Can you believe 2020 is over? Did you have a good end of the year? Are you glad it’s over?
Here’s to a new year and the new changes it brings. May it be better than the one before.
Since it’s the thing to do, I think I’ll do a recap of what happened to me and this blog in 2020 since it was, in practice and in fact, the year of the blog.
Blogging is still hard. I still have to make myself sit down and do it, but it’s not the challenge it once was. Writing in general has gotten easier and my voice is clearer than it has ever been. For that I am grateful and proud.
2020 in stats: litewingsink had
I have you all to thank for that, so thank you for helping me grow my space. In the new year, you can expect at least one new page from me as well as the usual posts about writing, blogging, or living. I don’t know yet what my plan for the year will be, but as soon as I know, so will you.
I’m also starting a new website that will incorporate, but be separate from, this blog. If you’d like, check it out at linseyewing.com
In the spirit of looking forward, let’s look back no more, but remember the good times we had.
Here are some of your favorites and mine:
MOST COMMENTS: no surprise here, 20 2020 Questions which you’re probably sick of seeing and is now unpinned from the home page.
There was a time when PEACE was the only thing I wanted. My brother asked me years ago what it was I was seeking or missing in my life that made me so miserable. My answer was PEACE.
As with all these ADVENT pillars, PEACE is not something that just appears in our lives. We have to find it and make it a priority.
I usually have plenty of PEACE and quiet in my life, but this holiday season has not been peaceful or quiet. There’s been a lot of noise around me the last few days, but I have been peaceful inside.
I realized PEACE isn’t the absence of noise; it is patience with the noise.
I’ve worked hard to cultivate PEACE in my life, and I think I’ve done a decent job. It isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either. Neither do I believe PEACE is something that just exists in the world to be grasped. If PEACE isn’t a skill, it’s at least a muscle we need to exercise.
Thank you for traveling this ADVENT journey with me. I HOPE you have found something you LOVE or something has brought you a little JOY or a moment of inner PEACE.
Here’s to a peaceful and happy new year to each of you.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t anticipate these ADVENT pillars being as hard to write about as they are.
Unlike HOPE and LOVE, I can remember very clearly a time in my life when I was without JOY.
2012 was a hard year. Many things had gone wrong, and it was only February. After 2020, you all will understand what I mean.
My first nephew was born, and I knew I should feel something I wasn’t feeling. It took me almost three years to figure out what that was.
I don’t mean to say what I was feeling was wrong, but it didn’t match the moment. My outsides and insides weren’t aligned. I think many of us feel that way this time of year, and maybe this year in particular, for a plethora of reasons.
Let me encourage you to find your JOY anywhere you can. Look for it. seek it out. Try to manifest it in your life.
I’ve learned that JOY is also a choice…like looking for pieces of mica in a pile of rocks…a choice to see brilliance where others see gravel…
This year, I’m doing things that make me happy, even if they don’t make sense to others. I’m decorating what I want, wrapping what I want, and showing up for those I want. If it doesn’t bring me JOY, it’s not for me right now.
I HOPE you will take the same path. Chase your JOY and surround yourself with people and things you LOVE. I’ll be back next week to usher in a PEACEful New Year.
The simplest and hardest thing to do. At least for me. I don’t think I’m alone.
LOVE is another hard subject. Again, I feel about it something like a calling, but I also feel very private about the things and people I LOVE. It’s hard for me to define and hard for me to ask for, but it’s maybe the most important thing we can do on this planet. It helps us to see other people through their own eyes.
Empathy is the greatest gift we give and receive.
LOVE ties us together as humans. If HOPE is what separates us from the animals then LOVE is what shows our humanity. LOVE is another choice. It’s one we make every day we take care of ourselves or others.
What does LOVE look like in this broken world?
Sometimes it’s the words.
Sometimes it’s actions.
Sometimes it’s silence, letting other people be who they are. It can be inaction, letting others do and be themselves.
Nothing says “I love you” like permission to be just exactly yourself.
Also important is self-LOVE. We cannot give to others from an empty tank. We must fill ourselves up with things that bring us JOY
Every year I struggle with Winter in general and the Holidays in particular.
Many of us are broken this time of year for a number of reasons. Perhaps we miss someone we love. Perhaps something awful happened to us. Perhaps we do not find pleasure or joy in what the world finds worthy of celebration. Perhaps we are The Grinch.
Whatever our reasons for not loving the Holidays, we deserve some time and space to celebrate that.
I HOPE that place is here and that time is now.
I’m glad we get to start the season of Advent with HOPE. HOPE is an easy subject for me because it is a mission and a calling. I believe HOPE is what separates us from every other being on the planet. HOPE makes us special creations, here for a purpose.
HOPE is that knowledge that things can be better because they have been better.
HOPE is knowing you will be ok, no matter how far you fall.
HOPE is knowing, not feeling or believing, but knowing better exists.
HOPE might also be the worst place to start, since I can’t remember a period when I have lost my hope entirely. In the scariest situations, there was hope I would not be there forever. In the worst pain, there was hope that help was on the way. Even when I knew I couldn’t do it alone, I always had help when and where I needed it. I have been close to hopeless, no doubt. I have been in the darkest of the dark places, but there was always a peephole of light.
HOPE is not the same thing as anticipation.
HOPE, just like its Advent counterparts, is an act, a choice, to look up or look around and see that you are not alone. Many of us feel alone this time of year, but you are welcome here and in other places you might not expect. When you get out of bed in the morning, you have HOPE. When you smile at your children, you are showing HOPE. When you plan for the future, your HOPE is made manifest.
In this season of literal bells and whistles, flashing lights and carols ringing, remember your HOPE. Maybe it’s not a struggle for you, but remember for others, it’s a single light in the darkness.
I’m excited to be part of an organization that has bringing words of HOPE into the world as their central mission. I’m glad I get to call myself a hope*writer
I’ve long been asking what I could do to bring more HOPE to my writing and specifically to this blog. The answer came in a lovely call with my hope*circle friends. We gather virtually every other week to discuss our progress and plans. I’d thought about doing an ADVENT series before, but something in that conversation gave me the courage and the will to plan it.
The Holidays aren’t a happy time for all of us. This holiday season, I’d like to examine the pillars of ADVENT and what they mean to us especially in 2020. I’d like to speak into the brokenness of my own past and into someone else’s present. I know ‘someone’ because I have been there myself, and I know how it feels to be lost, traumatized, or brokenhearted, during “the most wonderful time of the year.”
SO…WHAT IS ADVENT?
ADVENT is a time of welcoming and expectation during the holiday season. It is a ritual part of some Christian liturgical calendars and generally a season for anticipating and celebrating the birth and second coming of Christ. It’s celebrated in the church by the lighting of four candles to represent the four pillars of ADVENT, HOPE, LOVE, JOY, and PEACE, and the middle and final candle of the ADVENT wreath is the CHRIST candle.
Though I am a believer in both, I’d like to keep Santa and Baby Jesus out of this examination of ADVENT. Those magical elements that mean so much to some can be stumbling blocks to others. I’d like to speak in a more global tone, and if I don’t, I want to be called on it.
The universal principles of HOPE, LOVE, JOY, and PEACE we can all lean into every day, no matter the time of year. They aren’t necessarily Christian or Christmas principles. The pillars are open to interpretation from all walks of faith. These are the principles I wish to focus on this holiday season to get us all through what may be a dark time for some and a source of misunderstanding for others.
I want to show those who are ok what it is like to be lost in darkness, and those who are currently there to see light in the world.
This is what my ADVENT SERIES is going to look like. I hope you will join me for part or all.
HOPE in the Holidaze
LOVE One Another
JOY to the World
PEACE on Earth
If you’d like to see another challenge from my hope*circle, follow me on Instagram to see my DECEMBER series: LIGHT IN THE DARKEST SEASON@ewinglinsey
Also, if you’re looking for a Christmas gift for a book lover this year, my cousin has just written this jewel available on amazon. In Unexpected Ways: Christmas in Everyday Life is a devotional for living into the principles of Christmas all year round. Check it out!
It’s time to talk about DRAFTING and my favorite way to do that is through NANOWRIMO happening all this month on nanowrimo.org
YAY! The good news is we actually get to start writing now…
BOO! The bad news is we actually have to start writing now.
I draft in 4 stages starting with a ZERO DRAFT
ZERO DRAFT: This draft is ALL ABOUT THE WORDS. All of them. Every word. I write all the thoughts in my head down on paper and it is glorious and frightening at the same time. My comfort is that NOBODY sees this draft EVER.
FIRST DRAFT: In this draft I take all the pieces of the ZERO DRAFT relevant and important to my story and cut and paste them into a new document. I try to keep everything in general order, but most of the organizing starts in my…
SECOND DRAFT: Which is where I put everything in order and make it sound like a readable piece of work. This is the FIRST time it actually looks like a STORY or resembles a finished product.
THIRD DRAFT: This is where I REWRITE everything and ADD whatever’s missing. This a draft for my beta readers. It is NOT perfect, more like an Advanced Reader Copy, but it’s as close as it gets before editing.
DRAFTING takes forever…months to years…and it’s absolutely the worst and the best part of writing. Then comes EDITING…a topic for another time.
I’m finishing up novel number FOUR this nano, so wish me luck. I’ll see you all in December :-*
Now that your ideas are dressed up in their Sunday best, we’re going to line them up to take pictures. OUTLINING is actually my favorite part of my writing process because it’s the stage where everything comes together.
I can go a bit wild, but I also bring things to order. It’s very satisfying.
If you haven’t already checked out my YouTube channel, I have videos of myself going through each of these steps. You can find that HERE.
OUTLINING is the step in which I take all my little sticky notes or bullet points or scraps of paper and sort them. Usually something as simple as BEGINNING, MIDDLE, and END. This goes in the OUTLINE section of my
which now stores all the paper I have gathered to this point. Yes, I start a new notebook for every novel. The NOVEL NOTEBOOK houses everything from the first brainstorming idea to the ZERO DRAFT.
Then it’s time to get digital.
I prefer to work in a spreadsheet for OUTLINING these days because I can type everything once, then copy and paste part or all of my words over to a different document later when I’m DRAFTING.
PANTSERS again have a lot of freedom in this step since you can really write whatever you want for your outline points. The first novel I drafted this way was nearly one third complete by the time I finished my outline.
Many times I will organize my works by ACTS or PARTS then each PLOT POINT in order. The beauty of this step is that you don’t have to know everything about your story yet. You can fill in the blanks as you go.
1st plot point
1st pinch point
2nd pinch point
2nd plot point
This very simple outline has served me so well I must recommend it. As you can see, it is open to almost any kind of story. OUTLINING will keep your story organized and flowing smoothly…
NEXT WEEK, we’ll explore DRAFTING or FINALLY STARTING THE WRITING PROCESS to those of you with no patience for plotting. See you then.