I love the idea of a fresh start.
There's something so appealing about a new beginning, an uncharted course, a do-over. It's why every year, I make New Year's resolutions and manage to keep many of them.
But for the last few years, I've also followed along with the idea of choosing a single word to steer your course. Our Writers in the Storm team chose single guiding words in 2016 and 2017, and we're ready to go there again. Here are our 2018 words:
My word for 2018: Balance
Last year, in my focus to publish my first book and prepare the next two, my life became directed to one thing: THE BOOK. I spent twelve to twenty hours a day working on revisions. Seven days a week. I didn't take trips with friends like I usually do. I even turned down week-end excursions. I didn't go to movies or out to lunch with "the usual suspects." I ate what was fast and easy. Not only did my body suffer, so did my writing.
For 2018 BALANCE is the word for every day. At least seven hours of sleep, at least two healthy meals, continuing with my exercise regimen—which saved me last year—and writing on a reasonable daily basis, which to me means four to eight hours when I'm not on a trip with friends. This seems like a good plan to publish two (maybe three!) books, get healthier, and enjoy my life. Healthy and happy will be the outcome of balance in my life.
My word for 2018: Focus
My word last year was Becoming and I definitely allowed myself to play on the page, to write to the edges of my abilities, and to learn enough to increase those abilities as much as I was able. But I don't feel like I moved forward on my goals as much as I would have liked. All that learning takes time, and sometimes the work needs to be turned in as "good enough."
"Good enough" is a rough one for us perfectionist writers and the only way to get through it, in my humble opinion, is by setting (and meeting) manageable milestones and goals. I've downloaded Jamie Raintree's Writing and Revision Tracker and vowed to set firm weekly and monthly goals. I'll be depending on my tribe to help keep me focused.
My word for 2018: Forward
For too much of 2017, I felt like my writing career was moving backward or at least standing still. Some of that experience involved circumstances beyond my control, and some was self-inflicted. Regardless, by the fall, I was simply wallowing in my lack of progress.
In 2018, I want to leave those feelings behind, set my goals, and focus on moving forward. While I'd love to leap forward, I've been around the writing life long enough to know that you can't plan the tipping points of success, but you can keep moving in the right direction. This year, no more backwards movement or standing still—and no more wallowing. Instead, it's all about going forward.
My word for 2018: Rebuild
2017 was NOT a banner year for me. Lost my hearing in my left ear to a virus that fried the nerve for balance as well (didn't know that at the time). That led to losing my balance while fly fishing in Oregon in May, stepping in a hole, and snapping both bones in my lower right leg. A boat rescue, a titanium plate, 13 screws, and three months later, I was back on my feet.
Because my best plotting is done on my bicycle, this wreaked havoc with my WIP... and I had a deadline. A tight one. I made it, but about lost my sanity doing it.
In 2018 I'm rebuilding: my health, my bones, my writing process. I'm trying new 'planning' techniques (refuse to call it plotting, for fear my brain will revolt).
July, my first book of a new series comes out — I hope to rebuild sales as well!
Now we want to hear from you! What one word will guide your writing life in 2018?