Scott D. Parker
I have a printed quotation thumbtacked to my corkboard here in my office. It reads “A year from now, you may have wished you had started today.”
I can’t say for sure when I found and printed that quote, but I do remember a choice I made a year ago this month. I could be pithy or witty or funny, but it boiled down to a simple acknowledgement: You have not been writing for long enough. Time to start again.
It was 1 May 2013 that I started writing again. It was in fits and starts that first month, reminding my fingers and my brain what to do--actually they never forgot. I was just too lazy. Yeah, that last thing’s the truth, without the shiny candy coating. As May 2013 went on, I worked on what was supposed to be a short story. It ended up blossoming into a novella, the first of a new series character.
Looking back on the year that I’ve just lived, there have been some incredible highs: I wrote two novels, back-to-back! I wrote consistently! I created some new characters I really like! I can also recognize the not-so-highs (I refuse to call them lows): I realized my limitations. I realized the things I need to improve on to write better. I realized I need to always have a plan for my writing. Along the way, I kept word count totals (269,792 words written in 2013) and I had that incredible writing streak: 255 consecutive days of writing.
When I look back on my past year, I am very proud of myself. I can remember making the decision that 1 May 2013 would be the day I started again. Ironically, these past couple of months, I’ve again fallen into a non-writing slump, but I started again on May First. Looking back, I like how far I’ve come. Looking ahead, I now project new thoughts and goals on this new “Writing Year.” (I just thought that up; wonder if that’s a new thing for me. If so, then I get two New Year’s Days per calendar year!) If Writing Year 2013 was the year in which I reminded myself I can write and demonstrated I can do it consistently, then Writing Year 2014 will be dedicated to improving my craft, producing more content, and making it available to the reading public.*
If you are on the fence on some creative endeavor, let today be the day you start. A year from now, you will definitely thank yourself.
TODAY IS FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. Find a store near you and find a new story to enjoy. I'm heading out to The Pop Culture Company here in Houston.
*I know that goals are best achieved when they are enumerated and spelled out. I know that, but I need a bit more time before I make them public. I think I know the complete set of goals, but need to make sure they fit into a coherent and realistic plan.
Great post. True story.
I'm so glad I started writing. The two other areas this applies are learning to play guitar and learning to speak another language. If I had started these things 30 years ago, I'd be a Spanish-speaking guitar god by now! Lol.
Thanks, Kristi. I do not regret anything in my life because all my decisions led to my wife and my son. Having said that, however, I certainly would have liked for me to get the writing bug earlier in life and have had 20+ or 10+ years of writing under my belt right now. That's why I sometimes feel like I'm "behind" in my career when, in reality, I'm right where I need to be, frustrating as it can be from time to time.
Now that it's day time and I've had some coffee and replaced my heart that was ripped out by the Portland Trailblazers last night, I think the idea of a "Writer's Year" is a thing I'll continue to use.
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