Monday, 30 December 2013

What 2013 Taught Me About Life and Writing

I don't make New Year resolutions, because they're to easy to break. Instead, I look back at the year as it comes to an end. I consider what it has taught me, and how I can use those lessons and experiences to better myself in the following year.

Over the last few days, I have contemplated the key things 2013 taught me. But before sharing my life and writing lessons with you, I need to say that 2013 was a year of both extreme highs and extreme lows. I experienced the joy of publishing my first book, the unending support of the writing community, and the giddy feeling of that first positive review. But I also lost someone incredibly close to me, and I'm only now beginning to realise what grief truly means. How when someone is taken from you it's forever. There are no second chances. So, I am both happy for the positive things I achieved in 2013 and glad to see the year end. It's a strange way to feel.

Here's what I learned in 2013:

Treasure your family and friends - life is short. You never know when they may be taken from you.

Material wealth means nothing compared to love and friendship.

Your friends - the people who choose to be part of your life - are worth their weight in gold.

It's okay to be selfish now and again. It's alright to say no.

If you want something badly enough, you'll do everything within your power to get it.

Actions speak louder than words. Inaction says, I don't care.

If a person refuses to help themselves or accept your help, there is nothing you can do for them. They have to want to change.

Nothing drains creativity like negativity.

Publishing a book while under extreme stress is not a good idea.

An editor is your best friend.

Social media and book marketing are like an unattainable font of knowledge. Knowing when and where to use it is almost impossible.

Anyone can self-publish. Standing out from the crowd gets harder every day.

Finally, remember you are a writer first and a business person second. Find joy in crafting a story. Worry about the book sales later.


I'm sure there are many more lessons I could share with you, but those were the ones that stood out. As I start 2014, I will keep in mind my experiences and use them to better myself. I will consider the consequences of my actions, and how I can both take time for myself and give to others. Most importantly, I will spend more time doing what I love - writing.

What were your lessons in life and writing this year?

All that's left for me to do now is to wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year. Live long and prosper, my friends.

34 comments:

  1. I am sorry for your loss and I am glad some positive things happened in 2013. Thanks for sharing what you learned. I agree with your points.

    Happy New Year.

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  2. Ellie, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. My heart goes out to you. The life lessons you have put in this post are truly wise, and some of them are hard earned lessons.

    I wish you a happy new year, and I hope that 2014 is a truly good year for you.

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    1. Thank you, Tony. Wishing both you and Margo a happy and fruitful year in 2014.

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  3. Ellie, those are some really important things to take away from life.
    Sorry for the loss. We never know how long we have with others.

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    1. Thank you, Alex. Sometimes life's hardest lessons teach us the most.

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  4. Yes, you've had a tough year. I'm glad you're still stronger than ever, looking forward to 2014. Let's make it the best, ever.

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  5. Wishing you all the best for 2014, Ellie. I agree that we should treasure our loved ones every day, life is too short.

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  6. I agree with everything you wrote. The only thing I'd add is that you can really want something and do anything to get it -- but it won't necessarily make you happy. It'll just bring a new set of problems, frustrations and disappointments. So for 2014, I'm wishing you good health, love, and most importantly, happiness. :)

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    1. Very true, Lexa. Sometimes it's also about letting go of the things we cannot change or achieve. Life is about the journey, not just the end result.

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  7. sadly it's one of life's ironies that we only realise the value of things when we lose them. it's a difficult thing to remember to be present in the now and appreciate what (and who) we have in our lives.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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    1. So true, Mooderino. We are often in such a rush to get somewhere or achieve a result, we forget to live in the now and appreciate the small things.

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  8. Wise words, Ellie. Wishing you a new year filled with happiness, health and success in all your creative adventures:)

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  9. It's a pity we have to experience the finality of loss before we can truly fathom all its ramifications. Still here, just say the word. :-)

    Your lessons learned are priceless. The best thing about aging is the wisdom we gather along the way.

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    1. So true, Jeff. We really don't understand loss or grief until we experience it first hand. And the same back at you - I'm always here for you.

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  10. Wonderful words of wisdom. I learned just when you think you've hit your limit, push yourself a little more and you'll surprise yourself. Here's to 2014 being one of the best ones yet! Cheers. :)

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    1. Wise words, Christine. In life, we regret the things we didn't try more than those we didn't.

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  11. Great points here, one that particularly resonated with me is 'Nothing drains creativity like negativity'.
    I have suffered a lot from this in 2013 and it's something I want to work on in 2014.

    Happy New Year!

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    1. 2013 was without doubt the most negative year I've lived through. I refuse to let the same happen in 2014. Let's make a vow together, Heather.

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  12. All wise words - the first and last ones especially. Have a wonderful 2014.

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  13. Hugs to you, Ellie! 2013 has been a particularly sucky year for many of us, I think. You also found the joy in it as well, though, with your publication. Here's to having a greater 2014!

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  14. Hi Ellie .. wise words and thoughts - life can be so challenging at times, thankfully the ups are there too - at least your 2013 had both .. have a very happy and great 2014 - cheers Hilary

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    1. Thank you, Hilary. Here's to a fabulous 2014.

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  15. Beautifully put Ellie. Negative energy drains you and as much as possible needs to be removed from your life.
    I realised this year that I give people who abuse my friendship far too many chances and in the end it leaves me exasperated and unhappy. Its true as well only people that have learnt to take responsibility for their own life are the ones who can identify the things that need to change and make the relevant changes. People that wallow and enjoy negative emotions will never ever change and will suck all joy from your life at every available opportunity.
    You have made some tough choices this year, lived through some terrible events and have emerged stronger for it! Don't ever doubt yourself. Xx

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    1. Thank you, my friend. Your support and friendship made what was at times an awful year tolerable. I will never forget.

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  16. I took comfort from your words about social media and promotion. It really is confusing for me. Happy New Year.

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  17. Sounds like an overall good year, but I'm sorry for your loss. I hope this year is a good one for you. By the way, I love the blues in your book covers. I'm always struck by them when I come here.

    The Warrior Muse

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    1. Thank you, Shannon. Both for the kind words and for liking my covers!

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