Elizabeth: What Are You Waiting For?

NewYearWishThis past week I, like many others on the planet, have spent some time thinking about what happened in 2015 and making plans for 2016.

My plan for 2015 was to write and to rediscover the joy of writing that had been lost somewhere in between a bunch of creative writing classes and my first draft manuscript.

So, how did I do?

  • Posted 52 Wednesday and 16 Writing Sprint blog posts right here at Eight Ladies Writing.
  • Completed manuscript #1 and qualified for RWA PRO membership.
  • Completed the draft of manuscript #2 and proved that it really is possible to write 50,000 words in a month.
  • Received a request for a full manuscript from a big-name agent

The best part is that, along the way, when I stopped looking at writing as something I “should do” and started approaching it as something I “wanted to do” I was able to rekindle my joy in writing and unleash my creativity. As I noted in my New Story post back in September, I started a journal just to keep up with the story ideas that kept clamoring for my attention.

While 2015 was a good year for me in terms of writing goals, it also included a lot of bad news and trauma for people around me. Disease, financial troubles, unexpected deaths – by the time December rolled around, I had begun to dread whenever the phone rang or one of my team members came to my office and said they “needed to talk.”

It got me thinking (again) about little time we really have on this wonderful little planet hurling through space and how important it is to do things now, rather than waiting for someday.

A Huffington Post article from 2013 on the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying had this quote which really brought that home for me:

“When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”

Who wants to look back and see unfulfilled dreams? Certainly not me.

So, my mantra for 2016 is: Do It Now.

Nancy had some really good suggestions in her Ready, Set, Goal post earlier this week about aligning goals to your publishing path and career strategy. Those ideas have been helpful as I figure out what steps I need to take to meet my writing-related goals sooner rather than at some far-distant future. “Do It Now” also means writing now, even if I only have 15 minutes to spare, rather than waiting for the “perfect” time to write. As November proved to me, if I’m determined to write, I’ll find the time I need. If I’m not that determined, then I should find something that I really do want to do.

I’m also getting a little help identifying what my non-writing dreams are and how to follow them (and how to get the roadblocks, including myself, out of the way) via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear and Brene Brown’s Rising Strong.  I’ve already taken some action by signing up to go to Oxford this summer and scheduling periodic three-day weekends away from work.

The American Museum of Natural History in New York contains the Cosmic Pathway, a timeline of the universe from the Big Bang to the present, which shows what a tiny blip recorded human history represents in the grand scheme of things. This year I’m going to do my best to make sure that I’m making the most effective use of my portion of that history.

So, what does 2016 look like for you? Are there things you’ve been putting off for someday that you plan to get started on?

10 thoughts on “Elizabeth: What Are You Waiting For?

  1. My plan this year is for pure awesomeness! The stars have been struggling to align, but I think they are there. I am planning this year and I’m planning on making it a big success. I know a bunch of gals you would love – The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood… and I’m going to recommend that many of you all might like to look into the 2016 Winter Writing Festival they are holding. 50 days of writing and accountability. You choose your goals, you check in at least once a week – where you have the chance to win some fab prizes the authors are sharing (including reviews and critiques). They have writing sprints hosted at various hours of the day and night by the authors and I’d never done successful sprinting until I started working with them. It’s tons of fun and you are with people like you. I’ll be in for the 3rd year this year and I feel like it’s going to be the best year yet. I highly recommend them and it just might help others out as you work into your writing goals this year. PS It begins MONDAY – 1/11/16!
    http://www.rubyslipperedsisterhood.com/goal-setting-advice-for-the-winter-writing-festival-2/

    • Penny – thanks for the suggestion. 50 days of writing and accountability sounds great and just the thing to keep up the motivation level. Off to check them out now . . . .

    • Hi Penny–I followed this link to learn more and possibly sign up, and I don’t see how to sign up. Or is there no sign up, and people just follow the blog every day? But then I don’t see how one would do the accountability check-ins. I must be missing something…

  2. Even though we are only 6 days into 2016, it has already had its ups and downs. I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions, but I do have some things I want to accomplish. With my writing, I really want to get my four-book series in shape and pitch the whole darn thing. I (along with Nancy) am taking a Margie Lawson course: Getting Serious About Writing a Series. It is only day 2 of that so we haven’t gotten to the meat of it, but I’m optimistic because I’ve heard really good things about the Lawson courses.

    The other stuff is on the personal front and the house (clean this, get rid of that, etc.). So Happy New Year and new doings for all of you.

    • Michille, I’d like to hear what you think of the class, once you’ve finished it. Good luck on getting your four-book series in shape your personal stuff too.

  3. After two or three weeks of writing a lot of dreck every day, now I need to take a trip, and I didn’t write today to prepare for my departure tomorrow, and I might not write for the 12 days I’m gone, so already I’m upset that I won’t have a chance to write more dreck. I ask you. Life is complicated! But when I get back, dreck, here I come.

    • Kay, good luck on your departure and hopefully when you get back you’ll find out that what you thought was dreck is really pretty darn good.

  4. I’m going to try to get away from the planning this year, and into the spontaneous. I’m going to spend the first quarter writing the juicy parts, even if they are out of order, even if they make no sense.

    I think what I really need for this to work is a dedicated writing time and place, so I may have to spend the rest of January cleaning and sorting to make room for my writing. Otherwise I will be caught in an exhausting loop of, “I wanna write, but I can’t write because . . . .” If I clear out some of the “becauses” (no space, too cold, too tired), maybe I can make some real progress.

    I want to also cut out some internet and TV stuff. Sure, it feeds the brain, but my brain is pretty full. Time to push out some of the stuff kicking around in my head instead of putting more in.

    • Michaeline, yay for spontaneity and good luck on getting your dedicated writing time and place established. Can’t wait to hear more about Bunny’s adventures this year.

  5. Pingback: Michille: Serious About Series | Eight Ladies Writing

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