Happy New Year, friends! I hope you enjoyed your December holidays and are ready to start 2021 on the right foot. Last year was tough for everyone, though we also can’t lose sight of the positive or amazing things we experienced. The latter is something I definitely want to remember . . . which is why I’m excited to announce this special online journaling workshop!
On Monday, January 18, I’m hosting Choose Your Words for 2021: A Journaling & Intention-Setting Workshop from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. Eastern. This event, which will be via Zoom, is designed to be a fun and creative way to use journaling to set intentions and put your hopes for the year ahead into words.
Hey, everyone. (*waves hello*)
First and foremost, how are you and your loved ones doing? So many people are sick, discouraged, or anxious right now, and it hurts me to know this. But that’s the reality we’re dealing with because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Almost every aspect of our lives has been put on hold for the time being. So I wanted to reach out, say hello, and make sure you’re OK.
Happy Friday, friends! In case you missed the news on social media earlier this week, I just announced another new service for writers: the First 50 Pages Critique!
This offering is a shorter, budget-friendly alternative to a full manuscript critique. It doesn’t cover a complete story or project, but it can still give writers a good idea of how to strengthen one of the most crucial sections of their manuscript while alerting them to potential issues in later chapters. So if you’re considering having your work critiqued but aren’t sure you can afford it at full price, this may be a good option.
(Read more after the jump.)
I have exciting news of a different kind to share with you today: I’m now offering outline critiques at Heart of the Story!
This service is perfect for writers who have an in-depth outline (20 to 40 pages) for a writing project but haven’t started the first draft yet. It’s a great way of ensuring that the structure of your story is solid, each scene has a purpose, and the main characters show a potential for growth or change.
(Read more after the jump.)
If you follow me and my editing / literary coaching business Heart of the Story on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you may have noticed an experiment I’ve been running on Mondays. It’s called Question of the Week, a conversation starter where I post a question about writing and any writers who are interested can respond.
So far, some of the questions have focused on your current writing project. Others have been about reading (since reading is an instrumental part of being a writer, right?) or the highlights and challenges of the writing process. So the topic varies from week to week; and since it’s not a chat with a set timetable, it’s something you can drop in on at your convenience.
I don’t have a regular blog post going up this week. But I do want to share a couple website-related updates that might interest you. In fact, you may have already noticed some of them in the sidebar and also in the navigation menu. There are two in particular I’d like to highlight, so let’s jump right in with…
This is the Big Secret Project I’ve been working on since September: my own freelance editing and writing coaching business! I know I’ve been teasing about it for a while, but I’ve been reluctant to say much publicly before things were truly ready. And now, it’s Launch Day for…
So what kinds of services does Heart of the Story offer? Who is the business designed to help? And, what does the business mean for this website? This post will go over all of that. So, without further ado…
The end of December and beginning of January is a thoughtful time of year for me. I think back on the previous year, the highlights and achievements, the setbacks and lessons learned. Then I turn to the year that’s beginning to unfold. I ask myself, “What can I accomplish by the end of the year? What do I want to do? How can I continue to embrace the projects and ideals that matter most to me?”
This year, I’m taking that goal-setting to a new level by trying a New Year’s ritual that my friend Leanne Sowul practices. Every January, she chooses a word to guide her decisions, intentions, and actions for the next 12 months. In that way, it becomes a sort of theme for her year. And knowing what I’ll be up to in the near future, I’ve chosen my own word to be my touchstone for 2019.
Before I share that word, let’s put 2018 into perspective.
Last January, a friend gave me this New Year’s party hat. The timing for this sparkling “gift” couldn’t have been more appropriate: I was ready to send a YA fantasy novel to beta-readers, and 3 weeks into a crowdfunding campaign to help me afford a trip to the Iceland Writers Retreat. Not to mention I had a whole list of goals and plans for 2017, and if things worked out the way I’d hoped, maybe I’d be closer to my dream of being published by year’s end – a pretty good “best year ever.”
Today, that hat still sits in my writing space (a.k.a. my dining room table), and I’m no closer to being published than I was a year ago. But that doesn’t mean 2017 was “not the best year ever.” Rather, it turned out much differently than I thought it would.
Was it challenging? Absolutely. Discouraging? At times, yes. But it was also one of the most exciting, inspiring, and humbling years I’ve had the privilege of living.
For all those reasons, I can’t write this annual reflection post in the same way I’ve written those of past years. Instead of focusing on milestones, blog statistics, and defined plans that could change in a few months, I’d like to share what I learned this past year. How certain events sent my mental health spiraling and shook my faith and self-confidence. How other events and important choices helped me heal and made me look at life – even why I write – from a different perspective. How it all, in the end, reminded me that I’m intelligent, creative, and determined enough to rebound from setbacks. Continue reading
Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed the December holidays and had a fun, safe end to 2016. 🙂
Looking back on the year, one of the words that comes to mind is “growth.” This site especially was booming. Thanks to all your shares, likes, and comments, 2016’s stats in terms of page views and visitors doubled 2015’s. And that’s despite the fact that I slowed my blogging schedule to once a week. I may be the one who writes and runs this site, but you, the readers, deserve much of the credit.
So, thank you for stopping by and coming back, for sharing your thoughts and offering feedback, for spreading the word and celebrating milestones with me. But most of all, thank you for encouraging and inspiring me. Yes. You inspire me to be not only the best writer I can be, but also my best and fullest self. And for that, I’m truly grateful.
So, let’s get to the annual year-end wrap-up, along with some quotes that reflect my feelings about 2016 and my hopes for 2017.