IWSG for January, 2023: THE YEAR AHEAD

It's that time again to gather together as writers and blog about our writing insecurities (and achievements). The following post was written for the IWSG monthly blogging event created by author Alex J Cavanaugh. Alex's awesome co-hosts for this month posting are Jemima Pett, Debs Carey, Kim Lajevardi, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, and T. Powell Coltrin!

Alex's optional question: "Do you have a word of the year? Is there one word that sums up what you need to work on or change in the coming year?
For instance, in 2021 my word of the year was Finish. I was determined to finish my first draft by the end of the year. In 2022, my word of the year was Ease. I want to get my process, systems, finances, and routines where life flows with ease and less chaos. What is your word for 2023?" 

I can’t do anything in one word, so I’m choosing a phrase or mantra for 2023. Here it is. I will choose to FINISH and SEND my completed stories to markets for publication consideration. 

Actually, I finish every story I intend to finish, but I have a problem with un-finishing the finished. Many times, I’ve received a story back from a copy editor/proofreader, only to tear the entire story apart. I’ll tweak this or add that beyond the revision suggestions because it’s not quite right, yet. My 2022 goal was to send my stories to markets. How many went to market? ZERO. They weren’t ready. THIS is the lie I tell myself. 

Now, come with me to my bedroom. 😇 Most days, I make my bed. Imagine, if when I finish making my bed, I tear it all apart just to remake it again and again because it doesn’t feel perfect enough. I would never leave the room. Returning to a finished story to tear it apart after I self edit a million times or a professional edits it is... self-defeating. 

Can you identify my worst enemy? Don’t answer that! 

This week, I watched part of an interview with author Holly Black. She said (not verbatim) that the hardest part of writing her stories is finishing. I’m not sure if she meant coming up with an ending or perhaps accepting that her story is finished and ready for publication. I’m pretending it’s that one. 

Do you have a word for the year ahead, one that sums up what you need to work on or change in the coming year? 




I do (despite not being a writer or a parent) think I understand how difficult it must be to let your babies go, and let them stand on their own feet. Good luck.
Hi Teresa - Happy New Year ... your stories will come right - our mind bends in ways we don't understand ... Finish and Send off your stories ... as EC says - Good Luck. Cheers Hilary
Leigh said…
That's a great word of the year. I have to agree that automatic self-editing as one writes really kills the flow! I hope you have great success taking your word to heart all year long.
Natalie Aguirre said…
Awesome that you heard an interview with Holly Black. I tinker a lot as I write and revise too, which makes my process of finishing a manuscript go slower. Good luck with mantra this year.
Liza said…
There is a point at which we all must let go. It's hard, but it must be done. Wishing you luck getting that proverbial "bed made" in 2023. Thank you for co-hosting IWSG this month.
It is so easy to go back and rewrite and rewrite. Finish! Accept it is done.
Thanks for co-hosting today.
Melissa said…
There is valid reworking, and then there's endless editing loops. I find that using a plotting worksheet helps me stay on track and hit all the plot points (Save-the-cat style). Another thing that helps is putting the manuscript aside for a few weeks or months, even years. Then, when you take it out again, you can be more objective. If you are getting the kind of feedback from your CPs and betas that you'd like to see in an Amazon review, it's time to get a proofread and query. Thanks for co-hosting!
J Lenni Dorner said…
A problem all too many of us have. I spent a long time editing. Too long.
"Without having a goal, it's difficult to score." Paul Arden
I hope 2023 will become everything you need it to be.
Nancy Gideon said…
Just like letting your children go out into the world, you can't delay the inevitable. You write to publish or you write for yourself. Nothing wrong with the latter but the former gives more than just YOU joy! Thing of the readers who will connect and be motivated by what you write (and there WILL be those reader, trust me!). You never know if what you've said is just what they need until you get it out there. Set a date to publish and stick to it. No more revisiting, revising or rehashing. Just get it OUT there. And then move on to the next great story!!
This is a prime example why Alex's word is so important: FAITH. You need faith to know WHEN you've written the best book you're ever going to write at this time in your life. I understand how you feel. I have published novels I'd like to edit, revise, redo. Maybe it's the story of our lives during those pouts of self-doubt. As for making a bed... of to do just that. Happy 4th New Day. And thanks for co-hosting.
Have you ever taken a test and gone back after fuming over an answer and changed it only to find your first one was right? TRUST is a good word. Trust your mind to have gotten it right the first time. It usually works for me. Have a great year!
You've got a good word. I save my work for eternity too, but I tend to turn it in on the last day mostly. Until then I can't stop the revisions, the tearing apart. I wish you all the best for this year. Thank you for co hosting.
Finish is a good word. I understand where the problems lies as far as writing goes. When I'm re-writing or editing a draft for the gajillionth time, I have to tell myself, over and over, nothing is perfect. There is always a different phrase or word to use in this or that sentence. On and on it goes and I can't get the darn thing finished. So then, the mantra comes into play~ 'Let it go.'
Wishing you success in 2023. Happy New Year. Thank you for co-hosting!
Jennifer Hawes said…
Most writers don't finish. So, if you do, you're already ahead in the game! I struggle with finishing, like for good. This time I've hired a professional editor. I'm so excited for this new journey in my life. Good luck in 2023
Beth Camp said…
Yes, the perfect word for your coming 2023! Thank you for focusing on what you truly need AND telling us (and yourself) in a way that dramatically illustrates how sometimes we get caught up in patterns that are truly self-defeating. I love the image of making and remaking and remaking that bed! But, you have an answer that promises you will meet your goals! I wish you every success in 2023.
Computer Tutor said…
I know what you mean about that. I've had several agents, all well meaning. One gave me deep changes to my story (took forever to make) and then rejected it anyway. Same with the next. I gave up on agents!
Diane Burton said…
Letting go of a story is never easy. Even after it's published, you'll wish you'd changed this or added that. Maybe you need to listen to Ilsa's song in Frozen "Let it go." Thanks for cohosting this month and best wishes for 2023.
Beth Camp said…
I really enjoyed reading your post today because you so dramatically and with humor showed how self-defeating behaviors creep into our creative lives -- without us realizing it! Who would remake their bed over and over? Editing does take time and determination, as does writing, but if traditional publishing doesn't work for you, have you thought of self-publishing? Wishing you the very best for 2023 and SEND!
Patricia JL said…
It is like resisting a temptation to go and tweak that story once more. And once more. And again. Eventually, you have to say that it's done and leave it.
Samantha Bryant said…
I also picked finish, though for slightly different reasons. I'm tried of all these loose ends dangling! @samanthabwriter from
Balancing Act
Mary Aalgaard said…
You can do it. Your stories are wonderful. Give them a life and send them on to publishers and readers.
Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!
Cheers to 2023!
talklady said…
I began writing a dozen years ago. My intent was easy my way into retirement without regrets about things not attempted or explored... it seems to be that my writing was better when it was free and unfettered by rules and critiques. I was more apt to finish and release then...

While I no longer fear/despise revision, I'm prone to dither rather than finish, always eager to find-and-use the 'best' word or phrase.

I gues that suits me. I'm a Process rather than a Product person.

Thanks for co-hosting and Happy New Year!
Pat Garcia said…
Hi and Happy New Year,
I sincerely hope that you get those stories out this year.
All the best and thank you for co-hosting.
Shalom aleichem
Adrienne Reiter said…
Great mantra. Finish and send! It's not that mystical. If only it were as simple as it sounds. I'm adopting this one for sure. I'm loving everyone's words. Happy New Year, and thank you for co-hosting!
Chrys Fey said…
Moving past "the end" to true completion to submit or publish is often the hardest part. We can get stuck in perfectionism. I often have to remind myself that not even well-known, best-selling authors have perfect books, but they all had to let them go eventually.

Wish you all the best with truly finishing this year.
diedre Knight said…
This could so easily be your year! Give yourself permission ;-) In the words of Erica Yong, "If we don't risk anything, we risk even more."
Thanks for co-hosting!
Oh my goodness! I can relate to the "un-finishing" a finished story. You are not alone in that. Learning to let a story go in all of its imperfect glory is hard. Sometimes I still want to go back and rewrite my first published novel, however, I know that would be a waste of time.

One of the things that helps is having a good team of beta readers. I have to trust mine when they say a story is done and ready for consumption. Good luck!
cleemckenzie said…
It's all about re-writing and re-doing, isn't it? I hope you reach your finishing goal this year and reap the rewards. Thanks so much for co-hosting.
I hear the same problem from many writers. I know you'll FINISH this year!
Steph W. said…
This hits really close to home! I have been "finished" for almost two years. But I refuse to believe it's ready. Best of luck!!
Olga Godim said…
I heard once (I don't remember which wise writer said it) that no story is ever finished. At some point, you just abandon your story and let it fly for itself.
Fundy Blue said…
Thanks for co-hosting today, Teresa! I know what your worst enemy is, because it's mine too ~ lol. I think your mantra for your word of the year is awesome. Wishing you lots of submitted stories in 2023!
Thank you for co-hosting the blog hop this month, Teresa.
I've never had a 'word of the year'. But I believe in perseverance. So maybe that will be my ongoing word for years to come.
All the best for 2023!

Best of luck with the Finishing and the Sending!
Jemima Pett said…
I'll second what Joulene said . Then add that I read something this week about making a synopsis to see what you've written when you think you've finished it. Maybe if you still want to rewrite after you've done the synopsis, you have reason. But if the synopsis feels good, leave it alone!

Thanks for cohosting this week, and happy new year!

chickangell said…
I fought this dragon in the early 2000's and still battle with it. A quote from General Patton has really helped me let go of my perfectionistic tendency. "A plan violently executed today is worth more than the perfect plan never executed."

But as I re-release some of my books for the 3rd time, I am still reading through them and tweaking them. This is why I hate re-publishing. I promise myself this will be the last time I re-publish my books.

Alas, with my courses that will always be a work in progress, lol.

Here's to you slaying the perfectionist dragon in 2023!

Thanks so much for co-hosting IWSG this month. Tinkering with my stories. I can do it forever. I LOVE your words for 2023: FINISH and SEND my completed stories. I need to focus on this also. Thanks for a great post. I wish you every success in 2023!
Loni Townsend said…
I totally identify and relate with your plight, as I'm trying to finish the latest version of my WIP, one that I've changed the plot 6 times and have "finished" twice before.

Good luck with getting your stories done!
kjmckendry said…
Thanks for co-hosting! Oooh that's a good one! It can be so difficult to finally decide that your work is good enough to let it go out into the world!
Happy New Year and good luck in 2023 with finishing and sending work out!
Bish Denham said…
Ahh yes... A writer's (any creative person's) work is never done, never quite completed because there is no such thing as perfection. Something can always be tweaked, an added word here, another brush stroke there, another push of the clay over here... on and on.

But we must let go and let our babies fly. Excellent word choices!
J.Q. Rose said…
Oh yes, finishing is hard enough, but to actually believe the story is told and all the "t"s are crossed and "i"s dotted is difficult. Then to throw that ms out to the world and not want your "baby" to be criticized or to have your heart hurt because of criticism is the most challenging. Perhaps you should insert--FINISH-BRAVE-SEND. Go for it. You CAN Send!! All the best. Thanks for co-hosting!

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