Just write. This is my advice to you. Find a way. Just suck it up and do it. If you don’t think you can get the story out, you are wrong. It will be hard and hideous and wonderful. You will hate it, like it, hate it again, and love it more than anything. It will be the worst and best thing.

And more than anything, it will be yours, and you did it, and no one can take that away from you.

If you’ve ever doubted yourself, never thought you were good enough, didn’t think you had it in you, I can tell you that you do. You are good enough. But honestly, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what anything else thinks, much less you. Writing is a primal thing. Having thoughts and putting them down on paper is a blessing that us humans have. It is an amazing thing that we can do. The sheer act of writing is amazing. You will surprise yourself.

You will write a heartbreakingly beautiful line. It will be the best thing you’ve ever written. There will come a time when you have to let it go, when it will break you apart inside to cut it, but we are writers and this is what we do. We must let go of things we love to make what is around it better, and it will make it better. You will forget about your one great line because it will be replaced with many more, some of which you will also have to throw away. It is maddening and you will want to quit. Don’t. Don’t stop. You will come out on the other side and when you do, when you hold that paper in your hand with words that have come from some place in you that you didn’t even know existed, it will be worth it. You will realize that you did it, that you are a writer. Don’t forget that feeling. Keep that knowledge tucked into your back pocket for the times when you don’t think you can do it, when you don’t think you are clever enough, or smart enough, or have enough time. Bring out that memory that you’ve done this before and you will do it again, because that is what we do. We bleed letter-filled blood and mop it up with clean, white pieces of paper and hold them up for the world to see. With each word typed we re-affirm this fact to ourselves. We can do this. This is who we are.

If you’ve only ever been a writer in your head, afraid to put it down because of what it may be, resign yourself to the editing process. Realize that it must first come out to have any sense made out of it. You can’t make something out of nothing. Put it down, walk away, come back and sift through and find the gold in the dirt. It’s there. You will find it. Be patient with yourself and let your mind wander. Always carry a notebook with you and keep one by your bed.

When people remark that they couldn’t imagine writing anything, that they have no talent, tell them they are wrong. Encourage them do to it anyway. We all have a story to tell. Remind people that their lives and their imaginations matter. Don’t lose your ability to dream and wonder.

Tell them to put it down on paper. It will be ugly and beautiful. It doesn’t matter. They will hate it and love it. Tell them it is worth it. Tell them they are a writer.

So I had all the intention in the world on January 1st of writing a profound New Year email...and now it is suddenly the middle of February. Does that count as failing some as-of-yet-named resolution?

I've resigned myself to the knowledge that things will never slow down, so I just need to learn to deal, adapt, and roll with the punches (something very difficult for a Type-A like me!). My writing has unfortunately taking a bit of a back seat, though I did write a little short story for a FWA contest (free entry for members, check it out! https://floridawriters.net/competitions-awards/collection/), but I have set a goal for myself to finally finish my self-edits on the sequel to Four Corners and get it to my Beta readers. I could edit forever, but as some point I really need to just let someone else read it. Plus with FC coming out in the next few months, I don't want to have a huge lag time between books if I can help it.

I also just got back from participating in my first Ragnar Relay. I was part of a team of 12 who ran from Miami to the Keys. It was an amazing (and tiring!) experience. The beauty of running through the mangroves at night with only the small light of a head lamp and the stars to guide you, the sound of the water lapping all around, was worth the entire trip, sore muscles and all. I've been battling some running set-back lately and it was nice to have a reminder that it really is something that I love. I wrote up myself a training plan and now am full steam ahead for training for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in DC with my sister. The cooler FL weather certainly doesn't hurt my motivation either ;)

So while this is coming a little late, Happy New Year! May 2015 bring each of you closer to your dreams and happiness as each day passes, and may you be able to release any pain or stress into the past. I think I will make this my resolution as well :)