Another Year Gone By

Here I am again, another New Year’s Eve, sitting on my bed and wondering why time speeds up the older you get.

I am very much a sentimentalist, and I am also very milestone-oriented. I have certain traditions that I always do on New Year’s Eve. My family always gathers in the living room to watch all the home videos we took over the course of the past year. (That’s always fun, because my dad likes to have a running commentary during ever single video.) Then I settle down for an hour or so of journaling, and I reflect on all the things I’ve done this year, both big and small. I like to outline a list of a things I will accomplish next year, usually very small goals. At the end of my list I write down one big thing I want to do. And of course I stay up until midnight to watch the ball drop. Since there’s no school tomorrow, I’ll probably stay up even later and begin working on my next writing project.

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So what has this year held for me? One the one hand, I set out to publish this year. It didn’t happen. Instead, I’m only barely done with the second draft of the intended book. On the other hand, I’m officially a three-time novelist.

I’ve seen some people choose a word to live by at the beginning of a new year. I’ve never tried that before; instead, I like to look back and choose my word at the end of the year. This year, I think my word was Fire. I like putting fire into all my books as a theme, and it usually happens by accident. This year, God decided to show me what it’s like to lose sight of the fire He’d previously placed on my heart, and then He decided to show me that He is powerful enough to rekindle it again. The Gospel is a fire that burns our hearts, and the desire to share it is like a little flame that grows bigger and hotter the more we ignore the urge to do so.

I always get a little sad when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. (Not that the clock actually strikes, because we don’t have a grandfather clock. I sure wish we did, though.) In the moment where everyone is cheering and fireworks are going off and the huge numbers of the new year are filling the TV screen, I always just sit there sadly. It’s like I’m staring at a huge open space spread out before me. I liked the year we already had. No need to start a new one. If I think about it long enough, I get overwhelmed by the prospect of an entire blank year of calendar pages staring back at me. It’s so empty. Why can’t I keep living in the one I filled up?

Looking back, this year hasn’t been quite as successful writing-wise as I’d hoped. I wrote one new novel and rewrote another. It’s a far cry from publication, but it’s not failure either. Crafting a brand-new novel over the course of a month? I’d call that a success. Creating a cohesive plot out of the jumble of random events I’d piled together? That was definitely a success. I mean a half-success. I’m still not quite finished with it yet. So, it wasn’t as much as I’d hoped for, but it’s something at least.

So even if your previous resolutions look like failures, look for the ways you have been successful. It’s not called optimism, it’s called honesty. It’s never uplifting to dwell on your shortcomings and failures. It will only push you down farther.

You may be asking, do I have any New Year’s Resolutions? Yes. Yes, I do. My 2018 New Year’s Resolutions is: Don’t publish a book. Here’s the brilliancy of it: I’ll probably have no trouble keeping that resolution. Then I’ll consider myself successful for being able to stick with it. And, well, if I don’t manage to keep it, by that point I won’t care because I will have PUBLISHED A BOOK. This particular resolution will also (hopefully) remind me to slow down and take the time to enjoy writing, rather than making a mad dash to what I think is the finish line (and really, publication is NOT the finish line).

I’ll see you all in 2018! I hope you have a lovely New Year’s Eve celebration, whether you’re staying up by yourself, partying with friends, sleeping, or getting so lost in a good book that you don’t notice when midnight rolls around. Happy New Year!!

What did you accomplish in 2017?

What do you hope to accomplish in 2018?

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