Spectacular. Messy. Lessons in Both.

Spectacular. Messy.Lessons in both.

A friend of mine posted this challenge on Facebook on New Years Eve: describe 2015 in three to five words. Five words? A whole year to summarize. I write 65,000 word novels and struggle to keep my weekly blog posts at around 300 words (this one is way over, folks). Despite the difficulty, I loved her idea of summarizing all those year-end thoughts in this really concise way. I chose these five words:

Spectacular. There was a lot of big goodness in my life this year. Traveling to Paris and Belgium. Winning an award for one of my novels. Garnering a non-scathing Publishers Weekly review for the other one. Speaking at a national conference. Joining the Board of Directors for my local writers organization. Running more than ever (up to 9 miles at once, and my best time ever on a 10K). Feeling physically strong and healthy (on account of all that running). Publishing an article on a USA Today blog. Experiencing a lot of growth in my higher education career, notably a substantial promotion right at the end of 2015.

Messy. While it would be lovely to paint a picture of all that big goodness happening in a cloud of glitter, it didn’t. I spent a lot of 2015 wrapping my head around how to make my writing career and my higher ed career play nicely together. In the beginning it looked like frantic attempts to make my art pay the bills – which resulted in creative paralysis because I couldn’t think of that just right thing to fit in with the market and sell, sell, sell! I stopped enjoying writing. Which made me profoundly sad. In the end, the decision I made, the one that I feel so peaceful about, that is helping me slowly (one hour at a time) fall in love with writing again– was to pursue BOTH careers full-steam ahead and not place the pressure on my art to earn a certain amount of money. This surprised even me, so I’m pretty sure looks pretty confusing to anyone not inside my head.

Lessons in Both. In this swirling mess of a spectacular year I realized that sometimes I talk too much and sometimes way too little. I need to listen more carefully and quietly, not just to others, but to myself. It was a year of  learning that sometimes you have to start before you’re ready and when enough people you trust are telling you to leap– it’s probably a good idea, even if your legs are really shaky. And finally, in oh so many ways, 2015 was a year of learning that sometimes moving forward looks like backing away.

What are your five words? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-jan-2016

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13 thoughts on “Spectacular. Messy. Lessons in Both.

    • Haha! I think I meant more along the lines of “saying too much” at not quite the right time. Thanks so much for reading and letting me know you enjoyed the post!

  1. “…big goodness happening in a cloud of glitter…” HA! I laughed when I read that. Great sentence. Very funny.

    I’m so impressed that you could boil down a reflection of an entire year into five words. And those words are so powerful! Spectacular. (Cool! What’s that about?) Messy. (Oh no! What happened?) Lessons in both. (How freaking AWESOME. Tell me! Tell me the lessons…)

    I enjoyed this post so much!

    • Thanks, Julie! Wouldn’t a cloud of glitter be lovely! Thank you again for hosting your super awesome blog hop– I love these!

  2. I loved this post. It really made me think about my year. Not sure I could sum it up so brilliantly, though. Your post shows how important it is not to put too much pressure on yourself – stress curdles any creativity. Something to think about next time I’m stressing over my word count!

    • Yes! So glad that was helpful to you! It’s so easy to stress about word counts and sales numbers– but I think the most important thing is to write the story. A few words a day is better than zero words a day, for sure.

      Also, it took me more than a little time to come up with those 5 words!

  3. So relieved that others here are not listing 5 zesty, eloquent words to describe their 2015. I will have to think long and hard about that. Congrats, too, on your running achievements!

    • Haha! Yes, I certainly took some time to come up with those words. Thank you so much– I think I started out as a really reluctant runner (primarily because I convinced myself I wasn’t a runner), but I’m really enjoying it these days.

      Also – not sure if my comment posted on your blog– but that New Zealand farm you wrote about was AMAZING!

  4. Pingback: So… How’s the Writing Going? | Mary Chris Escobar

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