Episode 76: Word(s) of the Year

In this episode:

This week it’s our now-annual January reflection/resolution episode.

Melanie shares a great Emily McDowell quote. She paraphrases it to say that instead of looking back at the last year thinking it sucked, you should be congratulating yourself for being a survivor. Abby and Melanie look back at their successes, all while Melanie drinks from a coffee cup that says, “Disappointment Awaits.” We hope it’s not an omen!

In 2018 both Melanie and Abby finished the first drafts of their novels, and Melanie talks about having to “accept success.” The book-writing process is far from over but finishing the first draft is a huge success. Both Abby and Melanie want to make 2019 the year when they finish revisions and (at least for Mel) start the pitching process.

The holidays are exhausting, even with all the time off (or perhaps it’s because of all the “time off”). And getting back into the swing of writing is a challenge, especially when you’re tired. Melanie walked 19.5 miles (according to her phone) over the course of 4 days on vacation. And Abby did a lot of manual labor fixing fences and getting a 200 lb pig to the vet. Physical exhaustion overrode both of their brains this holiday season!

Word of the year. This year that seems to be a big trend, having a word of the year. Abby laughs that everyone’s words are “business sterile.” Her first gut reaction was to make the word community her word of the year. After all, she is the Manager of Community Engagement for Author Accelerator. But the word community wasn’t deep enough for her. You can be a part of a community at a surface level, but Abby really wanted something that reflected a deeper connection. So, she chose the word friendship. She points out that the friendships she’s developed in the writing community help keep her writing, help keep her motivated. If she ever decided to quit writing, she wouldn’t have the heart to tell Melanie!

While Abby points out that anyone with an internet connection can have an “online writing community” there’s a difference between a bunch of random strangers who write and actual writing friends. In 2018 Abby and Melanie joined a small group of writers who all have an Author Accelerator connection. They bonded over this shared experience and formed real friendships. So as part of Abby’s 2019, the Year of Friendship, she would like to continue to foster those strong writing friendships.

“The fear of disappointing others is a great motivator.” -Melanie Parish

Melanie does point out that the fear of disappointing our friends is pretty superficial. Real friends will still love you. And the level of their disappointment is greater in our minds than it is in all actuality. It’s more likely that we would disappoint ourselves. Yet fear of disappointing our writing friends and being kicked out of our super-fun writing group gives a great (even if made-up) external motivator!

Melanie’s word of the year is persevere. Melanie says writing is hard, and she can always find reasons in her life not to write. Whenever she sits down to write, she has anxiety over her work and often has to talk herself into writing something, even if it’s not perfect. She has to persevere and work her way through those feelings of self-doubt. Melanie says she is a “high-functioning person with mental issues” and she has to persevere to get shit done!  

Abby and Mel talk about getting back into the swing after the holidays. Leading up to Christmas, it’s a hectic race. Then you have that odd few days between Christmas and New Year where, as Mel puts it, time doesn’t really exist. Discombobulated was the word for the end of 2018!

As they talk about getting back on track, Melanie confesses to identifying yet another huge plot hole in her book. So, it’s back to the grind for our two Mom Writes hosts, while they persevere through the first month of 2019. 

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