A Year in Review, 4th Edition

It’s been four years since I started sharing about my writing journey. There isn’t much about my writing that has gone exactly as I’d planned and, with all of the ups and downs, I’m grateful for that.

I started sharing about my writing because I wanted to read about and see what a writer really goes through as they work toward getting their stories on the page. I wanted to know what writers did to fight revision fatigue, how they planned their stories, what happened when they had a goal they wanted to reach, and what their experience was like finishing a draft. I knew that the path of writing was not as simple as to think of an idea, write a draft, send it off, and get published. I KNEW there was so much more than that, but so much of what we see is the success story and not the journey to get there. Even when we do hear about the journey a writer we love took to get to publication, it’s after the fact. They reminisce on the experience once they’ve reached their success. I wanted to see the road to that place and sharing my journey has helped me in that way that I was looking for. Do I think I will be published? I don’t know. But do I KNOW that it won’t happen if I don’t try? Absolutely. Beyond that, I also know that the most important thing to me is the writing. It’s getting those stories that only I can write onto the page and working toward sharing them. It’s meant something far greater than I realized to take the scribblings and notes in my journals and chase them into their story form on the page. It’s meant things that I still struggle to put into words, even all of these years later.

This past year has been so vastly different than I imagined. I entered the phase of writing where every story idea I wanted to turn into a manuscript is, in some form or another, complete. I’ve reached that point where I have revised manuscripts and some of those manuscripts are out in the world, being evaluated for representation. They’re getting all of the positive rejections that keep telling me, “not yet, but keep going” and “don’t give up.” I’m no longer focused on whether or not I can complete a draft or whether or not I can revise it well, but on whether or not the story is ready to be queried. Sometimes I stop and look behind me and I have to work to see the place I started. I forget when I’m reminiscing to friends when I began writing in earnest or when I finished a project because I am so deeply immersed in the work. Then, when I take a moment to reflect and look back, I can recognize just how far I’ve come. I can say too, without a doubt, that I never would have gotten where I am if I didn’t start. It’s so cliche, and hard sometimes I think to break it down into action steps, but is genuinely the truth. Looking back through this blog, I can see the moment I started, then the moment I finished, and the moment I began again. Each phase brought me closer to where I am now, each manuscript made me a better writer, and each moment made more resilient. If I can hope to have done anything in these last four years of sharing this journey, it’s a hope that I’ve inspired at least one person to try. Writing is not something that is only for some people. Writing, like education, is the right of all. Looking forward now is a lot like looking behind me. I have to work to see the place I’m going and, on the days when I doubt I can get there, all I have to do is remember where I’ve been.

In case you haven’t been told today, you are more than enough.

With you in words, Nikole

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