Happy New Year! It’s officially 2018 and I started the year off right by getting up early and writing. For me, having a daily writing habit is the single best thing I could do for my writing. Once I get my butt in the chair and put my hands on the keyboard, the rest sorts itself out.

Over the past year, I’ve lost a few things and gained several more because of writing. One of the biggest things I lost was a mantra I used to have: “I want to be a writer,” or “I want to write.” I don’t think I’ve uttered those words since May, 2017 when I began writing every morning. It’s a radical notion, but by doing the thing I wanted to do the most in this world, and by practicing it daily, I no longer feel like a wannabe. I write every morning, no exception. I am a writer.

So what did I gain in 2017?

A lot, actually. I gained two novels. TWO! And while I’m almost done editing the first, and the second is still a hot mess that needs to be edited, I actually wrote two full novels this year. For a girl who could only ever finish short stories before, this is HUGE!

I gained perspective on what writing a novel looks like. I always thought the first draft was the mountain, turns out, that’s just the map of the territory. The real journey doesn’t begin until you get into the editing phase.

But perhaps one of the biggest things I’ve gained is a leveling up of my skill as a writer. When I look back on where I started the year, there is a big difference in how I write. I no longer fly by the seat of my pants, following the story wherever it takes me. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be some of that magic in the writing, that’s part of what makes writing fun — the discovery, the initial journey into the story — but now I plot and plan and create an outline, a road-map if you will. I’ve learned tricks to keep me writing day after day and to keep the story flowing, even when I get to the dreaded muddled-middle.

Overall, 2017 was a great writing year for me, a trend I hope to continue into 2018 and beyond.

So how did I do in December? If you remember, I ended November with another 24,815 words under my belt. How did December stack up?

December 2017

  • Logged a total of 23,126 words between fiction writing and blog posts
  • Started another round of edits on Dangerous Contracts. After receiving feedback from beta readers, I realized a few things needed to change. So, I went back into editing mode. However, I’m getting tired of looking at it, so I’m hoping this is the last draft. Once I finish writing this draft, I plan to read it aloud to catch anything weird. Then it will get a professional edit before being released into the world.
  • Put up Sample Chapters of Dangerous Contracts
  • Total Words Since May, 2017: 174,800

And that’s it for December. It seems light, but my main focus has been Dangerous Contracts. Luckily, I’m starting to grow tired of the project, and I’m eager to move on to other things, which gives me the incentive to get it finished up and out the door.

The plan for 2018 is to publish Dangerous Contracts, to start writing my DNA Detective series, and to begin editing my second novel, which still doesn’t have a name. I can’t wait to look back on 2018 and see what another year of daily writing has done for me and my writing career.

Happy New Year! What are your goals for 2018?