Janus, the Roman god from whom the month of January derives its name, is usually depicted with two faces, one looking forward, one looking back. He was considered to be able to see both past and future at the same time. As I stand on the brink of another January, I find myself looking both forward and back, remembering what was good — and not so good — in the past year, and wondering what lies ahead in the next. I suspect most people find themselves doing that at some point in Janus’s month, January.
Where have I been? Where am I going? Time for review:
First, where have I been?
In my blogpost at this time last year, I set out some lofty goals for myself, goals which have not all been realized. The things I accomplished in the past year were, for the most part, things I didn’t foresee at all as 2012 clicked into 2013.
I started the year by interviewing Emma Walton Hamilton for the Children’s Book Hub Expert Interview. Over the course of the year, I’ve also become associate editor (along with Emma) of the Hub monthly newsletter, Hubbub.
I focused much of my writing energy on middle grade and adult novels. That, at least, was mentioned in my goals for 2013. The longer format suits me, I believe. It gives me more scope.
I took two online courses, one on plotting from Cheryl Klein, and one on making videos, Video Idiot Boot Camp, from Katie Davis.
I adopted a pen-name, Elizabeth Starborn (thanks to the insightful friend who came up with that name!), and started a new blog focusing on theatre and music for kids, as a home for my children’s writing, The Starborn Revue.
I launched a copy editing and proofreading service for writers, Flubs2Fixes (thanks to Jan, who came up with that name!) and along with it, started a blog series called A Word with Beth, dealing with questions about grammar and word usage.
I did begin the agent search in 2013, but can’t report success as yet. The search continues.
And now, where am I going?
On January 1 of this year, my friend and colleague Joanna Marple posted an excellent call to risk and be true to yourself on her blog, Happy, Risky New Year! As part of that post, she suggested we each choose a word to characterize how we wanted to be in the coming year. The word that came to me was dynamic. As I said in my comment on Joanna’s blog, Dictionary.com gives this as the first definition of that word: “pertaining to or characterized by energy or effective action.” Dynamic, effective action will help me achieve my goals.
I somehow lost touch with that word during the past year. Although I have accomplished things, I haven’t felt the forward thrust that dynamic implies. That was brought home to me when I did the “year in review” Facebook offered, and discovered that nearly all the posts that had received a lot of comments and likes during 2013 on my personal Facebook timeline were posts that looked back, that reminisced, that stayed in the past.
With that in mind, I plan to make 2014 a year of looking forward and of moving forward. I don’t know what that will entail at the moment — my forward vision isn’t as clear as that of Janus. So I am not going to set goals, but I am going to set my face and my intentions in a forward direction.
One thing this will mean is that in 2014 I won’t be doing my month-end review posts. Instead, I will be doing a post on the last Monday of each month that helps us all in our forward journey.
My grammar Q&A series will continue on the third Monday of the month (I hope people will submit questions to mail (at) flubs2fixes (dot) com — I’m looking forward to them!)
On the second Monday of each month, beginning in February, there will be a series that I’m quite excited about. Julie Gribble, author of The Bubblegum Princess, will be doing a series of guest posts on the process she went through to independently publish her picture book. Watch for my post on the second Monday in January in which I’ll introduce Julie.
On at least two Wednesdays each month, I’ll be over at The Starborn Revue, and at least a couple of Fridays each month, I’ll be reviewing books here at By Word of Beth.
Other than that, I’m moving into the new year looking eagerly ahead, interested to find out what the year holds.
I wish you all well in the New Year!
What do YOU hope lies ahead in 2014?