The theme for this particular essay was to articulate what you were most proud of as a writer during 2012 and what you would do better in 2013. I was thrilled to document all this and even more thrilled to be chosen as one of the winners.
You can read my essay Taking The Plunge here, or, if the link doesn't work, the copy is below.
Taking The Plunge
2012 will go down for me as the year I finally took the plunge and followed my heart. No, not in love, (although maybe that too will happen one day,) but in life.
After almost thirty years in the corporate world, I had attained an executive position that most people would strive to keep; however, I chose to walk away. For the first time, I chose my life-style over my work-style and my heart finally began to sing.
So what have I accomplished this year? Small, but significant milestones.
I quit the last vestiges of “normal” corporate life in August, along with the middle seats on crowded airplanes and the sticky coverlets of cheap chain hotels. I created my eponymous website in October and started a blog, which I enjoy writing immensely and which is getting great reaction. I entered the Barefoot Writer Challenge in October and actually won! I wrote an article about adopting my second dog, which was published on the animal sanctuary’s website in December and I had a holiday story published by my local newspaper, along with an anthology of stories from my writers’ group, that I also collated and edited.
I think that’s pretty good for just three months.
What I’m most proud of is my courage. For a long time I thought I needed the protection of the corporate mantle to survive. What I’ve learned is to have faith in my own abilities and not be afraid to talk about my writing and what I want to achieve.
I had a seed of an idea for a non-fiction book, which took root in my brain, quietly but insistently pushing itself into the world. This seed has grown into a sapling I’ve been sharing with writing friends. One conversation led to another and I’m thrilled to say that I have a deal, which will be inked in the New Year for that sapling to become a full-grown published tree!
As for 2013, there are two things I need to do better. The first is to market myself more. I need to take this newfound courage and parlay it into selling my work to wonderful (and well-paying) clients.
The second is focus and concentration. Focus in order to define a niche that I can be successful in and concentration to remove distractions. Like most writers, I read a lot, which means I sign up for a lot of newsletters, blogs and websites that offer writing tips, networking advice, job-seeking advice and more. The problem is sorting the wheat from the chaff; otherwise I spend more time reading about writing, than actual writing.
So for 2013 I have three succinct writing goals: first, monetize my writing. Second, publish my first book and be well on the way to publishing the second. And third, keep living a successful Barefoot Writer’s life.
Happy New Year to everyone and may you all fulfill your writing goals!