Lessons We Learned in 2012

You live, you learn, you move on as an older and wiser person! Now that we’ve officially survived into the new year, we’d like to take a look back at 2012. For many of us, last year was all about discovering new ways to balance our lives, making sure we don’t drown ourselves in the daily mad dash of life, and preserving our joy for what we do. Here at PubCrawl, we’ve learned the following:

Kat Zhang

“Let go. Move on.” This applies to writing and to life in general. You can’t change what’s done and past. Stressing about it just takes energy away from working on the next thing—whether that be a book or something else!

Jodi Meadows

Jodi Meadows Among the MANY lessons I’ve learned this year, letting go of things I can’t change might be one of the most important. I’ve learned I have the power to stress out like no one’s business, and the only thing that accomplishes is giving myself eye-twitches and sleeping problems. So I’m learning to not worry about what I can’t change and focus more on what I can affect: my own writing.

Erin Bowman

Mine’s a lesson we’ve all heard a million times but I truly learned its importance this year: Write the book YOU want to write, tell the story YOU want to tell. Even if it goes nowhere, all the blood, sweat, tears, revisions, struggles, and dark nights of the soul will still be worth it. Write the story you set out to write, you will never regret it. (The same is not always true if you write merely to please others.)

Sarah J. Maas

Sarah_thumbnail My biggest lesson was learning to accept that it’s 100% okay for me to take time to recharge my creative/emotional/physical batteries. Whether that means holing up in my bedroom to binge-read for days on end, baking 1,000 batches of cookies, marathoning KDramas, or just turning off my phone/computer to drown out any extra noise/distraction, I’ve come to realize that the times when I’m NOT writing/working are an equally important part of my creative process.

Because I’m a full-time writer, NOT working on something & actively writing used to give me a good amount of anxiety and guilt—as if I’d somehow get fired by the Writing Gods or lose my ability to write or just be branded a Slacker. But I learned this year that I don’t need to apologize for my creative process—and if I need to take a few hours or days or weeks off, then the only person I answer to is MYSELF. It was so liberating to realize that—and in the months since I’ve truly internalized it, my creativity & passion for writing has really skyrocketed. 🙂

Susan Dennard

Susan Dennard The most important lesson I learned in 2012 was that I have to nurture my “muse”. That means I can’t constantly be online, I can’t constantly stress about sales or promotion or events, and I can’t worry about what’s coming next. It’s so easy to fall into those traps, but whenever I do, my writing suffers—it comes out uninspired and rushed. Plus, the process isn’t enjoyable. But when I can let go of the outside world (i.e. turn off the internet!) and find the love of writing I had before I ever knew about the business, publishing side of it all, it turns out I can write with the same abandon I used to have as a kid. It’s wonderful!!

S. Jae-Jones (JJ)

JJ I think my most important 2012 lesson is the need for balance. I was so focused on work and so busy that I let my health and other activities I enjoy go! (Like writing. And art. And playing piano.) Focusing on work is good for my career, but focusing on me is good for my soul. 🙂

Amie Kaufman

amie165c-twitter I learned about balance this year. I learned the importance of going outside to walk the dog, having dinner with my husband, watching a little TV. After feeling completely slammed in the first part of the year, I re-learned the importance of reading for pleasure, and I’m much calmer and more productive for all of this!

Marie Lu

Marie Square I’ve learned to trust my sixth sense. When I was writing Legend 3 last year, I started to recognize the same points of doubt and fear that hit me back when I was drafting Prodigy (Legend #2). I’d thought that these fears were exclusive to writing book 2. Now I know that they won’t go away–that every time I hit the halfway mark in a manuscript, I’ll feel the overwhelming fear that it isn’t good, it’ll never be good, and my readers will hate the choices I’ve made. But sometimes the choices that I think readers will hate are actually the plot points that they’ll love the best. If my gut tells me the story needs it, then it’s going in. That’s how I’ll approach my writing in 2013! And perhaps even more importantly, I’ve learned that I need to get out of the house. Sometimes I’ll get so lost working in my office that I forget about life. Friends old and new, hanging out, experiencing things, relaxing. Sometimes you have to replenish the well!

What about you guys, PubCrawl readers? What were the biggest lessons you learned in 2012? Also, we are giving away a hardcover copy of PROPHECY by Ellen Oh! Enter with the Rafflecopter form below:

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40 Responses to Lessons We Learned in 2012

  1. Natalie Aguirre Jan 8 2013 at 6:56 am #

    Thanks for the great tips on not stressing and balancing life. As I’m contemplating changes for 2013, I find them really timely.

  2. Tiffany Jan 8 2013 at 7:10 am #

    Some of my awaited books for 2013: finished copies of Unravel Me, Prodigy, and Requiem. Also looking forward to A Darkness Strange and Lovely, The Retribution of Mara Dyer, and Apollyon

  3. stephanie garber Jan 8 2013 at 8:27 am #

    This post was so encouraging! I think I’ve learned a lot of the lessons you all mentioned, but then I keep forgetting them. The big lesson I learned this past year is: Stay in the present. I have this bad habit of worrying about what other people will think of my writing, rather than doing (what Erin wrote about) and writing the book I want to write!

    And thanks for the giveaway! I can’t believe how many books you’re all giving away this week. So fun!

  4. Cordelia Fitzgerald Jan 8 2013 at 9:51 am #

    I was really looking forward to Tiger’s Destiny and Diety!

  5. Meredith Anderson Jan 8 2013 at 10:16 am #

    I’m in the same boat as Kat and Jodi. I learned to let things go when they need to be let go. There’s no use dwelling on what’s past and something you can’t change. It definitely applied to writing and life. I actually made a bunch of inspirational signs for over my desk to keep my motivated. One of the first ones was a sign saying let it go with a balloon on it. Another was another really important thing I’m still trying to make stick. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I get this awful writer jealousy all the time when I read a good book. I think I’ll never write anything as good as that and then I fall into this funk and I don’t write well. But I have to remember that I’m writing my story and my characters and that I shouldn’t compare myself to others. Because it only stops me from trying and I don’t want to do that!

    Thanks for sharing your lessons, ladies. 🙂


  6. Michelle Roberts Jan 8 2013 at 10:41 am #

    I love this. Bookmarking it now so I can go back and review it when I’m feeling down. Soo many of you guys’ books are on my tbr list, it’s ridiculous. Here’s hoping I can get to most of them this year.

  7. Claire M. Caterer Jan 8 2013 at 10:53 am #

    I’m not sure if I’ve learned the “find balance” lesson yet, but certainly 2012 did its best to teach that lesson to me. That and the “turn off the Internet” lesson. Revere Quiet: I should embroider that on a pillow and sleep on it every night. As Erin said, I must write the story I feel compelled to write, and I must realize that my writing journey is unique, whether that means what I write or how I promote or how much time I spend on Facebook.

  8. Claire M. Caterer Jan 8 2013 at 10:58 am #

    And oh, yeah, anticipated books: Looking forward to PROPHECY by Ellen Oh; DUALED by Elsie Chapman; IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS by Cat Winters; GENIE WISHES by Elisabeth Dahl; SUNNY SWEET IS SO NOT SORRY by Jennifer Ann Mann … oh hell, just go look at my Pinterest boards. There are a ton!

  9. Lea Jan 8 2013 at 11:06 am #

    Thank you for sharing your lessons!
    My word for 2013 is BALANCE – I’ll be coming back to that lesson for sure.

  10. Vivien Jan 8 2013 at 11:12 am #

    I cannot wait for Shades of Earth and Scarlet, also Splintered looks fabulous 🙂

  11. Megan Duff Jan 8 2013 at 11:22 am #

    The lesson I learned is DON’T STRESS. If you can’t do something about it right now, then you shouldn’t be worrying about it. Trust yourself to handle things, especially your future self.

  12. Carl Jan 8 2013 at 11:34 am #

    I was really looking forward to Unravel Me and The Retribution of Mara Dyer. Thanks for the great giveaway, Happy 2013!!

  13. Alexa Y. Jan 8 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    You guys always write the best posts. Seriously. And I liked this one, because it’s so interesting to see what each of you learned in the past year! I think, personally, I learned that pushing past the fear of writing something that’s not good is necessary for me, and constantly. It used to inhibit my writing, and make me stop in the middle of a story because I’d get too frustrated with myself! But I broke that barrier for the first time in a while during NaNo, and I’ve been starting to write steadily ever since then 🙂

  14. Natasha Jan 8 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    Love seeing the variety of answers. It is such a great thing to sit down and realize how much you’ve grown or what you can do better. Thanks for sharing them!

    I’m really looking forward to Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, as well as Seige and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. I really loved Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza that comes out in March.

  15. Danielle Nguyen Jan 8 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma and The Archived by Victoria Schwab are a couple of my most anticipated 2013 reads.

  16. Ashley Jan 8 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    Thank you for this. This is important to remember. I’m currently looking forward to The Archived.

  17. Stephanie Diaz Jan 8 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    Such excellent advice! I agree that balance is so important, and it’s totally okay to take time for yourself, away from writing.

    My most anticipated books for this year are SHADES OF EARTH, PRODIGY, and REBOOT.

  18. Krispy Jan 8 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    All such good lessons! I think I forgot about balance a little in the latter half of 2012, and I need to remember it more.

    Looking forward to reading ALL THE SEQUELS in 2013 and also, of course, a bunch of debuts – like Prophecy, Taken, The Nightmare Affair, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, and so many more I can’t think of right now!

  19. Erin Bowman Jan 8 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    I find this post incredibly inspiring. Thank you, Marie, for rounding all these responses up, and thank you, fellow PCers, for sharing your brilliance and insight.

  20. EM Castellan Jan 8 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    This is a very interesting and inspiring post. Thanks for sharing and for being so honest ladies!

  21. Alex Ray Jan 8 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    Let’s see. My most anticipated books are A Darkness Strange and Lovely and Crown of Midnight (hope that’s the official title because it’s AWESOME).

    Great post!

  22. Jalyn Ely Jan 8 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    Biggest lesson I learned in 2012…well, there were a lot. But I think the biggest one was that if it doesn’t work for me, don’t do it – even if it works for other successful writers.

  23. Katlin Collins Jan 8 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    I’m going to take all your wonderful advice to try and stop me from over-thinking too much.

  24. JQ Trotter Jan 8 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    Let go and move on, like mentioned by Kat and Jodi is a big one for me this year. I started the query process, and worried, worried, worried once I hit the “send” button when it was already out of my control. It’s much better to relax and just hope for the best than anxiously check my e-mail. Also, this is going to sound lame, but happiness is a choice. If I decide to be happy, even if everything hasn’t turned out like I hope, then I will be. I won’t lament about all that hasn’t happened yet, I’ll just look forward to the day that it all will.

  25. FloeticFlo Jan 8 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    2012…I learned to fully embrace life! Suck the marrow out of it.
    My most anticipated books were all mid-year releases — Insurgent, Until I Die, Dreamless.

  26. Kaniesha Jan 8 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    For Fall 2012.. I was definitely looking forward to Nevermore by James Patterson, The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan, Elemental by Antony John and Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor. I’ve read the latter three, but I haven’t gotten hold of Nevermore yet!

    Of course for new books in 2013 – I’m looking forward to a ton! Mind Games, Prophecy, Rise, Of Triton, Splintered, Crown of Midnight, Boundless, Hunting, House of Hades, The Runaway King, Inferno, The Rising, Siege and Storm… so many!

    On another note, what you guys/the authors said is so true! I’ve learned some of it on my own though I do have an issue with keeping to it. By the end of 2012 I learned that letting go, finding balance and focusing on/taking care of myself instead of others is really important.

  27. Janita Jan 8 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    This post is so inspirational! It’s great to know how authors are feeling engaged in the creative process. They all seem so down to earth and awesome! Can’t wait until Prodigy!

  28. Jesselle Jan 9 2013 at 7:26 am #

    My most anticipated books were Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone and Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill. Thanks for this awesome giveaway! 🙂

  29. Caitlyn Jan 10 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    I think my most anticipated novel of fall 2012 was Venom by Fiona Paul. I think. I’m not sure, because I can’t remember…

  30. SP @ oh! paper pages Jan 10 2013 at 10:07 pm #

    The books that I was looking forward to reading in 2012 were Throne of Glass and I Hunt Killers. Both are incredible and the sequels are on the top of my 2013 list.

    In 2012, I learned that I cannot do everything and that I must prioritize my activities. As much as it pains me to give up a few of my hobbies, I have learned that my anxiety was increasing as a result of limiting my time and assuming too many responsibilities. In 2013, I have made a list of what is most important to me this year and what I want to accomplish. Sticking to the list allows me to determine whether I am pursuing the goals and engaging in the activities that mean the most to me.

  31. Jasmine Stairs Jan 11 2013 at 7:44 am #

    My most anticipated Fall 2012 books were certainly Unspoken, by Sarah Rees Brennan, Crown of Embers, by Rae Carson, Mark of Athena, by Rick Riordan, Velveteen Vs. The Super Junior Patriots, by Seanan McGuire, Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, by Lois McMaster Bujold, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, by Catherynne Valente, and Destroy Me, by Tahareh Mafi.


  32. Lori M. Lee Jan 11 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    Girl of Nightmares was one of my most anticipated Fall 2012 releases. Also, Days of Blood and Starlight!

  33. Sarah S Jan 11 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    In 2012, I was really anticipating CROWN OF EMBERS by Rae Carson, as well as all of the books by you Pub Crawlers. 🙂

  34. Kate Jan 12 2013 at 10:16 am #

    I read Crewel and I loved it!! I was really looking forward to Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan for sure. 🙂

  35. alicia marie Jan 12 2013 at 11:35 am #

    In the fall, I was most looking forward to Carnival of Souls, The Raven Boys or Fathomless and now I can’t wait for Gates of Paradise!!

  36. Kirsten W Jan 13 2013 at 1:01 am #

    I’m really excited for Splintered, Scarlet, and Teeth 🙂

  37. Sarah Jan 13 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    My most anticipated Fall 2012 read was Valkyrie Rising!

  38. Emily Jan 13 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    I was excited for so many books, but the ones that come to mind are Ten by Gretchen McNeil, Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan and The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke. Fall 2012 was a good season for books! 😀

  39. Llehn Jan 14 2013 at 3:02 am #

    what’s left of me

  40. Helen Jan 3 2014 at 6:05 pm #

    I loved the point about taking time out to re-charge. I’m in a similar boat as you, Sarah J. Maas. I work for the online lit mag Writer’s Edit almost full-time, as well as trying to find time to edit my debut novel… I find that when I’m not doing either of these things, I feel very guilty. It’s horrible! I feel like I’m doing something wrong if I sit down to watch a movie, even read a book sometimes (even though arguably, that’s work too).

    It’s nice to know I’m not the only one, and that taking some ‘me’ time, is okay!


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