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One year…

One year since I threw ten years of writing in the trash.

One year since I laid in bed and asked God if I should give up writing completely.

One year since I started over.

I’ve been trying to write this newsletter for a few weeks now, but the words are hard and my heart is heavy, because these types of things should be positive. They should look forward to what will be new and exciting in the coming year. But that’s not where my heart is.

Did I accomplish my goals for 2022?

Sure. But those accomplishments came with burnout. They came with having my heart crushed by rejection. They came with bad feedback from readers who didn’t understand the story I’d been slaving over all year, while other readers were forced (by personal circumstances) to quit reading before they even started.

All of which has fed the monstrous voice of imposter syndrome in my head. The voice that tells me that all my struggle and long hours are for nothing. That my writing isn’t good enough. That I don’t know the first thing about structuring a story, let alone writing decent, legible prose. I know this voice is lying to me. But some days are harder to silence that voice than others and as I sit on the edge of another year struggling through these first and second drafts, that voice is a constant companion.

So, yes, I wrote two books in 2022. I had three flash fiction pieces accepted for publication. But even with all this, the voice of imposter syndrome wasn’t silenced. Publication and finishing does not come with validation, my friends. It doesn’t silence the doubt, and it doesn’t make the struggle any easier.

Do you know what does, though? Friends. Having someone, or a group of someone's, you can go to and be honest with about your struggles helps. God recognized early on that it was not good for man to be alone. God created us with the need for other humans, humans who support us and give us strength when we struggle to face another day. Even the most introverted and reclusive person needs human contact now and then.

And I am thankful for my friends in the writing community. For the #flashfictionmagic chat group, and the dozen or so of us who will pick up the proverbial pitchfork and storm the doors of publishers who dare reject one of us. Not really, but it’s the thought that counts in this case. Their willingness to drop everything and pray for each other or give encouragement when needed. Or the hilarious memes and typos that have created hours of chaotic laughter, that they always have at the ready.

I’m thankful for my dear friend Kaitlyn, who I’ve only met in person once, but is one of the first people I go to when I have a success I can’t wait to share or a struggle that keeps me up until all hours of night. She is always there with a word of encouragement or excitement for new things to come.

I’m also thankful for my friend Sarah, who’s been with me on this writing journey since almost the beginning. Sarah is always there with a listening ear and a gentle heart that directs my focus back to God when I feel myself sinking below the waves of doubt.

So as I go into 2023, I’m going to take a deep breath, lean on these wonderful humans for support, and trust in God to direct my steps where he wants me to be. Because ultimately my writing career is in his hands and I will trust in him and his plans.

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