Onward and Upward

A new year is upon us, and it brings about new beginnings. In some ways, a new year is like starting over. I’ve always looked at each January as a time for rebirth and renewal. A time for putting the past behind and moving forward. A time to forget our past mistakes and failures and look to the future.

In the past, I’ve looked at the new year and lamented over my failure to accomplish things in my writing. In 2009, I began a writing journal. This is an excerpt from the first entry on January 5, 2009:

Another year has passed. I find myself wondering what happened to 2008. What have I accomplished in my writing? Not much, I admit. I submitted two short pieces for the church blog. While that is okay, they are a guaranteed publication. I still have an idea for a book, but I am not past chapter one. I have ideas for two others that could be a series, but they are still ideas without much work. On the positive side, I completed three online classes. I finished the last one before Christmas. I learned a lot through them – now I must apply that knowledge. I attended a writer’s conference in June and a workshop in August… But after finishing twelve days away from work, I didn’t accomplish much writing during that time. I’ve come to realize there are reasons and excuses for not writing. A reason might be something like needing to do household chores, run errands, attend church activities, etc. Excuses I have been using are “I need quiet; I can’t concentrate when the TV is on.”

The sad thing about that journal is the next entry came on March 28, and I still wasn’t doing much writing. There are several other entries throughout the years where I wrote about my lack of accomplishments. Today I could look back at those years as wasted ones. But I won’t. I’ll call them “the learning years.” During that time I made the transition from writing non-fiction (mostly short inspirational pieces) to writing my heart’s desire—fiction. And I did learn a lot. I joined (actually co-founded) a local writer’s group. I became involved with a group of fiction writers online. I continue to learn and grow as a writer.

The year 2016 was my best one yet regarding writing. It’s the year I transitioned from being a writer to an author. I published a novella, was a contributor to three anthologies, and finally published the book I referenced in the January 2008 Journal entry. Unseen Motives was a long time in coming, but I feel a sense of accomplishment. Yet I don’t want to stop. I want to move onward and upward in 2017.

So what’s in store for this year? Writing wise, I began writing the second book of the Driscoll Lake Series, Unknown Reasons. My goal is to finish the first draft by the end of February with plans to publish it sometime in the summer. I also have plans to write a Christmas story collection, an idea that has been floating in my head for a while. And book three of the Driscoll Lake Series, Unclear Purposes is also on my list of goals.

I want to read more in 2017. Last year I set a goal to read fifty books on the Goodreads Challenge. About midway through the year, I realized I would never make it, so a reset the goal to twenty-five and finished out the year with twenty-six. This year I’ve set my goal at thirty, but would gladly read more.

Also on my goals for this year is to feature more authors on this site. I’ve joined a new group, Rave Reviews Book Club. I’m just getting my feet wet, but I look forward to the interaction with other authors and helping them promote their works.

And finally, on a personal note, I want to take more time to enjoy time spent with my family and to cherish the moments I have with them.

What about you? Do you set goals or resolutions for the New Year? I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment.

  • You’ve come really far in a very short time. Congratulations on a successful 2016 and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2017!

    • I owe a lot of that to you. So happy (and honored) to have been included in the anthologies.

      Wishing you a wonderful New Year!

      • Well, I’m glad you were a part of all of them. And you did all the hard work. Three stories, a novella, and a novel in 2016. That’s a really great debut year!

  • I want to congratulate you on your successes in 2016. Looking forward to watching you continue to grow as you write, and wish you the best of 2017!

    • Thank you, Sherrey. Wishing you all the best and I look forward to seeing your memoir soon. I’m confident this will be a great year for you!

  • Joan, you had a fabulous 2016 and appear to have lots of goals moving ahead.I can feel your enthusiasm and know you’ll do great. And I’m so glad you joined RRBC. You’re going to love it! Happy New Year!

    • It was a good year, Mae and I look forward to more in 2017. Happy to be a part of RRBC. Still learning the ropes. 🙂

      • It takes a while to get settled in….I know there’s a LOT, but once you get the hang of everything, it’s a great place to be 🙂

  • Congratulations on all your success, Joan. You deserve it for all the hard work you’ve put in. Happy for you.

    • Thanks, Anne. It was a long time in coming. I so admired (and still admire) those in the first Tribe Writers class who were brave enough to put there work out for the world to see. (You being one of them.) Had it not been for connecting with such a wonderful group of people, I probably would still be thinking about writing a novel.

      All the best to you for continued success in your writing.

  • kathunsworth

    Way to go Joan things will start to take off in 2017 your writing journey has wings now. Im still hoping to finish my first picture book. Last year I went hard at the start and lost my way when art took over my world. Hoping to find a balance between the two this year. All the best with your novels, well done, its been wonderful watching you grow and reach your goals. Big cheer from OZ.

    • You’ll get there, Kath. You are too good of an artist to waste that talent. I’m confident you’ll be able to merge the two.

      • kathunsworth

        Thanks Joan January is a time for hitting goals but we will be moving house, can’t wait to settle in new place and find my creativity again. Summer has been very hot too. Thanks for the encouragement.