2010 – The year that was… in writing

Last week I wrote a post reflecting on 2010, and particularly on my emotions. I had intended it to be the first part of a series, but I left it a bit on the side after writing that first post. Now I’m reading the post again, and it seems to me that  I’m trying my best to sound positive, but it all feels a bit forced, like I’m really just trying to convince myself. Underneath that thin veil of optimism there is a strong underlying pessimism that is constantly trying to claw its way onto the surface. Maybe it’s just me, but the whole piece just feels so indecisive… so messy. Then again that was probably the way I actually felt last week, so in that sense it is an interesting piece to read back. Fortunately I feel much better now. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the usual cycle of emotions I’m going through, and next week I will feel horribly down again. But let´s not dwell not that for now and make use of this rare bout of optimism to write some more reflections on 2010…

When I think of 2010, one of the first things that comes to mind is writing. I started the year as a real wannabe writer. I’m still reluctant to call myself a true writer, but in 2010 I’ve taken my first real steps to shedding the wannabe label. People say that time flies and normally that’s true. But then I think back on the very first writing course I’ve followed via Amsterdam Writing Workshops which is taught by Lisa Friedman. That was March this year, a mere nine months ago, but it seems like such an eternity already.

In these nine months, I have written more than in the previous ten years combined.
In these nine months, I have written more worthless junk than in the previous ten years combined.
In these nine months, I have written more precious gems than in the previous ten years combined.
In these nine months, I have discovered more joy in writing than in the previous ten years combined.
In these nine months, I have learned more about becoming a better writer than in the previous ten years combined.

And you know what? A year from now I want to be able to say the following:

In the past year, I have written more than in the previous eleven years combined.
In the past year, I have written more worthless junk than in the previous eleven years combined.
In the past year, I have written more precious gems than in the previous eleven years combined.
In the past year, I have discovered more joy in writing than in the previous eleven years combined.
In the past year, I have learned more about becoming a better writer than in the previous eleven years combined.

I realize that these past nine months is just a small start. I realize that there is so much more left to do than what I have done in the past nine months. I realize that if I don’t continue with writing, these past nine months will have been a terrible waste. For the first time in ages, I actually enjoy writing. For the first time in ages, I am actually proud of stuff that I have written. Writing is not longer just something that I need to do, but writing has now also become something that I want to do. I know there will still be plenty of times when it all feels so pointless, when I feel that what I have written is just horrible. But I also know there will be plenty of times when it all feels so rewarding, when I feel what I have written is simply a work of art.

These are the things I hope to keep in mind for 2011:

  • Focus on short stories rather than novels. I don’t think now is the right moment for me to go write a novel.
  • Focus on finishing a story instead of just writing bits and pieces of stories.
  • Lately I’ve also been doing some research on literary journals to see which of them accept submissions (and what they pay), and of course reading those journals to get a better feel of what they are looking for. I hope in 2012 I will have written something I’m actually proud enough of to submit. I know, 2012 doesn’t sound that ambitious, but I don’t handle pressue too well when it comes to writing.
  • And of course, have fun while doing all this!

Finally I would like this moment to thank my fellow bloggers and fellow students of the Monday evening writing class (you all know who you are :)). I know I’m not the most social of persons, but meeting people, either online or in real life, who share the same passion as me is truly an amazing experience. If in the past nine months I feel happier and more dedicated towards writing, it is because of all of you. I’m not exaggerating when I say I wouldn’t have come this far without any of you. So here’s to a happy 2011, and may we continue to find joy in our writing!

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