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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Year in Reflection

It's hard ot believe that we're coming to the end of another year. Where the heck did 2015 go? 

It's at times like these that I like to reflect on what happened in 2015 and see if there are any lessons I could take into 2016 and beyond. So, without further ado, here's what I learned in 2015:

1) Work smarter, not necessarily harder. Writing, unlike many professions, doesn't give an hourly wage. If there are two ways to do something, and one way takes twice as long, it makes sense to do it the shorter way. I know this sounds like a no brainer, but sometimes we do things the hard way just because we're familiar with them, or because we don't want to give up control of the process. Sometimes learning a new technique or passing a project off onto someone else can be the difference between keeping your sanity and losing it.

2) Collaboration is good, except when it isn't. There are two sides to every coin. Tackling a writing project with others can be fun and creatively stimulating. Sharing the promotional burden often brings in new readers, too. Working with others can also be frustrating, however. You need to compromise and adjust to other people's work habbits. This can and often does take you out of your comfort zone. If not managed properly, drama and hurt feelings can result.

3) It isn't always about the money. Okay, I'll admit that I like getting paid for my writing. I mean, who doesn't? That being said, sometimes taking on a less lucrative project because you find it more creatively stimulating can keep you energized. You may also learn new things that will help you down the road.

4) The internet is a powerful tool. Sometimes it's too powerful. Writing is a lonely process, and often we turn to the internet to find comraderie with other writers and readers who understand us. We also use the internet to research facts for our stories and learn industry news. While all of these things are great, they can also be damaging. Hours can be wasted falling down internet rabbit holes and getting caught up in the drama of others. The more we learn about other peoples' opportunities and milestones, the more likely we are to compare ourselves to others and fall short. All of this drains our mental energy and takes us away from the most important thing - writing books. Which brings me to my last lesson.

5) Balance is key. After months of suffering from depression and aches and pains, I decided to start going to the gym. I can't even begin to say how much this has helped me both physically and mentally. Spending time away from the computer has increased my output, if you can believe it. The adrenaline generated while at the gym carries over to my creative side, resulting in less writer's block and less difficulty with decision making. While I am still trying to perfect my writing schedule, I know that these small tweaks are helping me create a more balanced lifestyle that will keep mewriting in the years and decades to come.

So what new things are in store for 2016? Well, I've started out by offering two free reads to anyone who signs up for my newsletter! (Psst - you can sign up here.) I'm also going to release the next two books in the Black Towers series in January and March. I'll also be releasing a brand new X-Files-type paranormal series, which you can read about here, and much, much more. A lot of it I can'tmention quite yet, unfortunately, but if you sign up for my newsletter, you'll find out about my secret projects as soon as I'm able to spill the beans. ;)

Tell me, what was the big lesson you learned in 2015? I'd love to hear from you!

Suzanne Rock, Author
A lifetime New Englander, Suzanne married her college sweetheart and has been with him for over twenty years. Every summer she drags her husband and two daughters to Maine on a quest for the perfect lobster dinner. Every fall she can be found down in Foxboro, Massachusetts cheering on her favorite football team. In between those trips, she’s a chauffeur, a maid, a chef, an event planner, a hairdresser, a wardrobe stylist, a tutor and a sometimes masseuse. To keep her sanity, she often drinks copious amounts of coffee and stares at the blank screen of her laptop, dreaming of great adventures. Sometimes she even writes them down for others to enjoy.

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Cara Marsi said...

I love your list, Suzanne, and it's so true. This year, especially the last quarter, has been hard. I lost two loved ones. I learned from that to appreciate the important people and furry friends in my life and not to "sweat the small stuff." This coming year, I want to focus on writing and quit worrying about sales, reviews, etc, but just write for the love of it. Happy New Year to you, and I hope 2016 is a good one for you.

Judy Baker said...

Thanks so much for the list. I agree with everything you said, especially getting back to the gym. I fell short of that much needed release in 2015 and plan on getting back through 2016. Thanks for all the reminders. Happy New Year.

Paris said...

Great list, Suzanne. This year was a tough one but it's time to look toward the future and try and remember to enjoy life along the way. I think I'll balance going to the gym and my writing goals by enjoying a glass of wine and a chocolate or two and getting out with friends and family. Happy New Year and wishing you the best of luck in 2016!

Melissa Keir said...

Balance is so important. I have finally given myself permission to not work my behind off so that I can enjoy my family. Life is too short!

Happy 2016!!

Denysé Bridger said...

Wonderful list, and one so many of us can relate to. I am sorry you've battled the depression demon, Suzanne. I've come to the conclusion it goes hand in hand with creativity, but it's a nightmare to live through. Go you on the gym, too. Here's hoping the coming year is one that is blessed on all levels!!

jean hart stewart said...

Only one thing in life matters. The love you have in your heart for others, and the love they have for you.

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