Last January, the other Ladies and I started the year with a ‘new year, new writer’ series where we discussed our goals and plans for the upcoming year. In addition to the concrete writing goals, which included FTDB (finish the damn book!), I had a much bigger picture goal in mind. I wanted to spend 2014 writing courageously, facing up to fears and writing right on through them. Now, all too fast, that year is drawing to a close and it’s time to assess how I’ve done with conquering each of my own writing fears I identified a year ago.
Fear of exposure. This is the fear of ‘dancing naked on the page’, as Jenny Crusie would say. Tapping into creativity means tapping into the deepest, most guarded places in our souls and using them to tell our stories. I hadn’t realized this had happened in My Girls nearly a year into writing it. While I only wrote one new story in 2014 due to RTDB (revising the damn book!), I have been doing lots of background work for the stories I plan to write in 2015. I’ve given myself permission to go deeper and darker with the characters and plot lines. That’s not to say some things won’t get cut during revision – a girl has to keep some secrets, after all! – but at least in the first draft, anything goes.
Fear of rejection. The truth is, rejection sucks. I’m never going to love it. But I am going to have to deal with it. Thus I spent about a month not submitting my revised and as ready as it can be for now manuscript to the agents who had requested it. It took me a while to realize that what seemed to be poor planning, scheduling, and prioritizing was really good old-fashioned procrastination. Once I came to terms with this reality, I pulled up my big girl pants and sent my manuscript out into the world. Rejection might come, but so might acceptance. Two sides of the same coin. Yin and yang. I’m feeling very Zen about the whole thing. (Besides, publishing professionals probably aren’t in the office between now and the end of the year, so yay! – no rejection letters in 2014.)
Fear of failure. I’m sure you’ve heard the purported Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times. Well, my 2014 was nothing if not interesting. After spending the first half of the year working at my day job literally every day (not a holiday or weekend day off), I was burned out and considering leaving my profession. Instead, I left the known insanity of my day job for the blissful unknown of the consulting world. I’m slowly but surely getting the hang of balancing billable hours with ‘down time’, which I split between writing time and all the other life things. Maybe the fact that most days I feel like I have too many jobs makes me less worried about where this writing career is going. For now, I love writing, growing in my craft, and communing with other writers in places like 8LW.
That’s not to say I don’t have focus, dreams, and goals. Next week, I’ll talk about my writing plans for 2015. But for now, I’m going to open that bottle of Basil Hayden’s I got for Christmas and drink a toast to 2014. For all its flaws, it was, in the end, a very good year.