2021 Focus Word Recap

Hello Lovelies, and welcome back. Every year since 2018 I have picked one word to focus my goals around for the entire year.

In 2018, I chose Focus because I had too many projects and none of them that were completed, so I really wanted to practice focusing in on just one project and seeing it through to completion.

In 2019, I chose Hustle, because while I largely was able to teach myself the focus in the previous year, I was facing multiple rewrites and I wanted to see just how many words I could write in a single year.

In 2020, I chose Perseverance, because the problem with hustle culture is that you can do many amazing things if you’re ever in need or in a pinch, but hustling for an extended period of time can and will burn you out. And by the end of 2019, and coming into 2020, I was way burnt out.

This year, the focus word I chose was Energy. Looking back at my post, 2021 Focus Word, I had gotten a good process down for writing books. I had been learning nearly everything I thought I needed to know in order to write and revise novels, and to get critiques, to do the hard work of editing the book, and to then putting myself and my book out there again and again to agents. I was preparing to continue the process of querying while also writing book after book in a almost routine way, and I thought, a little foolishly, that what I was going to need was to bring my energy for writing and for querying back to the table again and again.

It turns out that I did need energy this year, but not in the way I thought I would. I needed to slow down, and to figure out things that made me feel balanced instead of chaotically rushing along at top speed.

I have a tendency to work myself to exhaustion and I am relearning what its like to take moments of rest. It’s hard to comprehend that rest for most people doesn’t need to come after all the work is done. If I wait until all the work is done to do anything fun or restful for myself, then I will live out the prime years of my life and worked really hard during those years but have little of the good memories to show for it.

And I say that I needed to slow down, and that is certainly true. My writing output hasn’t been what I’m used to in years past, because I took on a more deliberate style of writing that is naturally slower but is supposed to produce cleaner drafts.

The thing that I was trying to pitch to agents got put on screeching hold because I needed it to fit a larger purpose and it was going to have to be rewritten for a fifth time. And the thing I started out the year wanting to write also got put on hold for the same reason, because it too was part of the larger body of work and now, because of other changes I’d made to the thing I was pitching, I couldn’t write it either, but honestly, the new place these novels sit is way better and more interesting, so I’m glad I had the breakthrough before I published any of them.

I spent a lot of time this year in not writing, but in doing a lot of thinking, and a lot of reflection, for myself, for my novels, and for my writing career in general.

And of course I said I was slowing down, yet I started a weekly podcast this year that I kept up with without fail, and I post (almost) daily on TikTok and other social media platforms, where my reach has grown to over 600 people across those platforms, in addition to keeping this weekly blog. If I had 600 people in the same room come to see me I would be overwhelmed.

I am incredibly thankful for every person who has chosen to stop and listen to my words in whatever form they take. I know I still do not have any books to show for it, but I am still trying so hard, every day, every week, every year, to learn all the things that I need to learn, to overcome all my own mental blockages that keep me stuck, and to put myself out there.

I am passionate about writing books. I simply cannot see a world where I will not be a published author someday. That reality is one I will not accept, even if it takes me longer than other people to make my dreams a reality. I have said it once and will say it again: you only lose when you quit. And I am not quitting.

Thank you again for sticking around for this longer, chatty post. The year is almost up and though I fell way short in some ways, I have also had extremely positive outcomes that I couldn’t have predicted. I hope you take some time to reflect on your year and see how you did.

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