Martha J Allard
The Word for the Year (or at least the next 11 months of it)
Somehow it always catches me by surprise, the new year. I see it coming, of course, but can't seem to muster the will to care. Last year seemed to have slipped by me. I wrote things. In fact, I wrote nearly thirty pieces of flash fiction which now lie in my computer in various states of disarray. I surpassed my goal of one hundred rejections too. But as the months wore on, my goals became fuzzy, and I had more and more trouble making decisions. I know I'm not alone. In some ways, the first year of the pandemic was more productive for me, because it was more sharply defined. 2021 was like a faded copy of 2020, and I somehow felt more numb, slower, and maybe a little more gaslit.
The first few weeks of January this year, I saw many of the writers I follow on Twitter post the words they'd chosen for this year, to guide them. I should do that, I thought. I can never pick one. I should do it this year. Change my luck.
There were a lot of good ones out there: Survive, thrive, produce. My friend Loren Rhoads chose Complete. She's brilliant, and you can read her blog about how she chose it here. As she always does, she got me thinking about how much I love words, and maybe one word could change my course.
So the word I choose for this year is Decide. Decide to get the work done, decide to put writing back where it belongs in my life. While I'll still be counting my rejections, I've decided to focus on the sales. By the end of this year, I've decided I will have a finished collection of flash fiction, and the start of another anthology. I've decided my two mostly finished novels will get the attention they deserve, and I've decided that my writing is worthy of help from others.
So I"m a slow starter, but I've started.