Sometimes I think it’s important to go back and read the things we’ve told ourselves in order to encourage us to meet our goals. Today, I was reminded of the letter I wrote to myself in January. Someone reviewed it and gave me a great deal of praise for the words I wrote within it, so I went back to check. What exactly did I write that was so powerful. And what I read was amazingly powerful. I’m sharing it here with you all in hopes that you will find power in it.
I’ve not been kind to myself. I’ve not been forgiving of my faults and my mistakes. I’ve held myself to a standard far and above any that I would hold another person to. My theme for this year was to be one of forgiveness and perseverance. I needed to be reminded of that. I needed to see how I can talk to myself and how inspired I can become when I do.
Earlier this week, I challenged myself to use my 750 daily words for only story words for the entirety of the rest of this month. And so far, I have 2324 new words added to a short story. By tomorrow it will be finished, in only four days. Those are the wins that I need to focus on at this moment.
Dear me was the reminder that I needed to be kind to myself most of all.
First, let me begin this letter with an apology. I am sorry for every time I doubted you and for every time I questioned your drive and your motivation. You are an amazing person and I am so very lucky to be you. Last year you did the impossible. Though you had attempted for several years to write a novel, last year you did. And you did so in under one month. I am in awe of you. You are a blessing to yourself and to those around you. Bask in this knowledge. Allow yourself to wallow in it. Allow yourself to feel blessed.
Last year you gave yourself the permission to write, and you set writing goals for yourself. There were slip ups and there were days when you didn’t reach your goal. But overall, you soared. You have over eighty new works of fiction and poetry that you created in just one year. Be proud of that.
This year, we have a brand new start and the drive to get us through. For starters, we’ve set the goal of publication. Our plan for the year is to add published author next to our name. By the end of 2015, something that we have written will be published either in a magazine or in an anthology. It’s a big undertaking and it is scary. But we will feel the fear and we will do it anyway. We will submit a piece of our work every other month until we are published.
In addition, we will keep our momentum and will write at least seven hundred and fifty words every single day. So far in these first thirteen days we have accomplished this goal. We will continue to accomplish this goal. But if there is a day that we miss, or a week that we miss, we will shrug it off and we will write your words the next day. Even if they are rubbish and even if we can only think of negative words, we will write them. By the end of the year we will write a minimum of 250,000 words.
Next, there is the issue of the 70,000 words that we wrote last November. Don’t give up on this project. It is too important for you to walk away from simply because it will take a lot of hard work to get it to our standard. We can do this. By June of this year, we will have this project ready for a first read through by an editor. And then, we will find an editor and by December 31, 2015, we will have it ready for beta readers.
Currently, we have two additional novels floating around our heads. This year, we will write them. We will plot and then we will write. We will hold our scrutiny until they are finished. It’s only during editing that we are allowed to analyze every word, every punctuation mark, every scene. The first novel, we will finish in April, the second in November. We will use the momentum of NaNo to propel us toward these successes. In November, we will again participate and win National Novel Writing Month. We will write a minimum of 50,000 words either on a new project or on a rebel project.
This year, we will hold our head high as we tell people that we are a writer. Be proud of this. It’s a job that is as hard as any other. And when they ask us what we have published, we will keep our heads high and our bodies proud when we answer with whatever truth we have at that moment. If we are still currently unpublished, we will feel no shame in this. Being published is different from being a writer and we will recognize this fact.
Ultimately, though, this year, we will be kind to us. For far too many years, we have tortured us for our lack of perfection. We have held us to an impossible standard that no human could ever achieve. Forgive us, please. Those mistakes that we made yesterday, they are gone. The ones that we made years ago, let them die. They are not a part of us so do not hold onto them.
Therefore, the theme for our year will be letting go. No we will not sing the song, although, we can whenever we want. We are free from guilt and the other constraints we have placed on us. We will live our truth to the fullest. And we will enjoy life. How will we do that in a quantifiable way? We will write. We will write 750 or more words every single day (or almost every single day) this year. We will write our novels and we will write short stories. We will write query letters and letters to friends. We will pour our soul into poetry. We will pour our fears into fiction. But above it all, we will focus on our career as a writer and we will make it a success.
I wish you all the best this year and I look forward to going through all of this with you.