Happy New Year, everyone! Welcome to 2024!

For me, 2023 was an incredibly productive year. What makes me most pleased and proud is that I feel I was able to return to a high level of productivity in a way that honored everything I’ve learned from the severe burnout I experienced in previous years. Above all, this has been a year of working through healing and growth in my relationship to the business side of being a writer (something I’ll talk about in a future post).

  • It seems so long ago now, but the biggest news of the year was that I published what is absolutely my favorite book I’ve ever written, Writing Archetypal Character Arcs. This book is a marriage of deep story theory with the psychology and philosophy of life itself.  It explores thirty-six archetypes, all centered around the six transformational character arcs of the human life cycle. I’ve been so happy with its reception, and if you haven’t read it yet, I hope you’ll check it out!
  • My surprise project of the year was something totally out of left field—the Archetypal Character Guided Meditations. Based on the six primary archetypes in my book Writing Archetypal Character Arcs, these hour-long meditations are designed as “dreamzoning” journeys that allow you to explore your own stories through the powerful archetypal symbolism and structural beats of each arc. I had so much fun creating these six unique mediations and found them so moving and impactful in my own life.
  • I don’t do many interviews these days, but when I got the chance to work with the awesome team on the Studio Binder channel, I jumped at the chance to contribute to a video about the fundamentals of story structure, featuring one of my all-time favorite (and, IMO, perfectly plotted) movies, Jurassic Park.

  • I was incredibly honored for Helping Writers Become Authors to receive its 10th consecutive mention on Writer’s Digest‘s list of 101 Best Websites for Writers. So amazing. What a ride this has been. I find myself feeling more humbled every year and more determinedly committed to serving the writing community to the best of my gifts and abilities. Thank you, all!

  • One of my goals this year was to get back into the swing of creating content on YouTube. I’ve been posting weekly vids in response to viewers’ questions, and you all have prompted some great conversations. Check it out, and if you have a question you’d like answered, be sure to leave it in the comments on any one of the vids!

  • I’ve backed off on my social presence a lot in recent years, but last year I started playing around with Instagram in earnest and started quite enjoying it! Although I still post regular content on Facebook and Twitter/X, I post things on Instagram (including some glimpses into my own life) that I don’t post anywhere else. I hope you’ll swing by and say “hi!”
  • For those of you who know that I struggled mightily with writer’s block in past years, you’ll understand my happiness in being able to report that I have now completed a full year of writing fiction once again. I’m taking it super-slow and putting zero pressure or deadlines on myself as I outline what is quickly becoming a passion project—a dark fantasy called Wildblood that is turning out to be an incredibly deep and rich journey for me on a personal level. It may be a while before it’s finished, but I can’t wait to share this story of my heart with you all at some point. In the meantime, I’m just enjoying myself.
  • On the personal front, I was able to do a good bit of travelling this year, including two visits to family in another state and a month-long sojourn in the New England Berkshires, during which I got to visit Sleepy Hollow and Salem, among so many other deeply memorable adventures. I embarked on that trip knowing it would be a portal and wanting it to shake up some of the stuck energies and patterns in my life—and it surely did! I’m still processing it all, but I know it will be rippling into my life for a long time to come.

As for this coming year, I have several plans in the works. In addition to continuing with my fiction WIP, I am considering expanding my YouTube channel into longer videos. Many of you have requested that I include a transcript of the videos (which I can’t do on YouTube due to word limits in the descriptions), so I am thinking about incorporating videos into the site, perhaps alternating them with the regular posts every other week. Let me know what you think about that!

The top project I want to complete this year is a short course that delves deeper into exploring the relationship of the shadow archetypes to the six main archetypes (Maiden, Hero, Queen, King, Crone, Mage) that I’ve talked about in Writing Archetypal Character Arcs.

I also have ideas for a new book on advanced story structure, and I’m even toying with  creating a huge set of masterclasses that will cover all my most important information. That, obviously, would be a gigantic project that would span more than just this year! In view of how many requests I get from people looking for editors who follow my system, I’m also toying with the idea of offering a certification. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that as well.

I wish you an amazing New Year, full of joy, challenges, growth, satisfaction, and the best stories ever!

And now, just in case you missed them (or want to revisit them):

My Top 10 Posts of 2023

1. How to Create Insanely Complex Characters Using “Shadow Theory” (which was far and away one of my most popular posts ever with over 100k views in nine months! o.o)

2. Genre Tips: How to Write Fantasy (which was also my most popular podcast episode of the year)

3. 5 Tips for How to Return to Writing After a Long Break

4. The Daily Routine of a Full-Time Writer

5. How to Rediscover the Joy of Writing

6. Genre Tips: How to Write Literary Fiction

7. Your Story Isn’t Working? Here Are 6 Problems to Troubleshoot

8. 5 Ways to Use Your Character’s Shadows to Power Your Story

9. 8 Different Types of Scenes

10. 6 Lessons Learned From 4 Years of Writer’s Block

Wordplayers, tell me your opinions! What was the most memorable writing event for you in 2023? Tell me in the comments!

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