Looking Back, Looking Forward

We’re in that period of the year that feels like suspended time, hanging between the current year and approaching the new one, taking those uncertain steps toward the future. The constant t.v. and radio reminders of the year in review—whether it’s political changes, deaths of famous people, sports records– keep us focused on what feels like a blur that happened too fast to take in, leaving me asking, “What day is it? What year is it?”

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Searching heron on Gulf Coast of Florida #solojourney2018

When I steady myself and look back at 2018, one of my new activities was becoming a Podcast listener. Less than two years ago, when my coworker told me about a podcast he produced, I thought that’s for ‘younger people’ the Gen Xers like my coworker, or the younger, Millennials. But once I got hooked on the true-crime podcast, “Up and Vanished,” I was in. When I decided after my writing conference in May to go Indie with publishing my memoir, a friend recommended podcasts focused on non-traditional publishing. Now, at the end of the year, I listen to many and consider that content as part of my self-education in publishing. I am one of ‘them’ who listens regularly to podcasts.

Last week on my fifty-minute drive home from visiting Mama at the nursing home, I heard an episode by Christina Canters, a business and communications coach out of Australia. In her show, “Stand Out Get Noticed,” she was looking at what she’d accomplished in 2018, what mistakes she’d made and how she learned from them, and what her goals are for 2019. Besides her lovely Aussie accent and feeling connected to her international community, it helped to hear someone else’s perspective of how to sort through the past and prepare for the future.

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Since listening to her podcast three days ago, I’ve been going through the areas she covered, thinking about my life. Join me as I tell you what I came up with and consider these questions for yourself—Reflective Questions coming during the post instead of at the end.

What did I/you accomplish in 2018?

For me, the thing I accomplished was completion of my memoir. At first, incorporating the professional edits and corrections felt like more than I could do. When I received my 210 pages marked with track changes from my developmental editor, I thought, “How in the world am I going to go back (after so many times of rewriting already) and make all those changes?”

I had to step back for a few days to build up my energy and resolve for that task. There was no way but through. Like I do with all my writing, I prayed that God would give me what I needed to complete the task. There were ‘people in my path’ to support me along the way.

What were the mistakes I/you made in 2018 and how did I/you learn from them?

Well, this one would take a while to cover, more than the usual word count for my posts! Of course some of the mistakes were private ones, usually ways I came up short in relationships—that ongoing thread of life of learning through each interaction and making corrections as you go. But as far as my writing business, I made the mistake of focusing on increasing social media numbers with Twitter when I should have been more focused on my email subscriber list. I know this won’t make sense to those who aren’t working on ‘building a platform’ as they say an author should do—especially before that book is published.

My action was based on the direction of a Literary Agent that I was hoping to get a contract with that ultimately didn’t work out. While I have received benefits from engaging on Twitter, I listened closely when one podcaster said she had 10K Twitter followers and that had made minimal impact on her book discoverability and sales. Now I’m working on following the advice of Indie publishing podcasters for engaging in what is best for me.

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What is my/your goal for 2019 and what will you need to reach that goal?

Well, I guess mine’s pretty obvious—publish my memoir, He Heard My Voice: A Midlife Mom’s Journey through Cancer and Stress and Her Unexpected Arrival at Healing and Wholeness. I know that subtitle is a mouthful, but it really does describe the content of the book and was the gracious gift of that Literary Agent from Denver. I wrote about him in the post, “Unless You’re Famous.” I have been working on this book for around ten years and have been praying about the timing for publication. I do believe the time is now and my prayer is for it to be published in Spring of 2019.

What do I/you need to reach your goal?

I need to remain steadfast and focused, balancing my life and cutting out any clutter that gets in the way of reaching this goal. But I can’t do it alone; I need you. My readers help me by keeping me going when I want to stop. They encourage me to stay the course with their prayers and their comments that let me know my writing has made a difference in their lives. My readers help when they tell others about my writing and they discover me.

When I make public my goal I’m taking a risk and if I don’t reach it, I could feel embarrassed, like I’m a failure. But by letting you know that I need your help to realize my goal, I feel that I have a team of support.

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Bike ride at Coquina Beach, March 2018

How about you? Are you willing to let others know your goal and ask them for their support? Will you allow yourself to be vulnerable and trust that you can count on them to be on your team?

My prayer for you as you are suspended in this transition time between 2018 and 2019, is that you are listening to the desires of your heart, making a goal that is truly what you want to accomplish, and asking others for what you need.

May you look back on 2018 with gratefulness and humility and look forward to 2019 with hope and fullness of heart, knowing that you will have what you need to accomplish your goal.

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Gulf Coast Sunrise #solojourneyFlorida

 

Referenced Post

Unless You’re Famous

7 thoughts on “Looking Back, Looking Forward

  1. Connie: I know what you mean about these in-between days where we’re not quite done with one year yet eyeing a new year warily. Like you, my book should be published in the spring of 2019 by Library Partners Press. Mine is a mystery that as you know I’ve been working on for about seven years! Maybe you and I can hit the bookstore circuit together! FUN! I should start penning another, but I’m hesitant. It is sort of like the feeling I had when young about having baby #2 when baby #1 wasn’t yet out of diapers! LOL Hope we can get together in 2019 for a coffee, conversation about writing, and of course sharing grandchildren’s photos!— Erika

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Erika,
      Great to hear from you! Yes, you and I have shared this writing journey. I like how you compare another book to a second baby–especially those diapers!! That’s a very present image for me after keeping my almost 8 month old grandson just yesterday.
      Whatever you decide about how to procede with the next book, I wish you well in 2019. Yeah, maybe together we can muster up enough energy for the bookstore circuit!
      That coffee and conversations sound great.
      Looking forward to time together soon.
      Thanks for reading and sharing.
      Connie

      Like

  2. Hi Connie, First, happy almost New Year’s. I thought you should know, your post came Up on my FB. It went to word press, but would not open. Therefore I read It in my email. Maybe no one else is having this trouble, but then maybe so. I wanted you to know in case you didn’t get responders.

    Another great post, hope others get to read it! Blessings, Barbara

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    • Hey Barbara,
      Thanks so much for reading and for letting me know about the problem getting to my site. I’ll check into that.
      Happy Almost New Year’s to you, too! Hope the year ahead is a great one filled with adventures and blessings!
      Best to You,
      Connie

      Like

  3. Connie, Thank you for this one. I will need to save the link and revisit as I will need the encouragement. Since the surgery, I have found that the focus has weakened and moving forward becomes an endeavor. You and yours have a great New Year. You have become a part of my life that inspires, which allows me to anticipate your next post. Keep up the great work that you are much more to others as well. You are truly blessed.

    Like

    • Hey John,
      Thanks so much for your generous support and encouragement. There are weeks when I think that I can’t pull off another post. But I know you count on me and that keeps me going! So you’re a part of my life, too and I thank you for that.
      Whatever your situation since the surgery, I think you just move at whatever pace you can toward the desire of your heart. Each person has a unique path and you will walk yours in the way that you can.
      I wish you a great 2019, and again, thanks so much for being a faithful reader!
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

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