2016: This writer’s scenic route

2015 made for a magical year, over this way. Spring and summer meant plenty of farm visits to pick berries and pet animals; warm mornings meant throwing on my jelly shoes and charging into the yard while still in my pajamas, helping the Wild Boy hunt for bugs and chase birds; blazing afternoons necessitated plenty of sprinkler (and mud) fun, and still-sunny evenings called for wagon rides to wind down before bed. Then came fall, and Georgia’s fickle brand of winter, and lots and lots of rain. Arts and crafts, hayrides (on dry days), and learning how to ignore freezing fingertips while we play outside even more.

In between all of these tiny adventures, I strung word after word, until I finished my first novel. And then I threaded together more words–20,000 of them–to create the first several scenes of my second novel.

I edited. And edited. And edited. And I really didn’t think I could get it done, but I did: I edited my first novel. After three years, it’s finally finished. It’s done.

Well, except for that pesky little thing called a title, it’s done.

One novel complete, another coming along happily. Yes, 2015 has been a wonderful year for so many reasons. Now, 2016.

I’ve gotta be careful with goals. Resolutions. I shy away from them now, actually–they tease my destination-oriented self, which is buried in a shallow grave, and tempt it to clamber out from the dirt and rob me of enjoying the journey.

My 30th birthday is at the end of this year. (That’s the trouble with a December birthday–I turned 29 two days before Christmas, and yet now I can already say, “I’ll be 30 this year.”) Nothing says “hurry, hurry, hurry,” like such a birthday. Quick! Publish your first novel before you’re 30!

But with a toddler, and a new baby due this spring? No, 2016 is going to be a year of grace. Giving it. Receiving it. It’ll be a year of slowness–precious, patient pacing, celebrating even only a few words strung together, whether they’re in a book, a blog, or scrawled in my personal journal through sleepy, squinting eyes. 2016 will be a year of thankfulness, of being content even amidst messes, loose ends, frayed strings and, at times, frayed nerves. It’ll mean learning to smile at interruptions, hiccups, unfinished projects and unpolished paragraphs, and recognizing that there’s a purpose and beauty in all of it. I’m not in a hurry; I’m on my own little scenic route.

Because guess what? I never intended for my first novel to take three years to finish, but it did. And guess what? The story is vastly different, because it grew along with me–for the better.

I don’t write for the love of the ending, I write for the love of the journey. To be surprised by a story, as though it took on a life of its own and is whisking me along for the ride, is one of the many reasons I write.

I plan to chronicle my writing journey here. Hopefully, you’ll follow me.

Happy New Year!

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