At the end of every year, I like to sit down and make lists: one for the lessons I learned that year, and the goals I’d like to accomplish in the following. It’s a great moment of reflection for me. In the making of the lists, I tend to uncover something I hadn’t noticed during the year. Like the changes I went through, the way I see myself now, the friends I lost along the way, how necessary almost all things are.
This year had a lot to do with rejection. In my personal life and in my creative life, I faced rejection. I began 2018 letting things hurt, really focusing too hard on things I couldn’t change when it came to partners and love and myself. I learned that I couldn’t make anyone stay. And it wasn’t worth changing myself to do so.
Creatively, I did a lot. I wrote ten drafts of a book I wrote for myself. I read more widely than other years. I studied the market. I let my closest friends read my book. I queried when I was afraid to. I applied for Pitch Wars. Out of the handful of agents I queried, two asked for the full. It was one of the most vulnerable things I’d ever done. And, in the end, being rejected stung. It hurt more than I can really put into words, but it’s all part of the process, of becoming a better writer.
None of those moments were fun. Sometimes, reflecting isn’t either. It’s so easy to get lost in nostalgia, and that often leads to acknowledging the uncomfortable, painful moments that led to the realization. Growth is never easy, that much I know for sure.
So, this year, when I sat down to do my yearly reflection, I wasn’t sure what I’d find. In many ways, 2018 was a quiet year. Quiet but overwhelming. Loud and painful. There were so many moments I dreaded before they ever began, and so many I still wish would have never ended. In the end, I’m thankful for the good and the bad, because I grew due to both.
Here we are, the beginning of 2019. I have big hopes and dreams, but also broad goals that don’t necessarily require accomplishment. They simply require my effort. I’m still learning to not be so hard on myself, for the inevitable times when I will not live up to my own expectations, when perfection cannot fit into my vocabulary.
In 2019, I don’t want to simply be more productive. I want to thrive in creativity. I want to enjoy the process of drafting again. I want to fall back in love with writing. And that’s why I’ve been so absent on my little corner of the internet. I haven’t enjoyed writing in a a long time. Heck, these days, even writing an Instagram caption is too stressful.
I know that January 1st is just another day. For the most part, we’re all still the same person as we were before the clock struck midnight. But I can’t deny that I love the idea of a clean slate. Of the opportunity to continuously reinvent myself, my craft, this life of mine.
So here’s to a year of creativity, to falling in love with whatever and whoever, to pushing myself, and to practicing more self-care when necessary. I hope that you thrive in 2019, that you aren’t too hard on yourself and that you spend your days doing what you love.
What are your goals for 2019?