A New Year by JM Kelley

A new year has dawned and, as I do every year, I take stock of the year that was, and the year that will be.  2013 seems to have come and gone in the blink of an eye. In my world, I have to declare it the Year of Procrastination. As a writer, I have had a million reasons and excuses that got in the way of my work. The day job is the easiest to blame, especially with hours that ricochet back and forth between waking up at the crack of dawn, and crawling into bed as the first rays of the sun peek over the horizon.

Unfortunately for my writing, the day job is my only legitimate excuse. The rest of my interruptions are self-inflicted, and a result of a mind too predisposed to wandering, and fingertips too  prone to aiming my mouse toward Facebook and Twitter shortcuts (as well as those evil, addictive LOLCats). I’ve spent the majority of the year wrestling with a story that either doesn’t want to be told, or wants to kill me in the process of telling it.

As ever, time marches on, and with the dawning of 2014, I am determined to make changes and focus my energies on more productive writing practices. Connect more with writers in the online community. Figure out what kind of marketing works and what doesn’t. Get the agent. Get the big contract. You know, the usual.

When I’m not doing all that, I have added a few responsibilities to my plate—exciting roles I can’t wait to tackle. This year, I will be taking on the duties of Vice President of the South Carolina Writers Workshop, as well as manning the organization’s Publicity Committee.

My brain is swimming with ideas and possibilities as my term begins. My goals are numerous: I hope to be able to help bring more attention to the SCWW, catching the eye of writers who haven’t heard of us yet. I want to have a hand in increasing conference attendance. I want to encourage a greater sense of community among the already established membership and chapters. I want  Connection! Chatter! Commiseration! Cheers!

In that respect, I’d love to see more activity on the various social network sites. Facebook is always a challenge, with ever-changing algorithms that inhibit visibility, but simply liking posts and taking time to leave a quick comment help keep us visible in your feed! Connect with us there at https://www.facebook.com/groups/51934904087/  and on the conference page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/South-Carolina-Writers-Workshop-Conference/208472852512463.

Also, we can connect with ease on sites like Twitter. This year, I invite you to follow me via @scwriterswksp and use the hashtag #myscww so we can share the writing journey with you all.

Google+ is another option, and we can be found there at https://plus.google.com/+MyscwwOrg/posts.

Did you know the SCWW is on LinkedIn? I would love to get the group vocal on that site as well, so don’t be surprised to see me popping up there with leading questions and random ideas. Join us at there at http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1827136&trk=vsrp_groups_res_name&trkInfo=VSRPsearchId%3A860687021388907221678%2CVSRPtargetId%3A1827136%2CVSRPcmpt%3Aprimary.

I think the most important thing we can do as writers is to connect with one another. Life as an author is more enjoyable when we are able to share our triumphs and our failures, to have the ability to ask for help and have that call answered, to bond over similar experiences. And isn’t it a cozy feeling, that knowledge that you’re one of those birds of a feather, flocking together?

I am so thankful to have found the SCWW back in 2010. I attended my second conference ever that October (my first time with SCWW), and was finally starting to feel like a real, live writer. Having since attended much larger, nationally-oriented conference events, I can still say that I’ve had better experiences here at SCWW. Faculty, classes, workshops…I always walk away with notes, ideas, and a renewed sense of excitement about being a writer. Sitting on my shelf in the living room is a tiny framed business card, given to me by an agent after an amazingly successful critique session. Even though I chose a different path for that particular novel, the framed card is inspiration for me, a reminder that my work has been noticed, and it will be again someday. Also, it’s a great way to remember to query that lovely lady first when I’m ready.

I hope, in 2014, that we’ll all be able to grow a little closer as a writing organization. There are many members I don’t know yet, and I hope that by year’s end, we can declare ourselves good friends. I can assure you that I’m a very approachable introvert (just ignore that deer-in-the-headlights look I always have plastered on my face in public), so if you have any questions, points of interest, suggestions or…well, anything you want to say, I am here to listen. If I don’t have an answer to your query, I’ll find it. I also encourage you to contact me at authorjmkelley@gmail.com, or via any of the usual social media site suspects: Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-JM-Kelley/108021242585994 or https://www.facebook.com/jmkelleywrites , and Twitter at https://twitter.com/AuthorJMKelley. I’m also on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/j-m-kelley/24/9a8/33a.

And I wouldn’t be an author if I didn’t say hey, visit my website at http://www.jmkelleywrites.com!

2014 is going to be a great year for the South Carolina Writers Workshop, and I’m looking forward to the experience. Happy writing to you all!

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