The end of a calendar year is a natural time for reflection, so I’ll share some thoughts on my writing for 2016.
I expended much of my writing energy writing blog posts, publishing 2 dozen posts besides the ones I wrote here on plainswriter.com. Over 20 of those posts were over at Altarwork.com, where I explored issues related to faith and my personal life. More specifically, I wrote about such things as body image, disordered eating, self-image, and human interactions.
Because I expended a fair amount of writing energy elsewhere, I didn’t write as much here on plainswriter.com. But all of the blogging involved a lot of introspection and self-discovery, two worthy pursuits that have helped me to reside in a more joyful and emotionally stable place.
2016 was a quiet year for my short-fiction. I worked on a couple of story revisions off and on, but I couldn’t gather much traction. Earlier in my career as a writer, this “lull” would have cause me worry, but now I am much more accustomed to shifting writing seasons and even “years.”
Of course, all of blogging falls in this category, but I also wrote a freelance essay for a forthcoming anthology. Although the piece was around 1,500 words, I worked through multiple drafts over about a month-long period. It was a challenging yet rewarding piece to write, and I look forward to seeing it in print.
Throughout the year I had toyed with the idea of starting a book-length memoir dealing with my eating disorder. It wasn’t until the second week of December, however, that I gathered the motivation and discipline to begin the process. I set a goal of at least 500 words a day, and I’ve been at it for over 3 weeks. I plan to continue writing until I “finish” this first draft.
I received a summer-research grant from my university to work on a book-length poetry manuscript, and so in May and June I devoted the majority of my writing time to revising those poems and organizing them in a meaningful sequence.
Later in the summer, I contacted an editor, and he and I have begun the process of working further on the manuscript to make it more publication-ready.
I’ll continue working on the poetry manuscript and the memoir first draft. I’ll continue blogging (more here) as well as for other publications. Since I will not be teaching any summer classes, I hope to work more on short fiction since the longer spans of time are more suited to working on stories.
However, as I’ve learned in the past year and a half, I cannot measure my “worth” by my word-count, my publications, or any such thing. And there’s also no point in comparing myself to what others have accomplished (or haven’t accomplished). I will instead continue to put words together, making sense of of things as I travel along.