A Good Year



My 2015 writing diary arrived yesterday. I love new writing stationary. For me, it symbolises new beginnings, hopes, dreams and aspirations. But before I opened the package, I made myself plough through my old diary to see where my journey began and where I’ve ended up after a year. Even though it’s not a Forest Gump achievement and involved no running whatsoever, my journey has been a life changing experience of which I am proud.
In January 2014, I jumped onto a path of the unknown. A path that I chose to take. At first it was a straight track that led me to complete two writing courses, 32 new short stories, completing my first novel, writing five articles. Then came the twists and turns of the bends in the track. I had no choice but to follow. What lay beyond was a mixture of emotion.
Firstly, accepting and learning from a professional’s critique. I made the mistake earlier in the year of sending off four pieces at once to be critiqued. My tutor strongly advised me to send one piece in at a time, next time. Obviously there was much need for improvement at this stage but I was actually quite proud of my resilience and I didn’t cry much. I ploughed on and after a few months my tutor sent a story back stating it was at publishing level. That story was short listed in a competition.
In May, I started to send my short stories to women’s magazines in the UK. Sending work out into the ether and losing control over what was to become of it was quite a difficult transition. Then the rejections started to land in my post box. One after another. What a horrible feeling that is. In order to cope with rejection and to ensure that my work didn’t suffer, I had to change my mindset.
By the end of September, I had completed the second draft of my d├ębut novel. Edited it by the end of November and now it is out searching for an agent. It left the house fully equipped with highly polished battle armour and to take safety one step further, Peter Jackson kindly offered me Frodo’s protective vest. 
Reflecting on my achievements this year has motivated me to continue into the new writing year with vigour and even more determined grit. I aim to write my second novel and will continue to send off my short stories in the hope that perseverance will eventually lead to publication. I wonder what lies beyond the next bend of my writing path?


I would be interested to know if you use a diary as a motivational writing tool?


Comments

  1. I definitely do! I also use it to monitor my progress with whatever I'm writing ie number of words/pages etc. I love to look back and see how much actual writing I have accomplished - even if it never gets published. As they say, writing is re-writing and procrastination can be a big problem when you have rejections coming in and you're confidence takes a knock. Good luck with your next project and have a good xmas and new year!

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Pat. As I was looking through my diary, I was so impressed with what I have achieved; all the weeks with their word counts etc. Amazing. I am so glad that I was strict with myself and made daily entries. Makes it all worth while, when you look back :) Have a fantastic Christmas, Pat. I wish you lots of success and happiness for 2015.

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  2. Hi Nic .. thanks for your help earlier. I don't do a diary ... and definitely don't remember all things .. but my brain is creative and can conjure snippets up.

    I certainly hope to put some of my postings out into the ether this year .. so I'll be following a slightly different route - but who knows what I'll do later in the year once I've set the posts in motion. The blog continues on regardless ..

    Have a great 2015 - and good for you for checking around to see what's going on .. and good to see you here ...

    I don't know if you've spotted but I and many of us get involved in April doing our A-Z over the 26 days (not Sundays) ... we meet lots of bloggers that way ... perhaps you could put that into your mental schedule - the details start coming out in January .. my last year's 21 March post gives you an overview: http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/aspects-of-british-coasts-2014-z.html

    Cheers and see you around - happy writing in 2015 - Hilary

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    1. Thank you for popping over, Hilary. Next time, I promise to put the kettle on :) Wish you a fantastic 2015 and a lovely Christmas. Thank you for the tip. I will most definitely look into that. All the best.

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    2. Good .. it'll be fun to have you around .. don't be daunted by the numbers of bloggers - we go where we want - and meet who we want .. so it's an opportunity to tie in with new friends ... cheers and Happy Christmas and a successful 2015 - Hilary

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  3. Hi Nicola - huge apologies that I've only now discovered your lovely blog! Loved your post - I too can't wait to start my new Mslexia diary in January. Wishing you much success with all your writing in 2015. x

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    1. Thank you for finding me, Rosemary. Your blog has been so inspirational. I love it!! Isn't the diary great? I wish you continued success in the new year and have a fabulous Christmas. All the best.

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  4. Your year is very impressive, Nicola. You have achieved a huge amount. Well done on the shortlisting.

    I have been working on the second draft of a novel all year and still not finished it. I have been re-writing more than writing as I had to work on revisions, which took so much longer than I expected. I read the short stories out loud and that showed up all the flaws and meant I was constantly reworking them.

    I always have a diary (I fancy the Mslexia one this time), but never get round to writing anything in it. Maybe 2015 will be the year I actually do use it. I hope so!

    Good luck with all your writing projects and I look forward to hearing your news. xxx

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Joanna. I have bought a variety of diaries over the years and have never used them. This year, I have had to make a concerted effort to log all that I do each day: to prove to the hubby that I am actually working whilst he's at his money earning day job :):) and to keep track of my targets. Investing in the Mslexia diary has inspired and driven me throughout the tough days (weeks) as the year has gone on. Well worth the money.
      I wish you lots of luck with your writing projects - new and ongoing - Joanna and hope that 2015 brings you all the success that you deserve. I really appreciate your regular comments. All the best.

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  5. You have had a great and productive year - remember, everyone's writing career starts with rejection in some form or other... It's what makes us stronger and our writing better. Good luck for the novels in 2015 x

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  6. Thank you, Wendy. Wishing you continued success in the new year. Have a lovely Christmas.

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  7. Now there's an interesting idea - using a diary to motivate you. Never thought of that, but I can see how it would work. You have had a very busy and productive year, Nicola. Congratulations. Best of luck with your submission - I'm sure Frodo's vest will be a big help! I'm editing a novel at present, so will be joining you in Submission-Land very soon. Let's hope 2015 is a good year for both of us.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Sue. The Mslexia diary has inspriational quotes and small exercises to keep one going throughout the year. I love mine. I wish you a lovely festive season and hope 2015 will be filled with successes and happiness. All the best, Sue.

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  8. What a lovely blog! Well done on all you have achieved this year.

    I don't use a diary like that - but I probably should! The Mslexia one looks great. I hope you enjoy recording the next year in its pages. I feel sure you will have plenty to put down. Here's to 2015!

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  9. Thank you so much for popping by and leaving a comment, Joanne. Lovely to meet you :) Wishing you all the best for the new year.

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  10. I love writing in a diary and what I put in it can definitely be used for writing inspiration and motivation. I always say a writer should have a journal even if it's just to jot down ideas. :)

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Chrys. I also have a small notebook and pen in every single handbag - one never knows when an idea pops into one's head, which needs to be written down. In the past I tried to remember ideas but that just doesn't work for me. Something that pops into my head can ever so quickly pop out again :) Wishing you all the best for a successful new year.

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  11. You had a great year of learning and growing. Rejections are a bummer, but it's all in the timing.
    I don't keep a journal, although I could look back at my blog to see my journey.

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    1. Thanks for popping by, Alex and leaving a comment. Wishing you a relaxing festive season and continued success throughout the new year. All the best.

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    2. Hello Nicola - thank you for posting a reply on my website in November. I hope 2015 proves to be a good year for you and you have success in your writing

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    3. Thank you for popping in, Jacqueline. Lovely to see you here. All the very best for the new year. May it bring you continued success.

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  12. Sounds like it's been a great year! My blog is like a journal, I guess, but I do use multiple notebooks and journals for story ideas and plotting.

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    1. Thank you for visiting, Milo. Nice to 'meet' you. It certainly has been a great year for learning and putting words on a page. I must say, I am totally hooked and look forward to achieving a lot more next year. All the best.

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  13. I don't use a diary but my vision board serves a similar purpose. It hangs above my desk and holds things which represent what success looks like for me. It also holds markers of points along my journey. Congratulations on your achievements in 2014 (learning how to cope with rejection is a huge achievement) and wishing you much success in the year to come.

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    1. I love the idea of a vision board. Being able to directly see successes, rather than leaf through a diary must be motivational. I may well devise one of my own to work alongside my diary. Wish you continued success throughout the new year, Jen. All the best.

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  14. I've often considered the Mslexia diary but never taken the plunge. I'd be interested to see how it looks on the inside. I love my diary, but it's very much for keeping track of work. Looking at what you've achieved this year makes me feel very motivated. Here's to more of the same to you (apart from the rejections and tough critiques) for next year.

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  15. Thank you, Diane. I took the plunge and haven't been disappointed with the Mslexia diary - just because it keeps me organised and there are inspirational tips and exercises in there to keep me going on those dark days. I wish you a lovely festive season and much success in the new year. Thank you so much for commenting. I greatly appreciate it.

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  16. Perseverance is key to success, Nicola, so keep on writing, keep on sending your stories and keep on seeking that agent! The important thing is to keep on believing in yourself and your capabilities. Can't wait to read your post when you achieve your first goal - and it will come:)

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    1. Thank you, Fran. I am so grateful for your supportive comment and I will look back upon it when those dark days seem to hover too long. All the very best and I wish you continued success throughout the new year.

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