Last week I announced the wrong date for my webinar titled “Make 2018 the Year of Your Story.” The correct date is this Wednesday, December 13, at noon Central Time.

On the call, I’ll be talking about the THREE essential things for making long-term progress with your writing—actually, with anything. If you want, you can write a book in 2018. No, really, you can.

This will be set up as a webinar, so you will just call in and listen and text in the chat room. Register HERE. We are asking for a $5 donation to the Village Writing School.

This week, my mom went through a crabby few days. No, she said, she didn’t want to walk around and look at Christmas lights. No, she didn’t want to get dressed. No, she didn’t want to eat the meal I fixed that she requested thirty minutes earlier.

Finally my halo slipped, and I said, “What the heck is wrong with you?”

“I’m old and deaf and blind. Sometimes I realize it and it’s depressing.”

Well, yeah. And I can’t fix any of that.

“There’s only one solution,” she said. “I just have to think about what I have. It could be worse.”

While I think “It could be worse” is a little back-handed way of celebrating, I know what she means.

2017 has been a year of disappointment for some of us. A year of pain and confusion and massive adjustment, which we may not yet be through. In addition to the most ridiculous divorce in history, in addition to giving up the house I build and lovingly living in for decades, I had a major disappointment in my writing. The New York editor whom I thought was going to trim a little history came back with the decree that “this needs to be written as a thriller.” Thrillerizing it was going to require a massive rewrite that I opted not to do.

But that in no way lessened the pain of feeling rejected and misunderstood. I truly thought that manuscript would be my debut novel. Someone should write a country song for writers and make sure there is lots of whining and wailing.

But . . . following my mom’s philosophy, it could be worse.

We’re in Italy, which is fascinating, and the people are wonderful to us, and every day is an adventure of one kind or another. But honestly, I’d rather have had my book published. Or gotten the right agent.

So, we have these dialogues with ourselves. I lost this, but there’s still this. My mom would say, “I can’t see or hear, but at least I’m not alone. I’m never bored because my daughter is unpredictable and my dog just went by carrying the fly swatter.”

We try to muster up some excitement for the new year even though some of us may find 2018 just a little hard to get excited about. Our country is reeling from a string of disasters of unprecedented severity. Floods and fires, storms and shooters. And politics has never looked so… political.  We’re worried and sad. We’re growing tired and jaded.

Maybe, we’re growing tired and jaded about our writing. Maybe we are worn out with thinking about this story that we want to write but still haven’t started after all these years. Maybe we have multiple manuscripts in boxes in our closet and we wonder: what’s it all for? Maybe we are burned out with trying to figure out how to sell these books or build a platform that truly connects with readers in a meaningful way. Maybe we’ve edited and edited and we don’t know how to know if we’re done. Maybe we’re beginning to wonder if it’s worth it.

My friend calls this “inner weather.”  I love that. Because what’s the one thing we know about the weather? It will change. If it’s stormy, or dark and dismal, we just hunker down and get through it.

2018 stands before us bright and shining and full of potential. If last year was not our year, that in no way means that this year won’t be. 2018 may surprise us. In fact, it will, if we surprise ourselves. If we do something different that we haven’t done before. Something to get us thinking creatively, something to keep us motivated, something that gives us enough satisfaction as we go along to keep us in it for the long haul.

It’s not 2018’s fault that we have failed in past years to be true to our dreams. It’s not 2018’s fault if 2017 has left us disappointed and exhausted.

2018 is standing here in his diaper saying, “Let’s GO! I’ll go down in history as your year. The year you made real progress, the year you finished, the year you published, the year YOUR writing dream (or whatever dream) came true.”

I think we should give 2018 the benefit of the doubt. I think, as you bake your cookies or hang your ornaments, you should think about what you really want to accomplish with your writing in the coming year. I think we should talk about it on Wednesday, and you can find out more about that call HERE.

Let’s stand together to make 2018 our year.
– Alison

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