Looking Ahead to 2022

Holy shit what a year.

Sometimes it feels like a lot happened, and sometimes it feels like nothing at all happened.

I decided to stop querying.

I wrote a whole new book.

Shelved said new book.

Started another new project.

Finished new project.

Now what?

As I sit here pondering this next year of life, I’m wondering where I’d like to be a year from now, and what steps I can take to get there.

I know that in my ideal fantasy life I’d like to be agented, but in my not-so-perfect life, I know that’s not super realisitc. I also know that I have a long ways to go, something that can feel overwhelming and frustrating especially when it feels like I’ve already worked so hard. The idea of needing more time, more work, more learning, feels exhausting and intimidating.

But… This is why so few people make it over the finish line. It’s hard. Like really hard. And few people have the work ethic or the patience to keep at it.

So this year I’d like to set aside my ambitions of being an agented writer….and hopefully published author, and instead go back to basics.

Years ago when my whole world revolved around dance I decided to go back to basics. No more advanced classes. I would only take beginning classes. I was going to “start over” and work on my technique. I put aside my ego and joined the ranks of beginners who didn’t know their plies from their tendus.

And you know what? I grew as a dancer.

Now this year, in 2022 I’d like to do the same. I’m going to put aside my ambitions, and just focus on being a student––not a wannabe writer, not an aspiring author, but a student. I want to hone my craft, unlearn bad habits, and just allow myself to start from scratch as a beginner. Because truth be told, in many ways I am a beginning. Just because I’ve been doing something for years, doesn’t automatically put me in the intermediate category. Nope, I have A LOT of learning to do this year. And every year.

I’m going to study the mechanics of story telling. I’m going to learn how to better manage conflict and stakes. I’m going to stop pantsing and start plotting (this is a me thing, not a indictment of pantsing). I’m going to work on my flow. I’m going to read as much as I can. I am going to prioritize learning opportunities over my own ambitions. Most of all, I’m going to take a step back and just focus on being a better writer.

Truth be told, I’m not ready to be anything more than a student, a lesson I wish I’d learned years ago. But that’s okay, because holding ourselves to unrealistic, or even impossible, timelines is a great way to set ourselves up for failure.

Maybe it’ll be ten years before I’m ready for an agent, or maybe five, or maybe two. And that’s okay.

It’s okay to not be ready, as long as we keep pushing ahead, growing and learning, and don’t give up.

So here I go, feet first, into 2022, ready to start over and just focus on the learning part of writing, rather than the doing part.

Cheers and happy new year! xo

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Heather McBreen

Heather McBreen

Reading is how we explore our world and writing is how we inhabit it. On a journey to becoming a published novelist. Women’s fiction, rom coms, historical fic.