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2016: A Reflection, 2017: Looking Forward

Rachel Saylor

As the year of 2016 comes to a close, I can't help but smile, knowing this was the first full year of writing for me. Previous to the beginning of this past year, I had only just begun writing for a couple of months.

And now? Now, I've written my little fingers off. I wrote my first nonfiction short, Fire Diaries. I had the sobering experience of having several people read and critique this short. I grew so much during the heart-wrenching, hair-pulling process of re-writing and editing something that was such a personal expression of my heart. I still think how I could change the story for the better, but I am so proud that I put my first piece out there for the eyes of anyone interested enough to partake. 

From Fire Diaries, I decided to weekly write and post a story, Jasper's Mountain. I had so much fun building on a story each week and let it unravel for those following along. As November crept closer, I began to think, "Why not give NaNoWriMo a try?" National Novel Writing Month was something I wanted to do the past couple of years, but I let myself be intimidated out of the idea. This year, though, I already had a concept for a story, so why not take Jasper's Mountain and finish it? 

I created a daily vlog, where I gave small updates on the novel writing process. This was hard work, but a lot of fun and a great way to engage with people in a different way. I have put together a NaNoWriMo recap video for your viewing pleasure :)

After completing the first draft of Jasper's Mountain, I decided to write shorter essays in hopes that these will be easier to get published. 

This year, I had the feeling of Yes! I can do this! I can be a writer if I put my mind to it. I am so thankful for this year of growth and I cannot wait to tackle my goals this coming year. 

In this next year, I plan to rewrite Jasper's Mountain as many times as needed, with the editing help from friends and family. I know this is going to be tough, but I am ready for the challenge, so bring it on. I want to edit and rewrite my shorts so that I can begin submitting them to be published. 

I also plan to continue my daily writing habit with the plan of writing at least two more novels, if not more, in the coming year.

I am also excited to get printed versions of Fire Diaries out in the world, coming soon! I'm not sure how many I will have printed, but keep your eyes peeled for details, hopefully early 2017.

The feedback I've gotten from people this past year on how my writing has affected them or transported them to another world makes it all worth it to me. My dream is to create a space for readers to lose themselves and be swept up in a story. I have always been an avid reader ever since I was a child. Many nights were spent in bed with a small lamp and snacks, flipping page after page, not able to put my novel down till I found out how it ended. I wish to create such novels for readers to feel so invested in the characters that they can't help but keep flipping the pages. 

I hope you plan out your year and are able to look back next December with a feeling of pride at all you've accomplished. If you put your mind to it, you can do it. I believe in you. I would love to hear what your plans and goals are for this coming year. Email me at: 

Let's make this one, precious life we have count and make an impact on this world!