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2022 Creative Writing Reflection

December 31, 2022

I’m looking out the window of my studio right now and it’s gray and dreary and pouring down rain. It seems like the appropriate accompaniment to wrap up 2022. This year felt like the sharp emergence of sunshine quickly followed by rain clouds in my brain, over and over again. Nothing bad happened this year, but the repetitiveness of this yo-yo left me tired, feeding a deep well of exhaustion.

I think I truly abandoned my 2022 writing goals in April or May. I stopped reading books recommended by Natalie Goldberg. I only felt excited about a few of my monthly writing prompts. I started ignoring George Saunders’ Substack emails full of writing exercises and tips. And it was November 5th before I even remembered that I wanted to do NaNoWriMo this year.

I keep asking myself where I went wrong. Was it something specific that made me lose my motivation? What happened to my joy about writing? Maybe I was searching for answers in the wrong places. Maybe the real world was too overwhelming, the activation energy too high in relation to what I needed to face the world. Maybe it just wasn’t the right time. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mind-space. Maybe they were just the wrong goals.

I wish there was a clear, brightly lit neon sign telling me what happened this year so that I could avoid doing it again in 2023, but alas, life isn’t ever that simple.

BUT… I did do some positively creative things this year in relation to my writing.

  • I joined two book clubs at my local public library. One is a general book club that meets monthly and read everything from fiction to biography to non-fiction. The other is a specific science fiction and fantasy book club that also meets monthly. Both of these have forced me to read outside my comfort zone and interact with people who don’t live in my house. It’s been a great outlet to think more deeply about the process of writing, learn how different people interact with the elements in a novel, and put a voice to things I wouldn’t otherwise contemplate. This is definitely something that I will continue doing in 2023, as it brings me great joy.
  • I started working sporadically (read: whenever I had the motivation) on a young adult novel idea. I even sent chapters to a few other people as I wrote them, which was a scary prospect. I told them specifically that I didn’t want feedback other than if they liked it or not, so that helped moderate the anxiety of sharing my work a bit.
  • I wrote and published an article in a peer-reviewed teaching journal. The article highlights the need to use adapted scientific literature in middle and high school classrooms to help students learn about science better. You can find the article here if you’re interested. I published a fair number of scientific research articles in peer-reviewed journals during and shortly after I finished my PhD, and it always felt like I was just doing what I was supposed to do so I kept doing it. Getting this paper published made me feel validated – that my opinions were important enough to warrant sharing them with others, and in a field that I’ve never published in before.
  • I created a podcast called “Lesson Ideas” through my job at The Science Journal for Kids. I wrote, recorded, and produced 10 episodes geared towards helping middle school science teachers use our articles at the Journal more effectively in their classrooms. Each episode was only 10 minutes and included background about a specific article and then highlighted and explained a specific hands-on activity that teachers could do with students. It was fun learning how to record and produce a podcast and also to share my ideas about making science education better.

I didn’t succeed in completing ANY of my writing goals for 2022. Part of me feels like a failure, but a larger part of me feels like that’s completely okay. It’s okay to accept that I am where I am with my motivation and desires. I interacted with my writing in different and new ways that worked within my energy levels, time constraints, and needs. That’s all I can do really. So…

See ya later 2022.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Yael Kisel permalink
    January 1, 2023 11:04 pm

    The list of things you did this year is great! But I also feel and echo back your rough feelings around lacking motivation and not knowing why. Big hugs ❤️❤️❤️

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