2015 has been a strange, but successful year. This year I've written just under 300,000 words. I finished three novel drafts, two short stories, and a lot of rambling to myself. 90,000 words were all written during this year's NaNoWriMo. All in all, I know I could have written more words this year, but life happened. I bought a house, lost several friends and made some big changes to better help steer me towards the future I want. I'm not disappointed in this year, but I am excited about next year. I know what I want to write. I know what I want to do and now I get the chance to actually make a move on those goals. If 2015 was my year of planning than 2016 is my year of action and I am so ready for it. 

This year I queried seriously for the first time. And, like everyone else, I queried way too soon with a novel that was a mess and not ready for querying. That novel went into the drawers to probably never see the light of day again. I worked on another manuscript, reworked it, rewrote it, ripped it down and rebuilt it from the ground up, and sent it off to get editing to make it the strongest book possible. And now I'm off to the queries again and feeling much more confident. 

I finished a third novel manuscript and am in the middle of editing it. I've learned so much this year about me, about my writing process, about what I want, and about what I'm willing to do to make it happen. It's been a year of learning limits and pushing past them. I've learned that organized schedules help me keep on top of the things I want to do, but I've also learned to take time to have fun. I've worked to get past that guilty 'you should be doing something productive' when I'm hanging around friends or just relaxing. 

That's a part of writing that I never really thought about, but this year I've come to realize how important your process is to the entire process. I've learned that despite my protests, despite my wanting to be a pantser, I am in the plotting camp. During NaNoWriMo there were several moments I panicked and realized I didn't know what to do or where to take the novel next. Then I looked at the outline I'd created and suddenly it was clear and I was fine. Without that outline I wouldn't have met my NaNoWriMo goal. 

I always thought if you wrote an outline than you'd loose some of the magic of writing, but instead the outline helped me hone in and focus on my story. Instead of being chained to the outline, the outline and I walked together hand in hand. There were moments I deviated from my plan and it was fine. There were moments I stuck straight to the plan and was fine. Realizing that has helped my writing more than almost anything else. 

Writing is a lot of invisible work. Even when you're writing words every day, it's hard to see the actual story, the work around you. Sometimes it feels like you're not doing anything at all. Learning about the hows behind your own writing help make the process a little more tangible. I know that at about 45% and 80% through the book I will feel like an utter failure slinging crap at a page and I know that at the end I will drop into a pile of exhaustion and not want to write again. It's like learning the pattern of the tides, not the same every day or with every project but still with a pattern. 

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One of the highlights of 2015 is my new short story coming out in Cinched, an anthology all about corsets! I love my story, Cazadora, and am thrilled to have it out in the wild! You can buy Cinched here

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AuthorAndrea Judy