I can't believe it's Christmas already! And that means the new year is just a week away. How does that happen?
This has been a year of ups and downs for me. The biggest "up" that came my way, of course, was finaling in RWA®'s Golden Heart in the Novel With Strong Romantic Elements (NSRE) category. I can't tell you how big a boost that was to my confidence. I didn't win, but that didn't matter. Being a finalist is winning.
The biggest "down" of the year was realizing that the manuscript I finaled with just wasn't ready. I've been working on it since the National Conference, fixing the things that are wrong with it and strengthening the writing overall. I haven't sent it yet to the Agents and Editors who requested it at the Conference (I'm still working on it), but I hope to have it ready by the end of January. Whew!
Another "down" for me was hearing that RWA has eliminated my category (NSRE) from this year's Golden Heart. I've always felt like I was on the fringes of romance writing — I don't write Romance, but I always have a strong romantic subplot — but this felt like I was being pushed away with a big ol' NOT WELCOME HERE sign in my face. RWA is a great organization and they have to do what they think is best, especially from a legal standpoint, but I feel like they're picking nits, so to speak.
Amongst all of this, our RWA Chapter had The Discussion and decided the time had come to dissolve as an official Chapter of RWA. It wasn't easy to contemplate, but the economy and the changes announced by RWA National (or perhaps I should say the "clarifications" to existing rules) pretty much guaranteed the outcome. So, as of January 1st, we will not be affiliated with Romance Writers of America.
Enough with the gloom! Another huge "up" for me was finding a compatible critique partner in Meggan McQuaid. I've always been leery of critiquing, being both unsure about my own critique abilities and about finding someone I trust with my writing. Meeting Meggan and working with her on critiquing in a group, then gradually starting to read more of each other's writing, has been amazing. Not only do we write (and read) in similar genres (essentially romantic fantasy of various subgenres), but our craft is at a similar level. Having her as a critique partner in the last couple of months has been the catalyst for taking my writing to the next level — and I believe she'd say the same.
It would be easy to be a bit bitter about the dissolution of the Chapter (mentioned above), but actually, I'm viewing it as a positive thing. The members are staying together as an informal writing group NOT officially associated with RWA. There's a sense of freedom now that we won't be governed by RWA's bylaws. We're contacting old members — those who had let their membership lapse — to see if they'd like to rejoin us. And we're revamping this blog and the website to reflect the changes we're making. Look for the big reveal at the first of the year.
I hadn't intended to do a retrospective on my year when I started this post, but I guess it's been on my mind. :-)
How about you — how was your year? Are you looking forward to anything special next year?