Year in Review: 2022 Writing Reflections
Photo by Min An
I wrote a little bit about my thoughts on 2022 as a year — the changes and lack of changes it has wrought — in the newsletter I sent out recently (hey, did you know I have a newsletter you can subscribe to?), but today I'd like to talk specifically about the year in writing. It's been a wild year in my writing life. I outlined and drafted a 62,000-word YA romance and am in the thick of my third revision. I drafted 14,000 words (about 1/4) of an adult romance. I wrote 90 pages of a YA novel in verse. I wrote and published a romance short story. I wrote a few drafts of a YA short story. I dabbled in graphic literature. I started plotting out a new YA romance. I began an MG portal fantasy.
In short, there was a lot of writing this year. Which, duh, I'm literally in an MFA for writing, of course I'm going to pen a ton of words.
But the beauty of this year's writing, I think, is that it wasn't all confined to the things I've written before. For the past several years, I've written only YA contemporary, and I'd convinced myself that was all I could write, that there was maybe something defective about me — my imagination wasn't rich enough for fantasy, my maturity not developed enough for adult, my sense of wonder not alive enough for middle grade.
This year I tried so many new things, though. And I discovered that the limitations I thought I had? They were self-imposed.
There's nothing making me incapable of writing any specific kind of story. I'm not defective and unable to imagine rich fantastical worlds, nor am I too young (or old) for adult and middle grade age categories. I contain a million worlds all bursting to spill out of my brain and onto the page, and I'd love to treat myself to actually believing in myself.
One of the things I learned this year, particularly during the winter/spring semester (my first at VCFA), was that having someone who believes in me does wonders for my ability to write. I felt this with both my advisors, honestly, but the feedback I got from my first-semester advisor came at a moment when I thought everyone in the industry hated my writing. And here was this award-winning, brilliant author telling me I had promise? It was shocking and beautiful and life-changing. She helped me believe in myself again.
And my second-semester advisor helped me break the bounds I'd set for myself in regards to my own beliefs about my creativity.
This year was really tough for me in so many ways, especially mentally. But ultimately I'm going to be grateful for it because it was a learning and growing year for my writing.