2013 was pretty terrible. There were highlights and I did achieve a couple of things, but it was so full of stress and grief that most of my plans were abandoned. I struggled to stay semi-sane, let alone fulfil my goals. Yet, amid all of the pain, I kept writing. Not every day - or even every week - but I completed a 50,000 word novel and wrote the first 50,000 words of a second novel for NaNoWriMo. One of the worst years of my life turned out to be my most productive.
I feel that last year was about laying the foundations for a better future. I have the rough material to finish a novel with market potential, which will hopefully help me get an agent. I spent the year building up a basic level of fitness and now I want to start running properly and get outside rather than sticking to the treadmill. 2014 is about putting myself out there: submitting work, querying agents, running in the countryside without worrying about looking awful or collapsing in a ditch.
I'm determined that this year will be a happy year. I want to get something back for my hard work and the only way that will happen is if I take risks. I need to submit my stories without worrying about them being so abysmal that my name gets put on some kind of writing blacklist. I want to enter competitions without obsessing over what it means if/when I don't get shortlisted. I have to find the kernel of faith I have in my writing and prove it's not misplaced.
And that's what anyone who wants to be 'a writer' has to do. No fairy godmother is going to sort through my completed short stories and tell me which are good and which are crap. No mentor is going to knock on my door offering to help me get published. No cheerleader is going to sit beside me as I write to encourage me to keep going. I have to learn to do all this for myself and I will mess up. I will submit substandard work and I will have days where I despair over whether I can ever find a modicum of success. I will write miles of dire prose full of cliches and adverbs. So what? It's better than never trying to be a writer, never putting myself 'out there'.