Since it’s New Year’s Eve, I decided to do something a little different for this blog entry. Ever since I first began journaling years ago as a young teen, I’ve written a review of the year past around January first. Then when I began seriously trying to market my writing a few years later at the age of twenty, I started using the New Year’s journal entries to not only count the blessings of my personal year but also to record the ups and downs of my writing life. And it has truly been a rollercoaster ride at times. Deep lows and exhilirating highs. So even though my journal is usually a private conversation with myself, I’m sharing a few paragraphs of the New Year’s entries over the years with you, my friends and readers.
- Jan 4, 1978 – It seems appropriate that I waited till now to write in this year of ’78. And now I don’t know how to say it. I’ve waited so long and now I’m without words. It got an offer. Specifically Warner Books likes Kentucke Dream and wants to publish it. She (my agent) says she’s not entirely satisfied with the terms but wants to know how I feel. What am I going to tell her? Of course I’m satisfied. I don’t know anything about advances. To me, it sounds like a fortune, a miracle, an answer to prayer.
- Dec 31, 1978 – In a few minutes it will be 1979. I’ve written on so many New Year’s Eves since I first began journal writing as a young teen. So much has happened since then that sometimes in ways it seems such a long time ago, but in other ways it seems to be only a soft twirl of days. It seems to be a time to mark accomplishments, to count successes and mourn over failures. This has been an exciting year full of newness. Seeing my book (retitled A Forbidden Yearning) on the stands was a definite high.
- Jan 3, 1983 – I didn’t write on New Year’s Eve. Guess that is indicative of my mood. I hate to keep reiterating my failures, and that’s all 1983 held professionally. Rejections and even worse than that – no rejections. Only silence. So I won’t write much about 1982. I’ll let it roll over me and let loose of it as I try not to be mashed by my failures. I’ll try to realize that I’m still alive. I’m still able to work. I still want to write even if the words seem elusive and difficult. So what if my drawer is full of rejection slips. It’s all part of learning and growing and getting better. Pray God I am getting better and 1983 will hold something good in the wings for me, the writer.
- Jan 14, 1985 – A new year. Seems like it always brings new hope. I keep trying anyway. I’m almost finished with Shane. (A Chance Hero) I got a nice letter from my agent. She said my “lack of sales” was no reflection on my writing ability. She wants to see Chance Hero. I worry the whole idea is too unbelievable with the Big Foot as part of the story, but I still like it. I should finish this week if nothing interferes. It’s snowing like the dickens right now.
- Jan 2, 1986 – The new year’s made my brain go soft, but yes, it is 1986. ’85 is gone, a part of the past. I did sell one book which wasn’t as good as I wanted but it was good. I did rewrite one book and struggle through the writing of another. Even if Gillie’s story isn’t as good as I expected or dreamed, I did learn from her.
- Jan 2, 1987 – A new year. Let’s hope it’s not as sad as the last. This time last year we were just realizing Dad was sick, and now he’s gone and has been gone for many months. I can’t review the year. Too many sad memories. Maybe I’ll just stick with work news. I did sell 3 books, a record for me.
- Jan 3, 1989 – Life brings us both joy and sadness. I personally have been gifted with many good things and I am grateful for the love in my life, my family, my talent and the chance to do what I love to do. So many blessings and gifts. Perhaps I shouldn’t forget my spring of hope that sustains me when I’m discouraged. The next book. The next idea. The next editor. I have only to believe, to continue to try, to step forward. And I thank God for my faith. I don’t understand it, but He understands me.
- Jan 3, 1991 – I love it when I can think positive. I want to have a whole year of positive thinking. “You can do it” stuff.
- Jan 17, 1994 – A new year. Guess I didn’t search for a time for writing about my year because it’s been such a sorry one in regard to writing successes. You might even say it was a low point – a valley that I haven’t climbed out of or even begun climbing. I’ve been working at F.B – full time for a while. I will succeed again, but not as long as I’m at F.B. with no time to work here. So I’ll find a way to do without the money.
- Jan 12, 1995 – It’s a funny thing trying to chase after a story idea. So funny and today so futile I thought I’d write about it. It’s as if I’ve blanked out my mind and I’m stumbling around searching for a way out of the blankness, sort of hoping I’ll bang into something that will suggest some possibilities. But right now it’s a white-out blizzard of nothing. How is another way to describe it? It’s like I’m out in a huge field and I can see nothing but flat ground and grass. I’m lost but not really worried. I know that some direction I take will lead me to some trees or perhaps a house or something interesting – maybe even a hole I can fall into. But which direction? Today I might even think I’m blindfolded and someone has spun me around till I can only stagger a few steps timidly just trying to keep my balance. I guess what I need to do is keep walking some way or other and not just keep circling the blank field finding nothing.
- Jan 21, 1998 – I want to do something fresh, something that will inspire me and make me proud to say I’m a writer again. Maybe I’ll be a writer again. Now I’m just going through the motions and doing a poor job of that. I need a new story. I need a story. Period, exclamation point.
- Jan 14, 2003 – It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? Here we are starting the fourth year of the 21st Century. I haven’t worked the way I’d like. I keep dragging my feet. Letting things interfere. Falling to sleep at the wheel (or keyboard). Afraid of failing. I’m still working on Jocie’s story. (The Scent of Lilacs) I like it, but will anyone else? I don’t know. But I am going to push through to the end. If I fail, I fail. But I have failed already if I don’t try.
- Jan 3, 2005 – Of course, the year’s highlight workwise is selling my book. I’m so excited about that I shouldn’t even think a depressing thought. And I finished Jerry’s story (Angels at the Crossroads) in record time. Still in the holding pattern on what next there. I’m trying not to worry about or even spend too much time thinking about that. It’s in the Lord’s hands and something will happen.
- Dec 27, 2005 – Time spins away from us in great circles. One day it’s the first of the month. The next the end. Christmas has come and gone. A new grandbaby girl has come into the world. A beautiful perfect miracle of a child like all the others. Blessed beyond imagination.
- Jan 3, 2008 – Can you believe it’s 2008? So long ago I started writing in a journal. So many private words. Yet it continues to feed my soul. Words on paper. Thoughts and ideas. Gripes and complaints. Praises and joys. Worries and troubles. Happiness and love. So many things to record over the years. I suppose I started my first journal when I was 13 or 14. I’m not 13 or 14 anymore. But I’m still here. Still writing. Still having joy and worries. But pray God, always more joy.
I hope you enjoyed reading my selections through the years. If you did, let me know, and maybe I’ll pull out some bits and pieces from my journals again some time. Perhaps the progress reports of a book from initial idea to published book. I did that once for one of my young adult books, Discovery at Coyote Point, for a workshop and the participants seemed to enjoy that. So until next time, Happy New Year and happy reading. I hope your year ahead overflows with blessings and much joy.