A Year in Review: Reflecting on 2018 and Looking forward into 2019
I don’t know about you, but my brain looks for themes everywhere. Perhaps it is just the writer in me, but each year, as I look back, I tend to notice one major that ran throughout my entire year. 2017 brought many changes and new directions. 2018 also had changes and new directions—my husband went back to school to work on finishing his engineering degree—but for me, the biggest theme was commitment. Commitment to staying home with our two young children, even though going back to work would take some financial pressure off my husband while he is working and going to school. Commitment to homeschooling, even though some lessons leave me emotionally drained. Commitment to take time for myself despite my almost obsessive-compulsive need to take care of everything else before taking care of myself. And, of course, commitment to my writing projects.
This particular commitment has caused me to reflect deeply on my writing habits and why I write. I am part of many writing and critique groups on social media, and many time this year, I have felt pressured to write more and faster. But do I really need to? It would certainly help me in the way of publishing faster, but what I might gain in quantity could decrease the quality. I decided it was not worth it to try to increase my word count. I am a stay-at-home-mom, after all. I have a lot of responsibilities and limited time to write. At this stage of my life, it is a miracle that I have time to write. I am happy with that, and one day I will have more time to devote to my projects. Right now, my babies come first. Story ideas stay where I write them down. My kids do not stay little forever.
Another point of reflection for me this year was why I write. I saw many writers call it quits this year because sales were not where they wanted them to be. I found these farewells to the writing industry and community saddening. I would be lying if I said I have not ever dreamed of being the next JK Rowling or Diana Gabaldon. That desire has always been there, but that is not why I write. I write because my stories will not leave me alone until I do. I have an overwhelming desire to play god and breathe life into the characters and scenes in my head. And I publish because I do not want to keep these stories to myself. I want the world to meet the amazing people in my head, live their stories, cry and laugh with them. I could never imagine stepping away from writing because sales were not where I wanted them to be. If that were the case, I would have quit writing in 2016. Yet, here I am, still plotting away. Some days are a struggle to write. There are days when all I want to do is nap when the kids are napping and go to bed at night right after they do. Other days I have to force myself to stop writing. At the end of each year, though, as I look back on what I have accomplished, I am happy I have given voice to otherwise silent people.
In this way, 2019 will be no different. I will continue to tell my stories, though I probably will not publish this coming year since my aim is to write my entire trilogy before publishing—you know, because it takes me a long time to complete one book. I am sure in other ways the new year will be different from this one we are leaving behind.
I hope you have had time to reflect on your past year and future goals, too. Happy New Year to you all. 2019, here we come!