Always Move Forward

As it’s the last day of the year, I really should do this post I’ve been thinking about for oh say the last three months or so. It’s a personal thing, that the last quarter of the year sees me thinking a lot about the end of that year, probably because I’m perpetually reminded that it’s coming closer.

I did this last year, and it was a wonderful experience, so you can imagine that I’ve been looking forward to doing it again this year. As accomplished as I felt at the end of last year, the feeling is more intense this year. In a way, I’m a bit thankful that I don’t feel the need to try to top all of this, because that would be a tall order indeed in all statistics except one. One thing about doing this last year. I made that post as much about going forward as looking back, and that’s my intention for this post. You can only successfully live your life in one direction, forward. Better to face that way as you’re doing it.

I was lucky enough to have a year with very little sorrow in it. Given what I’ve seen friends go through, my heart aching for them all the way, I count that blessing very dear. I know that this won’t always be the case, so I cherish this.

I’d like to start with the smallest and in many ways least important element, as I believe in saving the best for last. I practice that in a lot of things. I think it’s why dessert’s supposed to come at the end (sometimes I cheat on that one). So, let’s start with the finalizing of my divorce. Yes, that’s a good thing. For those of you who were not here for the end of last year (and looking at my follower numbers, that’s most people), I separated from my now ex-husband in the middle 2011, and it was for the best. He’s a nice guy, but we shouldn’t have been together. There’s a lot of reasons for that and I’m not about to go into them. Finalizing the divorce was good partly because the whole process was starting to feel like tedious old business. They make you wait a year from separation where I live before they’ll grant the decree. That’s done now, and I’m happy to move on with my life.

I was glad to see a fair number of my family and friends this year. That sounds small, but when I moved away from them all to the other side of the country (because Vancouver is really where I belong), seeing them got more difficult. I didn’t see them in 2011, so getting to see most of them this year, some of them twice (*waves to Em and SJ*), was a real treat. That one of those occasions involved the very beautiful and happy wedding of one of my two best friends in the world made things even sweeter. I hope to see them again in the coming year.

As you already know from reading this blog, even if you do so irregularly, this has been a crazy successful year for me in writing. I’d say the best ever, but the truth is that I only began taking writing seriously in about September/October of 2011, though I’ve been claiming I’m a writer for years. That was when I started doing more than talking about ideas. Now I sit myself down and work on writing-related things every single day. In that time, I’ve found my writing getting stronger, my ideas more out there and fantastical and intense. We won’t, by the way, be trying to add up the number of ideas for stories and projects I’ve had. “A Lot” seems to sum it up quite nicely and keeps me from thinking I have to give up sleeping to get to them all. 🙂

Over the course of 2012, I’ve written a lot of words, even if we’re just talking about current word count of everything I’m working on. I wrote 5 novels and am working on my sixth (sadly won’t be finished in 2012). Those add up to 571,616 words, if we go with their current word counts as of today. Obviously that doesn’t include amounts for editing and Unmasked is, as I said, unfinished. I’ll probably get 5-6k in today on that, which isn’t statistically significant in that total (omg, how can can I have written so much that it’s not significant?). There’s also nothing included in there for outlines/prep work/notes. I can and will, however, add in another 36,378 words for the 5 short stories and 1 novella I wrote this year. That means that I wrote 607,994 words of new fiction in 2012. Um, okay, I’m just going to go sit and ponder that for a bit. That’s a lot of words. Yeah, I’m NOT going to try to top that in 2013 (or at least probably won’t).

Part of writing that much, for me, is the process I follow. I don’t know why, but it works well for me, even at high speed. Maybe especially at high speed. I spent a lot of the year practicing that speed too. I participated in all three NaNoWriMo events (June and August Camps plus November), winning all three. I also did my own private version of that for each of the novels I’ve written that weren’t part of the official events. As I keep telling people, though, the volume and speed are partly a result of the prep work that I’m always engaged in, thinking about my stories and writing notes for them, working out how the story goes in advance. When I sit down to actually write draft, I know what I’m going to write, not the words but the events. That said, sometimes there are detours and the way it comes out surprises me. It keeps things fresh and interesting and also keeps this writer on her toes.

And, of course, my year end look back wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Bound. I got my first book published (no, I did not just squee, I don’t know what you’re talking about ;)).  I feel good about it, and the reviews have been generally positive, the written ones especially so. It hasn’t been very long since I put it out there for people, so I can’t say for sure how sales are over all, but that’s okay. It’s the start of that path and, being an indie, I have to remember that this road takes time, that it’s almost always slow at the beginning. One step at a time, and a VERY big thank you for everyone who has picked up and enjoyed Bound, and for the wonderful support of all my friends and family, both in the physical and virtual worlds. I have no words to tell you how much that has meant to me (no, not because I used them all up writing, I swear).

I’ve learned a lot about writing in this last year and I suspect that’s a trend that will continue in 2013. I have no intention of stopping or even slowing down. I can’t afford to, not with all the stories circling my head, begging to be told. Regular readers know some of the names. No one knows them all, including me since a few haven’t decided to share those yet. I’m not setting any specific writing goals for the coming year. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing, writing every day and working on my stories. I do plan to get the books I’ve written out there pretty much as soon as each is ready. I hope you all enjoy them.

I think that the biggest thing for me to work on in the coming year is balance. It’s a big deal to me, but I’m not great at it. I get too wrapped up in story. I forget so many little things, like eating and housework and the little touches of day-to-day life. I really need to get better about that, but I have serious doubts that I will. Story always beckons, my laptop whispering words as the keys wait for me to breathe life into all of it. How does one manage to resist such a song? I’ve never been able to, and that’s only gotten worse as I’ve begun to take the writing more seriously. I want to live all day long in that space where other worlds flow through me. I’ll find a way to deal with the rest, I guess. It’ll be my on-going battle.

So, there’s my 2012, and a small peek into 2013. I’m ready. I’m eager. I am excited. Bring the future on. It does look friendly and bright. All the best to everyone else. Have a happy New Years (for those on my side of the date line) and I hope you’re off to a great start (for my friends on the other side).

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About Julie

I'm a writer and photographer. I always have something with me to take notes for ideas or writing projects I'm thinking about or have on the go. I also like to go around with my camera and take pictures of anything that strikes me as beautiful or evocative. I'm perpetually working on one story or another, while waiting for enough distance to judge the last one (or more). I'm always working on several projects at once, developing the next book, even as I'm editing the last. Beyond that, there's always plenty of scraps and twists of ideas rolling around in my head, eventually turning themselves into full blown stories.
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9 Responses to Always Move Forward

  1. I’m sure you have a fantastic future ahead of you starting this New Year. I personally make a wish for Health, Wealth and Happiness for you in 2013.

  2. jmmcdowell says:

    I’ve been wishing many people inspiration in the New Year, but I think you’ve got that well covered! So I wish you time to get those ideas onto the page and happy get-togethers with family and friends. 🙂

    • Julie says:

      Thank you! I wish you all the writing time and inspiration you might want, health and happiness and time with family. Only the best of things in 2013. 😀

  3. Ben says:

    Congrats on such a great year! Wishing you even more success and happiness for 2013!! 🙂

  4. 4amWriter says:

    I love the feel of beginnings, especially when you’re still in the middle of wonderful things — which you are. I’m so glad things are going well for you regarding Bound. I have not read it yet, but I promise to get to it soon. I have to re-prioritize my reading list now that so many blogging friends are self-publishing. Here’s to a successful and happy and healthy 2013!

    • Julie says:

      Thank you! I certainly hope you enjoy Bound.

      And yes, beginnings that are also middles are fabulous (and less scary) when good things are happening.

      Cheers to you and I hope your 2013 is off to a great start, and continues to be wonderful, full of good things and successes. *hugs*

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