Monday, December 31, 2012

At the Cliff's Edge

I’m poised in a precarious position, here between 2012 and 2013.  I’m standing at the cliff’s edge, feeling the unease of the dizzying height and the pull of the abyss mix with the fervent wish that the release will be worth stepping off.  That is, stepping off the writing cliff. 
In January I set out on a journey to what I thought was a summit, one step at a time, following a deliberate trail with a self-made map for my writing year.  I wanted to write more, establish some discipline, continue my self-education, connect with a writing community and find a way to reach out of my comfort zone.  Daunting goals indeed.    
January 1st was the first step, with my first blog on My Writing Corner.  I completed 67 posts this year (including this one) and met a blog challenge of 28 posts in April.  In numbers, not as many as I’d hoped for, but at least two each month and I hit my self-imposed goal of 500 – 700 words per post.  Goal #1 & 2 met!
Trudging on, I learned the software to edit and update my website, Amy Writes, instead of having to ask my ever supportive husband, Steve, to do it for me (lucky for me he’s always in the wings, ready to lend a helping hand when my mind goes blank on how to do something or I’ve lost my notes!).   
There was sustenance along the way in an overwhelming smorgasbord of writers and blogs to follow on the internet.    After overfilling my plate for many months, I learned to appreciate smaller portions and honed it to a manageable half dozen sites or so.  Learning from and commenting on those blogs has provided a daily balanced meal of an online writing community that I’m very grateful for.  Goal #3 & 4 met! 
I sent a few scouts out in the form of submissions and although I didn’t get any of them published, it was a nice sense of accomplishment to set a submission goal and meet it by deadline and guidelines.  One submission from 2011 hit the bull’s-eye and took me completely by surprise.  Journey’s Beginning” got accepted and published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: finding my faith in October. 
That singular event, more than any other, propelled me to the cliff’s edge.  It was a spotlight I was not prepared for.  It lead to newspaper articles in print and online, recognition at the University I work at in my non-writing day job and had me doing a bit self-promotion (NOT something I am comfortable with).  It’s been a test in learning to accept compliments on my story and writing in general from the readers it’s brought to My Writing Corner.  Goal #5 met…..sort of…
Which brings me to my cliff.  I know in my heart, I may have met the goals, but I didn’t exceed.  I didn’t reach the summit wrung out and totally spent.  I’ve found in my real hiking with Steve, if I plod along at an even pace, and stop every now and then I can always reach the summit we set out for.  And although I feel accomplished to have made it here, to my writing summit, I didn’t have to stretch far.  If I really want those first four goals to reach beyond my wildest dreams, to be surprised at what I produce, I need to get out of my comfort zone.  I need to be willing to jump off the cliff.   
So…I jump into 2013 with a six week course that starts on January 7th with Lisa Romeo titled: “I Should Be Writing Boot Camp - Jan 2013”. I’ve also made a personal challenge to face head on, the “3 Quiet Fears That Stop Writers From Writing”, by delving into Janna Malamud Smith’s book, An Absorbing Errand: How Artists and Craftsmen Make Their Way to Mastery.    I’m looking for these two pieces alone to be a catalyst to further my writing and an introduction to my non-comfort zone.   
Clenched in my hand are my goals for 2013.  More depth and honesty in my writing. Steadier and more targeted submissions.  Dedicated schedule for blog posts. Continued education in the craft. Become stronger in the writing and creative community, both online and in person.    With persistence, hard work and yes, a bit of luck, I’m hoping the accomplished goals will land at the bottom before me, a cushion to land on this time next year.    
It’s scary here at the edge.  But off I step, with the fervent wish that the release will be worth it.

22 comments:

  1. well a writing cliff is better than the fiscal one...and that boot camp sounds interesting. I've been wanting to start some kind of on line writing workshop as you know, and that is inspiring.

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    1. I have been following Lisa Romeo for about half a year or so now. Extremely helpful sight and I am really looking forward to the class. She runs them periodically and I know you have a lot going on right now, so I will be sure to let you know how it goes and maybe you can look into a future one! Thanks for the read and comment!

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  2. Just the fact you are continuing, feeling stronger, is awesome Amy.... More power to you and your 2013 goals! I have never made new year resolutions but, you have inspired me to seriously begin writing one of several stories I have in mind, with the hopes of being published... Thanks for that... Happy New Year!

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    1. You are so welcome! I so love your writing - would love to see the stories to come. Bet of luck and a very Happy New Year to you too!

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  3. You've had a banner year and time to celebrate, but I understand the assessment. We can always progress - thank God! Looking forward to your writing in the new year.

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    1. Thanks Mari - looking forward to your singing and if perchance you write as well...all the more to enjoy! :)

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  4. You should be proud of yourself for all that you achieved this year. It isn't about exceeding its about reaching out for more this year...I totally get it! :)

    Good Luck and congratulations!

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth - I do feel good about the accomplishments. Feeling proud is close to that self-promotion feeling, but am getting there. :) Took a look at your most recent blog. - LOVED the choice of the word mindful. I'll be sending that post to my son (turning 24 in january). I'm sure he'll love it. Happy New Year to you and hope the gallbladder removal healing is going well!

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  5. Awesome objectives achieved in 2012! And I am sure there is more to come in 2013! Great job!

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    1. Thanks Amit - always a pleasure to have you stop by! I look forward to your writing in 2013 as well. :)

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  6. Wish you all the best for your endeavours in 2013 which I'm sure you will achieve. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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    1. Much appreciated Suzy - keep on writing!

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  7. Kudos to you! Having a plan is such a wise way to approach your goals. We can't get what we want if we don't define what that is, right? Here's to 2013 and all the joy and success it will bring to you!

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    1. Hey Beth - love the way you started your 2013 with your Birthday "RAOK"! Here's to a banner year for all! :)

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  8. WOW i feel your determination...and great to see you back!

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    1. Oh Brenda, much appreciated - and it felt good to be part of the group post again. :)

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  9. I think you're too hard on yourself. You've accomplished a lot this year. No one is perfect. You need to bask in your published story and then write some more.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh boy - perfection is the LAST thing I'm striving for! :) I am very happy with the accomplishments, publication and the steps I made and looking for them to be a helpful push and guide in 2013. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment.

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  10. I think you often underestimate your ability and I for one of many completely love your writing style and the way you suck me in each and every time.
    Your goals were lofty and you touched each one. That my friend, is success. You should always have another goal at hand, for I see you will always reach each one, so be ready for what's next!

    You rock and I adore you.

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    1. Very kinds words to greet me in the beginning of the day Jo. Thank you - I always appreciate your comments and encouragements!

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  11. I think you are an exceptional writer. It is quite an accomplishment to set goals and accomplish each one. Just keep plugging away and good things will happen.

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Kathy. I really enjoy writing and a lot of times it's the goals that keep me going. And it's always a help to read other's good writing, which is why I enjoy your blog!

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