Scott D. Parker
Thirteen is considered an unlucky number, but the year 2013, at least for me, was anything but unlucky. In 2012, I had a simple goal: write that second book. I failed. Thus, naturally, the goal rolled over in this year of 2013, but there was a mental change that hadn't been there before: I forgave myself for not writing that book in 2012. That may sound strange, but I needed to do that. That simple act wiped the slate clean for 2013.
That was January. For four months, I thought and wrote next to no fiction. Perhaps forgiving led to lethargy. Who knows? In May, however, I decided to write a short story as a means to get back on the writing wagon. It worked. I spent most of the month, off and on, writing and getting my feet wet again. On 28 May, the day after Memorial Day, I asked myself another simple question: how many days in a row can you write? I didn't know.
Now I know: 207 as of last night. I haven't missed a day of writing since 28 May 2013. That, in and of itself, is a definition of progress. A funny thing happened along the way: I ended up writing not one novel but two. Regular readers of this column can look back on my summer postings and see my weekly progress. The thing is, now, at the end of the year, I am amazed and proud of myself. And I think a large majority of the progress I made this year started by forgiving myself for my past failures. It was a barrier that I didn't know existed. But, once it was removed, the flood gates opened.
I now know I can write not one, not two, but three novels. I know I can do this thing about which I talk a lot. It's a positive step forward. Which is why the year 2013 will never be remembered as an unlucky year. It was a very lucky year. There's nothing like writing "The End" on your first novel. There is equally nothing like doing it again on your second.
I write these words not to showcase what happened to me and toot my own horn but also to illustrate a point: if you are a writer who is struggling, like I was for years, please know this: You Can Do It. Believe in yourself, believe in your talent, but acknowledge that the work will be hard and the road long. Forgive yourself for past failures if you have to. Once you get past the barriers that are holding you back, then you can make Progress. Let's all make Progress in 2014.
Once again, on behalf of all of us here at Do Some Damage, I'd like to thank y'all for sharing your time, your thoughts, and your companionship with us. We all truly appreciate it. Have a very merry Christmas and fantastic and safe holiday season.