What will this New Year mean for your writing?

It begins again… this cycle of seasons bundled into the whirlwind called Time.  We’re perched on the cusp of 2013, wondering how the past year – for me it’s more like the past decade – could have swirled away so quickly.

The last page of the 2012 calendar will fall away tonight. There’s a new calendar underneath, ready to take its place. Other than that, what’s likely to change around here? Probably not much.

The New Year is considered an ideal time for new beginnings but I’ve mentioned before that I don’t do Resolutions. I can’t see the point of setting myself up for failure by promising to do things I haven’t been able to accomplish during the past twelve months. But not making resolutions doesn’t mean I can’t make fresh starts.

Last week my DD Shari Green posted a Saturday Snapshot on her blog, sharing a photo of crocuses and suggesting the year’s end “is a time of metaphorical crocuses and fresh green growth and signs of life. It is a time of hope.”  I like the metaphor. While my crocuses won’t be visible for a while, the Hellebores buds are showing already and I expect the snowdrops will be close behind. They’re always an early reminder that despite blustery winter weather, a new season is on its way.  As Shari says, there are signs of hope out there.

Last spring's Helleborus orientalis blooms
Last spring’s Helleborus orientalis blooms

I need that hope in my writing life. It’s been as cyclic as the seasons. All year I’ve waffled between determination and doubt, enjoying my storytelling efforts while wondering if I’m wasting my time… one week believing the words have potential and the next convinced they’re total drivel. Then I came upon a comment by Nathan Bransford:

“Terror and joy. Confidence and self-doubt.
The best artists live right in that uncomfortable middle.”

He was referring to a talk by Ben Silbermann, co-founder and CEO of Pinterest, who mentioned that “even after all the success he has had with Pinterest he lives at the intersection of terror and joy.” Nathan went on to explain how that also applies to writing: you have to be brave and confident, willing to risk putting your words out into the world because you believe in them. “But you also have to be self-critical enough to edit your work and fear failure and be worried that your best might not be good enough, which pushes you just that much further. You have to be scared of what will happen if you don’t do your best. You can’t ever get comfortable. Terror and joy. Confidence and self-doubt. The best artists live right in that uncomfortable middle.

I gleaned encouragement and hope from those words. In the New Year I’m going to remember it’s okay to waffle… to teeter occasionally on the edge of uncertainty… as long as I don’t let it discourage me, but rather, make it feed my determination to produce better writing.

How about you? How do you feel as you get ready to launch into a New Year of writing? Hopeful? Fearful? Or…?


“Rejoice in your hope,
be patient in tribulation,
be constant in prayer.”

Romans 12:12 [RSV]

~  ~  ~


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

9 thoughts on “What will this New Year mean for your writing?

  1. It’s so funny that you would write about this today. As I sat reading my devotionals, Bible and praying I decided I waste too much time. After my worship time in the morning I spend too much time trying to decide what I’m going to do the rest of the morning. I.E. I only have four hours left (before hubby comes home)….I don’t have time to do this…..or if I start this project I can’t……..so I decided what I need to do is plan better!
    Thank you so much for your encouragement…….I ALWAYS know where to turn when I need to be inspired. No wonder I love you so!
    Happy New Year to you and your family…….and I look forward to our writing journey together! It feels so good knowing I’m not alone in this writing journey!
    Love you

  2. I love that comment from Nathan Bransford. Living in “that uncomfortable middle” seems to suggest a kind of balance, though, and I’m not sure I achieve that particularly well! I’m always tipping toward the terror and the doubt, and it does take a very conscious effort to tip things back toward joy and confidence. Even so, it is an encouraging image, that middle, and I think it will be helpful to keep in mind.

  3. Wonderfully put: terror and joy. It’s so true. It seems to balance out my life most days. And that’s okay. Happy New Year, Carol. It’s been wonderful riding along with you. Can’t wait to hear what’s happening in 2013. Big things, I’m betting.

  4. Carol…you gave me goosebumps with this post. Thank you for sharing and saying in such a good way that it really is okay to waffle and being in that in between spot is practically normal.

    Happy New Year to you!

  5. Happy New Year to each of you! Uncertainty isn’t a comfortable thing, but in the writers’ realm I think it’s more common than most of us realize. We aren’t alone, and that’s a good thing to remember in the darker moments.

  6. I hope to publish two books this year. Three in the works. I know what’s first. January is for finishing up my nanowrimo draft for the shelf or for an editor while I finish the revision plan for my mermaid novel. February 1 I start writing the mermaid story for a complete 2.0.

    I’m writing fastly in the middle right now, forcing myself to write some very evocative memories for me. From reading that quote, it makes me feel like I am a little less crazy and bunch on track.

    Here’s hopin

    1. Being a little “crazy” isn’t a bad thing when you’re writing an initial draft! LOL! If we try too hard we sometimes end up censoring ourselves and limiting the potential of our writing. You have some great goals. Best of luck!

  7. Because I knew that I would be losing myself to magic–the controlled world of computer programming–I sought to nurture the mystical side (and keep from going mad) by writing and translating poetry. When the wizards of how to synchronize sound with score, or the idiotic circumstances of my personal failures, would begin to overwhelm me, I would take a deep breath, climb Wind Mountain, or take a walk on the beach at Neskowin, and write. These poems and others are integral to this project–as integral as the technology itself. The one was mystery, the other magic. I hope that you enjoy both.

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