Diane’s Year of Yes

Have you heard of the year of yes? It involves saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way. I decided to do that in 2015. I’m sure it paled in comparison to Shondra Rhimes’ year of yes, but we can’t all get away with murder (even if we are mystery writers). My rule for the year was that, when presented with an opportunity related to my writing, I said yes. And because of this, I did thirty-seven in person events, traveled out of state six times, and accepted an invitation to join the board of directors of Sisters in Crime, among other things.

Having a year of yes was great because it guided me. Instead of weighing the pros and cons, turning down events that were hundreds of miles away, and guarding my time like a warden guarding a prisoner, I said yes and figured it out. I met a lot of great people and was reminded that, while writing is a solitary experience, promotion doesn’t have to be. (I also spent more than my meager income anticipated, but hello tax deductions!) (#silverlining)

One of the takeaways of my year of yes was that I connected more with people when I let myself go and was honest. Instead of trying to position myself as someone who had made it, I talked about the rejections that I’d received (137 of them) before deciding to indie publish my first book three years ago. I acknowledged the frustrations that I’d felt after years of querying and not finding an agent. I shared personal stories about my own experiences that went on to inspire my characters: divorce, job dissatisfaction, fear of abandonment, emotional isolation. I didn’t ask people to criticize me but I admitted that I criticized myself. And when I started sharing the stumbling blocks in my journey along with the successes, the entire experience became more fulfilling.

I don’t know if it’s easy for any of us to tell people that we’re writers, especially when we learn to anticipate the ever-popular follow-up question:  have you written anything I know? Many of us are faced with critical family members and former romantic partners who don’t understand our need to tell stories or to tell people we’ve written those stories. We’re surrounded by people who can’t accept our willingness to make sacrifices both financial and familial in order to do what we want to do. It’s easy to develop the equivalent of deflector shields, sit at home in our offices and log words day after day, occasionally checking our Facebook feeds and Twitter streams in an effort to connect with the world. But creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum, so it’s necessary for us to get out every once in awhile.

As a Capricorn, I get the double whammy of a new year on the calendar and a new year in my astrological chart. I’m feeling very excited about 2016. It’s a chance to try new things, take new risks, forge new paths, and determine a new future, one filled with possibilities. I encourage everybody to make a change, big or small, that will help you get one step closer to your goals!

Diane Vallere | @dianevallere


Author: Diane Vallere

Diane is the author of four mystery series. Like her character Samantha Kidd, she is a former fashion buyer; like her character Madison Night, she loves Doris Day movies, like her character Polyester Monroe, she lives in California; and like her character Margo Tamblyn, she has a thing for costumes. Find out more at http://dianevallere.com/.

14 thoughts on “Diane’s Year of Yes”

  1. What a wonderful post, Diane! It sounds like a whirlwind year but fun and succesful. I’m one of the authors who benefitted from the ideas and information you shared, so thank you.


  2. I heard Jonathan Maberry (?) say a few years ago that he never says “no” to an opportunity. I think it’s the same thinking. Keeping yourself open to “let’s see where this goes” can lead to some great things. And I bet your honesty won you a lot of friends and fans out on the road.


  3. <>

    Diane, I love this SO HARD! My son once said to me, “For such an extrovert, you sure stay home a lot.” He didn’t mean for one sentence to shatter me into a million pieces. In fact, he was trying to compliment me in a weird way.

    I’ve realized I’ve needed to say YES more often, which is why I’m a newly-crowned Mysterista, but you’ve really articulated why, so thank you.

    And congrats on a year spent so adventurously!


  4. I love this post! (Does anyone know if you can bookmark a single post?)

    As a fellow Capricorn, I’m also excited about the prospects of 2016, but to be honest I get a little excited every Monday morning.

    Thank you for the inspiration.


  5. Fantastic! Love the concept of “year of the yes,” and I remember mine well. When I was asked to co-chair a Bouchercon years ago, I said “yes” immediately, to which I was told “no, you need to really think about it.” I merely blinked and responded “yes, of course yes!” I have never been sorry for a minute. “Yes” can lead to so many wonderful opportunities. Best wishes for all of yours in the new year!


  6. Peg, I get excited every Monday morning too!

    I heard that someone asked Vincent Price how he had such a long career, and his answer was that whenever anybody asked him if he’d do a project, he said yes. It’s scary, definitely when you are the type who likes to nest at home (I can go days without leaving the house), but I’ve found that getting out is energizing in so many ways there’s no replacement. Now, I have to go get ready for an event!


  7. Thanks for the inspiration, Diane. I’ve pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone a lot this year leading up to publication. Maybe it’s time I crossed those boundaries and immigrated into the zone of new possibilities!


  8. Thanks, Diane, I’m glad you hung in there for number 138. I find that there are so many things I can’t do, that if I perseverated on them I would never get any of the five things I CAN do done. I agree, that people should just have the “yes” attitude each day, and move on. There are plenty of “nos” to go around without me adding to the pile. The no will find me, but I celebrate the yes. Even after the 3 no 7 times that I have asked, eventually I will get a “yes.”


  9. Diane, this is such a wonderful post! As Ellen said, you are an inspiration. (In fact, ever since I met you, I’ve considered you to be inspiring. This is another example of why.) Sounds like you had fabulous results to saying yes!

    Keenan, I just laughed so loud that my son came running in to see what was so funny. Why WERE we crying? I remember trying to fight it, to keep it at the sniffle level, but that dang lump in my throat won. I don’t know if it was the song or the sense of community or what, but it was very moving.


  10. Keenan and Cynthia, that was my favorite part of the sing along, looking out and seeing how moved so many people were! (You know the video is up on my website, right??? secret page.)

    Mark: It helps that I don’t have cable! No TV distractions (except when I discover a new-to-me series and have to drive around to all of the local libraries to find the discs. Curse you, The Americans!)


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