Every year as it drew to a close, my dad would invent a motto for the next year.
“We’re gonna thrive in ’95!”
The mottos made me laugh, and they captured a truth about life that I’m getting more convinced about, which is that you often get what you deep-down expect.
My dad died a couple of decades ago but the mottos went on. It was all very lighthearted until 2019, when my sister came up with “Expect plenty in 2020!”
As it turned out, we did get plenty in 2020. Plenty of weirdness and fear, that is.
My sister said, “hmmm, I should maybe have been more specific.”
2022 blew me away
I mean that figuratively, although we’re expecting a storm tonight…so who knows what’ll happen?
When I went on vacation, 2022 blew me away into another bandwidth of time and space. Then it blew me back onto my own weird hamster-wheel of this job I love so much. This time, I landed on the wheel with a different perspective.
What I loved
- writing a newsletter or a blog post every single week
- writing other stuff
- making other things, like KNITTING A PONCHO and THROWING A BOWL
- working with writers
- taking apart manuscripts to see how they tick
- applying my entire focus to tasks I enjoy
- reading incredible books
- putting out my Pleasure Journal 2023 and actually making some dough! (15% of which will go to Lifting Hands International to help refugees in Ukraine deal with winter)
- accepting my ambitious nature
- teaching writers and editors how to do stuff I learned the hard way
- hitting the wall at least twice due to my propensity to work long hours
- remembering to get some rest
- taking a 4-week vacation and loving it
- quitting exercise
- resuming exercise
- remembering how much I love exercising, especially lifting weights
- swimming in the Ligurian Sea
- Betsy Lerner’s newsletter. She cracks me up.
- Amber Petty’s teaching and coaching style
- Sarah Cypher’s Substack newsletter, The Bird’s Eye
- Simone Grace Seol’s newsletter
- meditating so regularly that I got to the point where I can’t wait to meditate!!! I never saw that coming
- and of course all the personal stuff, like long phone calls with my sister, hanging out with my kids, and doing stuff with my friends
- never let us forget the single most beautiful food in creation, cheese (unless you’re lactose intolerant, that is)
What I learned
- Nothing’s an accident.
- Everything’s unpredictable.
- If you’re not making any mistakes, you’re not making anything.
- And I think that gets to the heart of my 2022 experience: making stuff.
What’s wrong with resolutions?
Nothing, I’M SURE. One of my friends (actually, my soon-to-be-ex-husband), who bartended for years, doesn’t believe in resolutions. He’s probably seen too many drunken people making them at closing time on New Year’s Eve.
I’m not against them. But instead of making a resolution, I like to aim myself in a direction.
This coming year, it’s going to be more making. That’s not super new, but the new direction will be….
Sending my stuff out! Taking more of an interest in publishing! Finding a home for my deathless prose! Creating a home if none shows up!
I was talking to a writer yesterday who has six books in the drawer. She’s been traditionally published before, but stopped wanting to deal with the whole thing. She still liked writing, though. Now she’s 75, incredibly busy, and a little concerned that she’ll be on her deathbed regretting that she didn’t get those books out into the world.
It was like looking in a mirror and being mystified by my own reflection. I can’t really help writers sufficiently until I investigate what’s going on with myself.
I have no idea what that’s going to look like, which is how I prefer things to be.
What direction will you set for yourself in 2023? Let me know; I love your emails!
p.s. A Writer’s Roadmap has had its overhaul! If you haven’t been there for a while, check out the useful blog posts on all kinds of writing stuff, from mindset to process to craft.
p.p.s.Fiction’s Big-Picture Fundamentals (a mixture of online modules and live Zoom coworking sessions) will start again on February 3, 2023! If there’s a story you’ve been struggling with, catch the 20% early-bird discount.
p.p.p.p.s. Wait, that’s one ‘p’ too many. I wish you a Happy Hogmanay! I’ll be back in your mailbox in 2023.