It occurred to me this morning that it's been a year this week since I holstered my red pen as Editor-in-Chief at Writer's Digest, and walked back out into the world as the sole proprietor of my own editorial business.
My last week at WD was pretty emotional for me. I had led the brand through one of its most challenging eras yet, with the Chapter 11 of its former parent company happening after I'd only had nine weeks in on the job (I didn't even know where all the conference rooms were yet!). By the time I had been there seven months, we had a new owner, a new office, and a raft of new people to get to know, along with new processes, procedures, and policies to learn. It was like starting a new job twice in just over a year. It was an adventure, to say the least.
The decision to leave WD and re-start my editorial business was a tough one. But it was the right one. Of course, we all know what happened last March. But after a few hiccups and a change in focus (I thought I was going to be doing ghostwriting almost exclusively; that shifted into working with authors as an editor and coach), the ship of my business had righted by last summer and I've been on a fantastic journey ever since. I would have preferred not re-launching in the midst of a pandemic, of course, and it's brought me no shortage of personal losses, but the work? The work is good.
And that is something to celebrate. In this past year, like all of you, I have had to learn how to find any little scrap of joy in trying circumstances. But I realized that my fourteen months at WD had already taught me that. In a way, I was well-prepared.
One of my favorite quotes from a writer is, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” Zora Neale Hurston wrote this beautiful line. 2019 was very much for me a year that asked a question―what do I really want to do in my working life? And 2020 and this new year have definitely answered: I want to work independently, and I want to work on books. And that is a win to celebrate.
I have gotten to work on some of the most interesting and best books of my career over the past year. My authors (and yes, I call them “my”―I am very protective of them!) have taught me so much; I like to think I've taught them, too. We've struggled to get the words right. And then some days, it hasn't even felt like work. That's real joy.
The writing life is a tough life. And in the past year? Hoo buddy! It is important to celebrate every win, no matter how small. Did you write five pages instead watching Netflix? Win. Did you read a chapter of a book that inspires your work instead of doom scrolling for an hour? Win. Did you join a writers' group, go to a Zoom reading, get an accountability partner? Win, win, win.
Be kind to yourself. And make sure you sit down every single week and journal your wins, no matter their size. Each thing we accomplish builds and grows. You may not feel like you're making progress right now, but read those entries back in a month; you'll see something!
This week, I am celebrating. Going back into business; staying in business; helping get more good books out into the world; continuing to champion writers; and having taken on a writing partner, done a workshop, and having about a third of a manuscript done, more writing than I have done in a very long time. Yay! Huzzah! Woo hoo!
What are you celebrating this week? Let me know in the comments, Tweet me, or email me! My door is always open. And if you feel like you have nothing to celebrate? I'm here for that too; you're not alone.
Happy reading, and KEEP WRITING!