The older I get, the more time I find myself spending reflecting on the past year. 2010 was a good year, mostly. It had its up and downs; what year doesn’t? From a personal standpoint, there isn’t a lot to note. Alex finished his Freshman year and started his Sophomore year. Vicky transitioned from Junior to Senior. Eric has gone back to school and has three semesters before he graduates. My education was solely in my writing. I went to two conferences and feel like I have a much better grasp of the business of writing, as well as ways to help with the creative end. And I won an iPad, so that’s hard to complain about!
The biggest lesson I’ve learned this year is that I need to get over myself and my over-developed sense of humility. People won’t know I write unless I say something. It doesn’t matter how good my writing is if I don’t promote it. Self-promotion is daunting for me. When I was getting ready for book signings in Michigan last summer, it was easy because I delegated a lot of the personal contact stuff to my mom (who was a huge help, by the way). It was much harder to do it myself, but it’s getting a little easier. My break-through came at the Quad-Cities Christian Writers’ Conference last April, where Kathy Carlton Willis told me I need to quit hiding my light under a bushel. It’s so simple I should have thought of it myself, but it never occurred to me.
The second biggest lesson has nothing directly to do with writing. I participate in a couple of activities that are not on my Top Ten List of Favorite Ways To Spend My Time. Every year I decide it’s going to be my last, but for some reason, I keep going back. I was in the midst of one of those activities when it hit me: It’s not about me. I don’t know why God has me doing these things or what lessons I’m supposed to learn from them, but I know now that when the time is right I’ll stop doing them with no sense of guilt. In the meantime, I need to keep in the front of my little brain that it’s about God. It’s about being obedient and doing what I’m supposed to be doing whether I feel like it or not. In a way, that does have to do with writing, because there are a lot of days when I’m busy and distracted and never turn on the computer. That’s not how I’m going to get books written, and if I really believe in my heart of hearts that writing is my calling, I’m being disobedient by not sticking my butt in the chair and hammering out chapters. It’s not good enough to ask God to use me if I’m not going to do what He says.
I know there was a lot more to 2010 than that. You don’t go a whole year with nothing more than that happening, but that’s what has been on my mind in the last few days. This is where I should say something about what I plan for 2011, but I’m not very good at goal setting, and I’m even worse at follow-through. All I can say for sure is that I’ll keep writing and doing those activities that I sort of enjoy on a good day. And growing, of course, because I’m planning on returning to the conferences I did in 2010. I still have a lot to learn. Maybe someday I’ll be good enough to teach at a writers’ conference instead of always being the one to go and glean.