Every year here at Writers In the Storm, we picture one word to guide us through the coming year. It might be an action or a belief or a philosophy. Below are our words. We hope you will share yours with us in the comments!
Years ago, I was given some wonderful advice, along with a homework assignment from my eighth-grade history teacher, Mr. Morrissey. I remember his name! This is because he made an immense, positive difference in my life with a few statements.
He asked the student sitting behind me, “What color are Miss Lucey’s eyes?” She guessed incorrectly after seeing me five days per week for six years. Amazing.
Anyway, my household was troubled and chaotic. Since I was pretty much ignored at home, having a teacher pay attention to me in a positive manner touched my heart.
For homework he said, “On your way home from school, look for something out of the way and observe it’s beauty.” We didn’t have to write anything down and hand the assignment in, it was just for our benefit.
To this day I try to be observant, and find beauty in the unexpected.
Yesterday, I was doing one of those word search puzzles where the first four words that jump out at you are the ones to pay attention to in the coming year. While I usually give no credence to that sort of thing, these words exactly fit my recent life. My words in order were: family, change, lesson, creation. Obviously, coming off a year of cancer, I've had a lot of the first two in 2023. But it was the last two I pondered.
I've come to believe that the gift to be derived from cancer is the lessons. Overcoming fear. Patience. Gratitude. Believing in kindness. Giving back. Seizing the day - every day. Everything else comes from these things. So, for 2024, I am focusing on the lessons and seeing where they lead me.
The year 2023 was full of new experiences for me. I found a new publishing adventure and tried public speaking. I wrestled with technology and iterated my writing business, setting up automations and taking them down. And there have been many challenges as I have tried new ways to sell my books, with each iteration of my writing system leading to twice as many questions as I had before.
What? More questions than before? This means we don't ever get it all figured out? *shaking tiny fist* Darn.
More questions, more confusion, more complex systems to understand, all to tell a good story. And I don't feel alone. It seemed like many of our readers, and contributors here at WITS have had similar experiences recently.
Change is inevitable, so having the ability to PIVOT is paramount to finding success and satisfaction in our writing. Whether it is pivoting through paragraphs or strategizing my social media, I need to remain flexible and willing to change aspects of my writing career. And I wish this for each of you as well.
I live in the space between creativity and technology. With the introduction of AI, this entire space looks like the inside of Dorothy's tornado. Fundamental truths are mostly staying the same (connect with your fans!) but everything else in the space is whirling and twisting.
I'm experimenting and exploring. As each new tool comes out, there is a tiny part of me that says, "you're too old for this...." So I must constantly remind myself to adapt! Explore! Have fun! Find new ways of doing things, while protecting my creative heart and that of my students and clients. 2024 is going to be an adventure.
There is no one way up this mountain we call being an author. It can be difficult and draining and incredibly rewarding. In the past, I have used intuition and faith and perseverance to get to where I am but I want to move to the next level.
Intentional means done by design. It doesn’t mean ignore all intuition or joy. During 2024, I will make intentional choices that include intuition, joy, and peace and I will embrace the data that will help me make intentional business decisions on this year’s journey. Intentional decisions will help me climb this part of my mountain.
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