With the amount of writing that I’ve been doing over the past year, I probably would’ve murdered a whole forest with the amount of paper I would have used, and that would be a shame. Fortunately, we live in a digital age, and so my projects live on in Scrivener files and Evernote notes, and I can continue looking out my bedroom window at trees.
I don’t say that to sound all proud or anything. Yeah, I did write a lot this year, but if we’re being honest, a lot of that writing was experimental, nothing that actually went anywhere. A lot of it was also writing for this blog, so I’ll leave you to judge the quality of that (don’t tell me, I’d like to live in my ignorance on this one). Oh, and there was a lot of academic writing too, which… well, again, I guess it’s more for my professor to decide whether it was good or not.
All this to say, looking back over the past year, I think my writing and I have had a pretty great 2019! I can see the ways that I’ve grown as a writer, honing my voice and experimenting with new genres. I’ve expanded my influences too by discovering new favorite books, shows, and other stories in a lot of different mediums. In light of it being the end of the year, I wanted to look back through what I’ve done as a writer this year, and look ahead to what 2020 might have in store for me!
Early on in the year, I gave a presentation on young adult dystopian books and social activism, which I later adapted into an article for the campus magazine. You can read it here.
I also published a short story in the campus literary magazine titled “Time After Time.” I originally wrote it for the Blimey Cow Cowmoonity short story contest last fall, and then I polished it up to submit for the magazine. I also published it on my blog a few months ago, so you can read that here. It was a really awesome feeling to see my writing in print and get to share it with my friends and family!
Although it’s not a creative writing project per se, I did complete an academic project for my American Women’s Writing class that I was rather proud of. Instead of writing a paper, I did a digital project via WordPress where I explored three of the books we read over the course of the semester and what they have to say about creativity and identity. It’s still one of my favorite projects that I’ve worked on, so I wanted to share it here as well. Check out the website here.
My biggest writing project of this year was Project Quest, my fantasy novel/series/thing that I’ve been working on for quite a while now. I feel like I made a lot of progress over the course of the year, too. In April, I wrote 26,000 words of a draft for Camp NaNoWriMo and compiled a list of my favorite lines from that drafting session.
To be honest, I haven’t touched that main draft in the months since, but I’ve done a lot of other stuff in the meantime. I re-drew the map of my world (on graph paper!) and did a lot of other “administrative” work for the story. I developed some of my side characters more, reworked some of the details of the universe, and created a massive timeline of all the Things in my world (births, deaths, important events, etc.). None of those things were actually like, words for a draft, but I think that work will help me a lot as I continue writing this story.
I wrote a couple of short scenes and other bits from the project here and there, some for my Fantasy Writing Workshop and some just for fun. These last couple weeks, I’ve started rethinking some of my plot (Again…), so we’ll see what happens in 2020. Maybe I’ll write an entirely new draft…
Finally, my other major 2019 project was for my senior writing seminar project. I wrote a 50,000 word almost-completed first draft of a novel over the course of about six weeks, which was a terrible idea in retrospect but I MADE IT. And now I can sleep. I’ve talked about this project in my other Writer’s Life posts (you can read the first one here and the second one here), so I’ll keep this brief.
For me, the two biggest benefits of doing this project was being able to experiment with a new genre and having a good workshop group. I decided to write a historical fiction/science fiction story, which was a lot harder than expected if I’m being honest. I needed to do a LOT more research than I had time for, so my story isn’t entirely factually sound… but hey, I tried.
The best part was having a very supportive workshop group for this project. I got to work with two of my roommates and one of my friends, and their feedback was always encouraging and helpful, especially when I was in the Depths of Despair with my project. I really appreciate all that they did to help me with this project!
As for 2020, I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with writing yet. My life is going to look a lot different next year, since I’ll be graduating from college, moving back home, and figuring out what my next steps in life are going to be. Whatever happens, I know I’m going to continue writing and working on the projects that I started this year, because that’s what gives me life. No matter what 2020 has in store for me, I’m sure it’ll be fantastic!