I am going to be honest. I don’t want to use this post to talk about whether I wrote a new draft (I didn’t) or completed a revision (I did) this month. I am feeling slightly nauseous about this being the last day of the fifth year of the 12 x 12 challenge, and I want to tell you why.
I began this year full of hope and energy and optimism. It was the FIFTH YEAR of this, the greatest writing community on earth! I was determined to make it the best year yet, for both the challenge and myself personally. I spent last New Year’s at a mountain retreat, writing. I started the year with three new drafts. I had plans to throw a party in New York to celebrate with 12 x 12 members and contributors. 2015 had been a difficult year (although I can hardly remember why anymore), so I was ready for shiny and new.
Then, 2016 happened.
My energy and optimism lasted through February, and we did have one heck of a party in NYC.
Then I suffered a personal loss. I got sick. In March, I received many rejections on a book that was hugely important to me. And it went on from there, alternating between personal pain and that of being a world citizen. Here in the U.S. we endured the ugliest, most divisive election in history, and many of us fear what the future will bring. We suffered the tragedies in Charleston, Orlando, and more. On the world stage, there were horrors in Paris, Nice, Syria. Brexit in the UK. We’ve lost some of the greatest writers, actors, musicians, athletes, thinkers and humanitarians of all time. All in one year.
And there were killer clowns. KILLER CLOWNS, People!
Okay, nobody was actually killed by a clown. But still…
Today I sit here wondering what happened to this year, to all of us. I don’t have many answers, but I do know this: it WAS the best year of 12 x 12 yet. We held a phenomenal series of webinars. We added incredible new benefits like the Critique Ninja program. We came together online and in person at events all over the world. We comforted each other during difficult times for us individually, and collectively in the aftermath of horrific world events. Thanks to Marcie Colleen, we danced to the music of the great talents we lost. We celebrated and mourned. We laughed and cried. Darkness and light. Together.
Day after day, the 12 x 12 community was my solace, my motivation, my reason to get up in the morning. And now? My resolve to create, to write, to have a VOICE is stronger than ever. Swearing aside, I think Chuck Wendig said it best in an essay he wrote after the U.S. election. “Make art. Art harder. Art the hardest you ever done arted, motherfuckers.”
That’s what I intend to do, and I hope you will too. I hope you will come back in 2017 and we can art the hardest we ever done arted — together. We are stronger together. We create more together. We persevere together.
I made you one final gift to close out our fifth year. A memoriam of some of the greats we lost this year. In the process of creating this video, I got thinking about the immense contributions these people left behind and how they each changed the world. Then I thought, “That’s what WE’RE doing!” We ARE changing the world. Published or pre-published, we are all doing important, life-changing work on behalf of the children of the world. What could be more important?
Happy New Year everyone. Or at a minimum, Happy End of THIS Year. Let us go forth into 2017 resolved to make the world a better place with our actions, our words, our work. We can do this!
Never, EVER give up!
Now tell us your progress. Did you complete a draft and/or revision in December? Let us know in the Rafflecopter and in the comments. Our prize comes from this month’s Featured Author Debbie Ohi. The winner will receive a signed/doodled copy of WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? sent to anyone in North America. (If someone outside of North America wins, we will substitute with a different prize.)
Here is what you need to do to check in for a chance to win:
- See the Rafflecopter widget at the end of this post that says “Free Webinars” at the top.
- Click on the “Comment on Debbie Ohi’s post” button. Commenting on Debbie’s post is mandatory for this giveaway and you can enter the Rafflecopter even if you didn’t write a draft this month, but commenting on Debbie’s post. You can comment on the post here. Click ENTER.
- Click on the “Wrote a PB Draft” button. This will ask if you completed a PB draft in December. If you did, click ENTER, if you did not, move on to the next step.
- Click on the last “Revised a PB Draft” button. This will ask if you revised a PB in December. If you did, click ENTER. If not, move on to the next step.
- That’s it! Rafflecopter will track your points.
You have until midnight Eastern on January 2nd to enter your results. Rafflecopter will draw a winner and I’ll announce it on the blog on January 3rd.