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.
NOTE: Due to the timing of this announcement, this week’s regular post will go live on Thursday, October 13th.
Remember my recent hints of a new “project”? Today I can finally share it: I’m joining Writers Helping Writers as a Resident Writing Coach! (Read more after the jump.)
Some of you might recall that I’ve been struggling with blogging after a crazy-busy August. Not with ideas or visitors, but with time and energy. This week, I’m feeling the best I’ve felt physically and mentally in the past two months, but I only have one post scheduled instead of two. So, in a way, the results of that “burnout” are starting to show.
I’ve also been thinking about the time I spend on this site. I already cut back on my blogging schedule earlier this year because I couldn’t keep up the aggressive pace I’d set. Back then, I figured, “Blogging twice a week should be fine.” And for a while, along with writing every other month for DIY MFA, it was.
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had a enjoyable and safe end to your 2015; and would like to wish you the best in health, love, and creativity for 2016.
Also, I know I keep thanking you, the readers, for helping to make this blog what it has become… But, honestly, YOU deserve so much of the credit. Thank you for commenting on each post, sharing your thoughts and ideas, and sharing the links on your own blogs and on social media. Most importantly, thank you for your enthusiasm, encouragement, and thoughtful feedback. You put a smile on my face every day I’m here. 🙂
I used last year’s Happy New Year post to sort of “wrap up” the 2014 highlights for the blog and for me personally, and to look ahead to 2015. Since I was happy with the final product, I’ll do the same again for this year’s:
Exciting news, everyone: As of today, this blog is open to guest posting!
This is something I’ve been contemplating for a while, and for several reasons. It allows you to offer greater variety in content, helps you build relationships with other writers / bloggers, increases traffic… Basically, it’s a win-win situation for the host as well as the guest. And you bet I’m game for that!
So, what am I looking for from guest posts? How can you pitch your idea to me if you’re interested? Well, you can check out the Guest Posting Policy page, but let me go into a little more detail below. Continue reading
Just a quick note that starting today, I’m on a “mini” blogging hiatus for Writer’s Digest Conference. The Time Flies monthly wrap-up will still post as scheduled tomorrow (Friday, July 31st). I may check comments from time to time over the weekend, but I won’t formally be back until Tuesday, August 4th.
Also, the first post-hiatus article will be July’s Recent Reads recap, which should go live on Wednesday, August 5th. There will be no 5 on the Fifth in August, but the meme will return in September.
Finally, I should be around on Twitter as time allows during WDC. You can catch me at @SaraL_Writer and see what I’m up to! 😉
Hope you’re having a fantastic week!
Happy Monday, everyone! 😉
I’ve worked on some more site updates since the main overhaul 3 weeks ago. In addition, some new article ideas have been percolating – ideas that excite me, but have caused me to reconsider aspects of my blogging schedule. So, I wanted to let you know what’s new, what may be changing, and what may be on the way.
As always, I welcome any questions, suggestions,or other feedback you have. Feel free to post them in the Comments section at the end of this article. Continue reading
Yes, I finally buckled down and did it! 😉
Welcome to SaraLetourneauWriter.com! It’s just like my previous blog, except with a domain name, a new theme, and a few simple cosmetic changes. I still have a couple other tweaks in mind, but right now I feel comfortable enough debuting the upgraded site to readers.
What do you guys think? Do you find it readable? Less cluttered? Easy to navigate? Also, I’d like to include a Random Facts section on my About page. What kinds of facts would you like to see there? Maybe favorite authors, books, movies, etc.? Anything funny or more unpredictable?
Take a look around and let me know what you think (and what random facts you’d like to know about me) in the Comments section below.