If my 2009 New Year's resolutions had been to spend the month of January being frustrated, being disappointed, being grateful for the power of my extended network of writing friends (in person and online), and being left to wonder (often simultaneously) if "this writing thing" was the best or the worst part of my life – well, then I would have to get a gold star for keeping those resolutions.
I'm still exhausted and reeling from a confluence of experiences, events and situations, writing-wise, that made up my month; not to mention the mental gymnastics required to keep myself on something resembling an even keel. Though I’m not trying to be coy or overly dramatic, it still feels too soon to write about any of the situations specifically, except perhaps to say that:
• Sometimes what I want (to do, to accomplish, to experience) turns out to not be what I need, at the time, either as a writer or as a person.
• Sometimes my personal family life reminds me, emphatically, that the writing has to take (a way distant) second place, and that sometimes, this is a good thing.
• Sometimes, many jobs, even the ones which I seem perfect for, will go to others, even to others who seem singularly unsuited.
• Sometimes, someone (or some organization/publication/group) who previously had offered a career boost, instead closes a door.
• Sometimes, a quiet supporter of my work comes forward to make an unexpected, bold gesture which humbles me, and opens a window.
…Accepted essays fall victim to folded publications.
…A new column never bows because of a shuttered website.
…Clients change their minds, their budgets, their email addresses.
…Agents lose interest.
…A long-awaited residency at an artists' colony is interrupted by…life.
- New writer friends appear and buoy me.
- A reading is well-attended.
- Downtime makes it possible to draft a business plan for a former idea, to polish a big chunk of a new proposal.
- Taking stock, slowing down, and taking a look around, once dismissed as luxuries, suddenly feel essential and important, and too-long overlooked.
- Writer friends graciously contribute killer guest posts, just because I ask.
- My family, and especially my husband, remind me that my presence is valuable, not (just) my words.
Always, and still, I come back to writing. And I remember, that there are twelve months in a year.
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