Pondering 2022 Writing Life Lessons

By Julie, planning on decking the halls after I schedule this post

Some months coming up with a blog topic for the Wickeds is easier than others. This month, because of the season, I’m a bit more reflective and had trouble landing on one. So I decided to share a few thoughts I have about my writing journey.

It’s Better With Friends

Edith Maxwell/Maddie Day, Liz Mugavero/Cate Conte and Julia Henry/Julie Hennrikus at the Cape Ann Holiday Author event

Last weekend Edith, Liz and I sat at a table at a Cape Ann holiday author event. We sold some books, which is lovely. But we also had fun being together, meeting readers and chatting with other writers. A few days ago a debut author tweeted about her launch party where only two people showed up, and many authors chimed in to share their stories. Here’s what I know–never doing a solo event mitigates that because you’ll be there with a friend or two and you’ll figure it out. I remember Shelia Connolly and I doing a library event and there were only three people in the audience. I was deflated, but Sheila decided that we’d have more fun sitting around the table together and talking. She was right. That day is now a treasured memory.

I’m a Plotter

Last month I wrote a post about Plantsing NaNo Style, outlining my hopes to pants a roughly plotted novel during the month of November. Pantsing is a term that is used for folks who “write by the seat of their pants”. Normally I am a plotter, which means that I think through every scene in my manuscript before I write it. I was hoping that a very rough outline and some ideas would be enough to get me through the month. I was wrong. While I did get 30,000 words written, they were painful to write and are truly terrible. I need a map.

I want to make it clear that there’s no one way to write. Many of my friends are organic writers aka pantsers, and it works for them. I’m a proud plotter. That doesn’t mean I don’t have surprises while I’m writing. What it means it that I create a map to follow, and while I can add side trips, I can get back on track.

I’m Always Learning

SinC Writers' Podcast image with R. Franklin James episode

I am fortunate enough to host the Sisters in Crime Writers’ Podcast. Every week I get to talk to writers about writing. And I’ve yet to have a conversation where I didn’t learn something, or have an “a ha!” moment during the conversation. Honing our craft, learning more about the business, finding the fun again–that’s what we all need. How lucky am I to talk to wonderful writers who are willing to share insights about their own journeys?

I Love Writing

JHAuthors books

I love looking at my shelf of books, and am so fortunate to be published. But what I’ve realized in 2022 is that I love writing more than ever. I love creating new worlds, meeting new characters, formulating new puzzles and spending time letting my imagination take me on an adventure. Sometimes in our pursuit to be (or stay) published, we forget that joy. I’ve rediscovered it, which is one of the great gifts of the year.

So those are some of my random writing thoughts from this year. Thank you all for being on the journey with me–I wish I could tell you what that means.

Friends, what’s your “a ha!” thought from 2022?

26 Thoughts

  1. Great thoughts, Julie – our time together in Rockport was special., and I’m so glad we could do it.

    I still love writing, which is good, because I do a lot of it. I enjoy discovering where my story is going in the first draft, and I love the revising/polishing stage, which I’m in right now. We are so lucky to have these lives!

  2. Thanks for sharing your writing journey, Julie! My moment was more of a reinforcement than a single a-ha thought. How we feel about the journey is crucial, not necessarily the destination, because there is no end. Whether reading or writing, there’s always something new, and no person can take it all in. Thus, if we’re not enjoying the journey, writing can become just another item on the to-do list. So my top a-ha moment in 2022 is have fun every step of the way!

  3. Think my “a ha!” thought from 2022 was finding great joy in taking little trips. We use to travel striving to complete our bucket list. Yes they were fun and memorable, but it was such a rush all the time – plan, pack, trip, unpack and then start all over again – that we really forgot to enjoy “the” moment we were in. After covid when we were finally able to take some short trips, they brought us great joy and we savored every moment from the planning stage to the coming part. It’s something I pray we never forget and whether a trip or just day to day events remember to BE in the moment instead of always just looking ahead.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  4. I just saw on tv that author Chelsea Banning had a very tiny audience at a book event and she posted that on her social media. She rec’d replies from a few famous writers who had experienced the same. Hats off to all! Planner vs pantser is an interesting topic altogether and great for discussion! I have lots of networks and lots of past experiences writing, some as parts of jobs, some as volunteer and some as paid freelance. The book writing is simultaneously a passion and a frustration! What is my a-ha moment? That I have those moments everyday in life and will always have them! The lightbulb brightens and doesn’t dim!

  5. I don’t know how much of an actual “a ha” this is, but more like Kay’s gradual awareness. My husband was very, very sick for a couple of months. I thought this would be a huge challenge to my sobriety, but I learned that, altho’ I had to be aware all the time, I found I didn’t “need” a drink to get through it. This was a huge relief since things will only get tougher as we get older.

  6. I loved your blog post. It spoke directly to me and has inspired me to give myself an “aha” 2023 by focusing more on my writing friends and sadly, less on volunteerism. However, I’ll volunteer as a writing teacher or writer any day. Thank you for the encouragement and inspiration to give myself an “aha” moment.

  7. I love your hybrid term “plantser.” It’s a great combination of the two approaches, which is how much in life works, and the word plant has lovely possibilities. Plant yourself in that chair. Bloom where you’re planted. Brava for finding joy in the process. Write on!

  8. Do not take life for granted. Love your family everyday. You never know when they will no longer be available to say I love you. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.

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