It's easy for me to get discouraged with how long some of my writing projects take. I will be finishing up my second year of revising my Rapunzel retelling in 2015, and I always want to be writing more than I actually am. But when I paused to take stock of what has happened in my writing life this year, I realize that I have been writing all year, and that projects take me longer because I've diversified how I spend my writing time. Here are the highlights.
February - I began the practice of Morning Pages -- writing 3 pages in my journal every morning. I've been doing it about 4 times a week ever since.
March - I published Rumpled, and I traveled to Dayton, Ohio to do a reading of my essay "Where I First Met God," which was published in Unruly Catholic Women Writers. (Later in the year, it also appeared in Living True: Lesbian Women Share Stories of Faith.)
April - I finished my year-long journaling project, A Year in the Life, and I started a Writing as a Spiritual Practice group at my church.
May - I had to practice what I preached and rely on the healing power of writing as I wrote and cried myself through saying goodbye to my beloved cat, Phoebe, who died on May 30.
June - I began writing Phoebe's life story in my Pet Remembrance Journal.
August - The news organization I work for ramped up its news coverage, so I've written a lot more stories for pay than I usually do. My favorite was this story about voting rights on a Sioux reservation.
September - I attended a phenomenal Master Plot Workshop with Cheryl Klein. Putting my middle grade novel through her rigorous editing prescription is one of my goals for 2015. I was also featured in the September/October issue of New Moon Girls, with a bit of advice to girls about self publishing.
October - I gave a presentation at my local library with tips for NaNoWriMo, then gave the same presentation at the beginning of November at a different branch. I also went on a writer's pilgrimage to the East Coast to see the Emily Dickinson Museum.
November - I wrote my 6th NaNoWriMo novel, which is both a sequel to Rumpled and a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen."
I also continued to write for Young Adult Catholics, where my post about Natural Family Planning continues to be the most-viewed entry, and I read over 100 books, including the following writing-related ones:
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which stars a fan-fiction writing narrator (5/5 stars).
- The Right to Write by Julia Cameron, which is what started me on Morning Pages (5/5 stars).
- Publishing Ebooks for Dummies by Ali Luke, which was a great resource as I got Rumpled out into the world (4/5 stars)
- I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, which I like primarily because it is a "self-aware" book, in which the narrator's writing process is as authentic as the adolescent feelings depicted therein (4/5 stars).
- Unruly Catholic Women Writers, see above (4/5 stars)
- Shaggy Muses: The Dogs that Inspired Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Bronte, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf by Maureen Adams, which showed me that, as a dog-owner and a writer, I am in very good company! (4/5 stars)
- Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer, in which a group of teens finds literal transformation and healing through writing in their journals (3/5 stars).
- A Year in the Life: Journaling for Self Discovery by Sheila Bender, see above (3/5 stars).
- The Creative Life: True Tales of Inspiration by Julia Cameron, which was probably the most disappointing book I read all year, partly because The Right to Write gave me high expectations (2/5 stars).
My writing goals for 2015 are to finish revising my Rapunzel story, do another edit on my middle grade novel (which has been "tabled" for a couple of years), and finish writing Phoebe's life story. I'm looking forward to seeing what other writing adventures 2015 has in store for me.
Happy New Year!