It is New Year's Eve, 2008, the cusp of a new year.
I'm a wildly optimistic person and every year I proclaim that the next year is going to be the best yet. And, nearly everyone of them turns out to be best in some arena. It may be very difficult for some people to come up with good things to say about 2008, given the upheavals we've experienced. Once again turning on my Pollyanna persona, I believe these are necessary shifts we've had to go through–and that 2009 will be better. I'm excited about our president-elect, for one thing. And I'm excited about the opportunities for writing in 2009.
Although the publishing industry is in turmoil, it is going to be a good year for writers. Not only will many of us find more time to write because of fewer business obligations, but in general a depressed economy forces us to stay home more–and what better thing to do at home then write? Along those lines, I have plans in the works to assist you in your writing endeavors next year.
But first, before we get to what's in store for 2009, I present my year in review, along with a list of favorite posts.
Good Things About 2008
1. My ghostwriting career took off. I've been privileged to write several books for wonderful clients. This allows me to enter a different world and become the person I'm writing the book for. Gives me a small taste of what being an actor must feel like.
2. After teaching in the program for five years, I became co-director of the wonderful writing program, The Writer's Loft. Anybody interested in improving their writing skills should take a look at the program. It is based in Tennessee, but since its a distant-learning program you can live anywhere and take advantage of one-on-one focused mentoring.
3. I started Bookstrumpet, which is floundering at the moment but had a glorious beginning with many wonderful reviews from various people. I'm pondering this blog's future at the moment. One possibility is to incorporate all the material into Wordstrumpet. Ideas?
4. Word Strumpet became available on Kindle and at this writing it is currently #12 on the bestseller list in Lifestyle and Culture. Thanks to all my Kindle subscribers!
5. I began a newsletter, The Creative Equation, and got some subscribers. Thanks, guys! For those of you who don't yet subscribe, you can do so on the front page of Wordstrumpet. I send it out irregularly and don't harass you with tons of emails about stuff to buy. But it is the best way to keep up with news about product releases and my plans. (See below)
6. I started running and found many commonalities between the practice of running and the practice of writing. See below for some of my posts about it.
7. I made two wonderful new friends, Rachel, and Mayanna, both of whom I adore. And I kept up with my old friends in Nashville, too numerous to list here, and LA, and my bestest friend, Suzanne. I share a love of writing with all of them. Rachel and Mayanna both started blogs this year and Suzanne really got going on hers.
What I Resolve to Do Better
1. Respond to comments more consistently. I love, love, love it when you guys comment yet I don't always manage to comment back. No excuses. I'll do better.
2. Be as helpful with your writing as possible. I want to do more posts on craft and motivation, as these are what the respondents to my survey said they really appreciated. I also want to do more posts featuring exercises you can use in your work immediately.
3. Send the above-mentioned newsletter out more regularly.
4. Fully embrace the possibilities of blogging and allow Wordstrumpet to be all that it can be.
Favorite Posts of 2008 (Mine and Yours)
1. The series on words. Part one is here, part two here, and part three here. This seemed to be a crowd-pleaser, and I loved reading the comments about how you find strong verbs and other good words. We writers are a word-loving bunch!
2. The series on scene. Series seemed to be big this year, and since scene is often a point of confusion for writers, this one went over well. Part one is here, on flat scenes is here, part two on elements of a scene here, and part three on rising and falling action here.
5. The Filtering Consciousness. An arcane but important aspect of craft.
6. A Day in the Life. I'm trying to get better about not devoting quite so much time to writing.
7. Birdsong. I thought this was just a little throw-away, but people loved it. I did too.
8. The Character Who Wasn't Dead. Sometimes we writers are kinda dense.
10. Finally, I resisted this one, because it is multi-parts, and creating all these links is a lot of work. Plus its almost time for me to get ready to go out. But I did a whole series on The Writing Bogs that I've since turned into an Ebook called Set the Words Free. So, here are the links: part one, part two, part three and part four. Phew! I could swear there was another one, but I can't seem to find it.
Looking Ahead to 2009
For the record, my biggest non-blog-related goal is to get a contract for my novel. Go, Emma Jean! I know a lot of you are also looking for agents, writing query letters, submitting like crazy. So let's all communicate and support each other through the process.
Besides the above-mentioned goals, I want to give you a heads-up on what I'm planning, project-wise. My biggest goal is to get my pet project off the ground–the Charlotte Rains Dixon Novel Writing Academy. Is that not a fabulous and grandiose name? I adore it. And its going to be wonderful, a membership site full of lengthy and informative articles, forms, and exercises. Plus regular teleclasses, videos and all kinds of goodies.
Realistically, it is also going to take a few months to get off the ground. So in the meantime I hope to offer a product or two. Stay tuned–and thanks for hanging around as long as you have.
Happy New Year to all!