2015: A Year of Regrouping and Refocusing by Brad Windhauser
This past year I took stock of my various ongoing writing projects. Were they still serving my career goals? Some were, some were not; others, though important, consumed too much of my time. So, this year, I made a concerted effort to wrap-up a very large project and re-devote myself to writing and revising new work.
The biggest thing I decided to let go of was my three-year running Bible Project Blog. Begun in January of 2013, I undertook a massive commitment to read the entire Bible and blog about what I learned. In general, I wanted to understand what this book actually said, because, as a gay man, this ancient text is so often used against me. The back end of the project—reading books that talked about the Bible, which provided context and further understanding—was interesting, and I read a lot that enhanced my appreciation for the Bible; however, this project required a lot of my time, and after a while, I had to ask myself: how is this project serving my work as an author? In the end, I was getting farther away from my original intent, and since my goal was not to be a Bible scholar, I wrapped up the project.
Thankfully, the 206 posts still live on online.
I also debated what to do with my long-completed second novel (gathering metaphorical dust on my hard drive). I happened upon a useful opportunity through Twitter: #PitchWars. I blogged about this experience, so I won’t rehash this here, but I will say that this experience provided useful insight and motivation to revise the entire novel—the benefits of letting your work sit for a bit so you can assess it with fresh eyes is invaluable. Now if I can only entice an agent to take it on—for now, I feel it’s the book I always intended to write.
While my second novel gathered dust, I plowed ahead with my third—and this past year, I completed a polished draft. I’m still too close to it to read it objectively, so, next year, I will give it the attention it needs to be ready to send out. I am pleased with the draft though, as it pays tribute to a period in my life—the late 90’s—working in restaurants. I was able to loosen up the voice (at least a little), thereby adding the needed humor (which tends to be missing from my other work).
Perhaps the biggest accomplishment this year is the series of new short stories I was able to complete this summer. Because I have been immersed in my novels and blog project, I hadn’t created any new short stories. So, this summer, I committed myself to developing a bunch of ideas. I sketched out nine new short stories (six of which are complete, three of which I am still drafting). I enjoy having new work to submit to literary journals.
I also devoted a lot of quality time to reading—as I exceeded my goal of reading 50 books (I’ll finish 60 by year’s end). You can follow what I read on Goodreads.
And yes, believe it or not, I found time to rest (and relax). Above all, I wanted to be kinder to myself (and, by extension, take better care of my incredibly-understanding partner, whom I am marrying next October).
It’s been a busy, productive year. I hope to continue my work in 2016.