by the wayside due to my busyness, including my next novel. I had begun work on a sequel to The Power Club, but put it on the back burner after members of my writer’s group pointed out, rightly so, that it read too much like the first novel.

I'm simply not ready to tell the next step in Damon's storyor perhaps he's not ready to tell me.

Instead, I wrote a book which departs drastically from the concept of teenagers with super-powers. It is very different than anything I’ve written before, and, as of right now, it exists in one complete and very rough draft. I’m getting feedback from my writer’s group and revising it at a snail’s pace. It's been slow going as I take stock of what I have and decide what to do with it.

Living the writing life

Writing does not happen in a vacuum.Writers live lives—or they should if they hope to write stories that resonate with readers who also have lives. I’ve pretty much avoided discussing my personal life in this blog as I prefer to keep the focus on writing and the journey of writing. 

But writing and living are intertwined; when one suffers, the other usually suffers, as well. While I wouldn’t describe my personal life as “suffering” this year, it has be tumultuous. I won’t go into details; let’s just say that I enter this Advent season in sort of a lull, and that’s okay. Advent is a time when Christians look forward to the coming of Christ, metaphorically or literally (or both)—a time when new things can happen in our lives.

So, as I enter 2014, I have no idea what my life or my writing holds in store. I’ve never really had a plan for my writing career, just an ever-changing dream. Someone recently told me that the difference between a goal and a dream is that, with a dream you have no idea how you’re going to get there but that’s what makes the dream worthwhile.

My writing journey in 2013 has proven this to be true.

Happy 2014 to all my readers! Thank you for stopping by, and may your own dreams be worth dreaming.

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