Rebecca Behrens books
Rebecca Behrens books
Rebecca Behrens books

Last year, my word for 2013 was balance. While I do think that having that word at the forefront of my mind helped me take at least a few steps toward a more balanced life, I still have a lot of work to do with that word. But 2014 is a new year, so I needed a new word.

For 2014, I’m choosing: open.

As I look back over my 2013 posts, I realize that I didn’t blog much about what’s been going on in my writing life. That’s partly because after starting a new job last January, I found I had a lot less time for blogging and social media in general (sad face). But honestly, I think it’s also that as I moved further into the publishing process, the more I found myself retreating a bit, at least online. Working toward publishing When Audrey Met Alice has been a joyful experience, by and large–but like any big life thing, it’s brought some stressors along with the good stuff. I found myself nervous about sharing both the many good things (I guess I have that Midwestern sensibility of not tooting one’s own horn) and the few things that scared me. The thing I’m starting to realize, though, is that writing with a goal of publication means putting yourself out there in the world, and that’s an okay thing. You have to be open to the possibilities. And I truly believe that the best writing comes from an open mind and an open heart, and I want to keep improving my craft this year.

Perhaps because I often felt overwhelmed by juggling day-job work, writing work, a move, and everything else last year, I found myself closing off a little in other ways. Sometimes I met invitations and opportunities with a cringe (Where am I going to find the time for that!) instead of an excited or appreciative smile. Sometimes I just got really anxious, or exhausted-cranky. I’d like to shift that attitude a bit, and show thankfulness for all of the great things in my life by approaching it by being a little more receptive.

I’ve never been super comfortable with sharing too much personal stuff online (hello, introversion), and I don’t think that’s going to change. But I feel such gratitude for all the honest posts I’ve read from writers at various stages of the publishing process the past two weeks. So in addition to trying to approach IRL things with a spirit of openness, I want to approach online life with a bit more of that, too. Like by saying right now that as excited as I am for my book to come out in less than a month(!), I’m pretty nervous, too.

So, hello, 2014. I am taking deep breath and doing a stretchy yoga move, and trying to greet everything that’s in store for me this year with . . . openness.

(What’s your word for this new year?)