Saturday, January 2, 2016

Three Things I Learned In 2015

I've never been big on making resolutions on New Year's. I tried it a few times and promptly broke them every single time. But I do think that it's good to look back over the previous year and reflect on lessons learned. That's what this is. It may have a part two; frankly, I haven't thought that far out. But I know that, after this, I'll spend some time thinking about goals for 2016 and how to reach them. Anyway, here goes:

notepad, paper, pen, office, desk, wood, writing
1. It's all about the writing.
Truth out--I don't sell a lot of books. I haven't added it up, but it's really a pretty small number. Partly that's because I am frustratingly incapable of getting people who tell me they enjoy them to actually review them on Amazon. But partly it's also because of the fact that I just don't do some of the things I need to do to get my work in front of people. And I am working on ways to get both of those things to change. Would I like to sell more books? Yes, to be sure. But selling more books and making a meaningful amount of money is the bonus of writing. The real value for me is the writing itself. I find great joy and solace in the creating of a story. It's a satisfaction I've rarely felt from any other endeavor in my life. And that's for me. I hope others like them, but, again, others reading and enjoying them is in addition to the central aim, which is storytelling.

2. It's really easy to forget number one.
One of the first entries I wrote in this blog was entitled something like "For a Writer I Don't Write Much." Oddly enough, that could easily be a title for entries nowadays too. To be fair, I'm branching out and writing other things. After all, I now write book reviews for ClutchMOV and I will soon also be writing occasional theater reviews as well as other miscellaneous articles. Of course, I also write this blog once a week. And all that is, by definition, writing. But when I think of being a writer, my first thought goes to my big work in progress. Right now it's Shalan book four, which I'm excited to say has a working title that I think I will not share yet. Only Maria "Pepper Potts" Delgado and I know it. I will tell you it's inspired by a Christmas song. Is that vague enough for you? But anyway, I'm currently in the early stages of day 11 of a 12-day Christmas break and yesterday morning was the first time I wrote one single solitary word on that book. Actually, I wrote almost 1000 single solitary words--not many, but more than none at all. I think they were pretty good words, though, and I plan to write some more of them as soon as I finish this post. Sorry to move, albeit temporarily, to goals, but one of the things I want to do this year is set aside time to work on my main work in progress at least five days a week.

3. It's not really all about the writing.
silhouette, family, island, canada, lake, sunset, people, men, woman, dusk, travel, horizon, evening, reflection, vacation, group, friends, water That might sound just a tad contradictory, but I'll allow it. Yes, as a writer, it's all about the writing. But I'm more than just a writer. I'm more than just a teacher. I'm a human being and a child of God. I get great joy from writing, but I get even greater joy from my relationships with my family and my friends and God. If I were asked if I had to choose between writing and my relationships, it wouldn't be close. Yes, I would be sad to think that I'd never write another book or blog or review, but I would be inconsolable thinking that I would lose those people I hold most dear. Because I am not what I do for a living. So while writing is all about the writing, living is not.

I'd like to think I learned more than that, but I can't tell you everything all at once or you wouldn't need to come back next week, would you? And I hope you do come back--and bring some friends. In the meantime, I hope you have a peaceful, meaningful 2016 and that you make a difference to the people around you.