New Year’s Resolutions are soooo cliché.
But I make them anyway. There’s nothing wrong with goal-setting, and really, that’s what resolutions are. Setting goals. Striving to achieve whatever it is that seems important at the beginning of a new year. Reflecting on the past and making decisions about what needs changing and what can stay the same. It’s about defining – or redefining – your hopes and dreams.
It’s disturbs me when I ask people what it is they really want – like if they had all the money in the world and didn’t need to work, what would they like to spend the rest of their lives doing? – and the answer is some form of “I don’t know.”
You don’t know? You don’t know? You haven’t thought it? You don’t have dreams?
I’m not a big fan of wandering aimlessly through life, and letting whatever’s going to happen, happen. That suggests – in a way that’s much too uncomfortable for me to consider – that fate plays a big role in where we end up. But I’m also not a fan of controlling every little detail, with the belief that if we start at A and tunnel our way methodically through the alphabet, we’ll end up at Z, on time and as planned.
The answer’s got to be somewhere in the middle. A harmonious blend of working towards that something (whatever that is for each of us) while accepting the twists and turns that come our way.
Much like writing a novel. While there’s nothing wrong with outlining and working towards that ending I’ve envisioned, I like staying open to the unexpected.
That’s why I like making resolutions. They give me a track to try and stick to, but they in no way prevent me from meandering off that path if the opportunity presents itself.
Before I get to my resolutions for 2010, here’s a brief summary of the highlights of my 2009:
I finished Creep (6 drafts) and started querying for the very first time.
Stats to date: 40 queries sent, 19 rejections, 3 requests, and 2 of those submissions still outstanding.
I’m a third of the way through the first draft of my next novel.
I attended my first writer’s conference in New York City and met a bunch of my favorite authors.
I read 32 new books and reread 2 old favorites.
I joined two writer’s groups and took one writing workshop.
I made a whole bunch of writing friends.
I started a blog. And posted 106 entries in 2009 (not bad, considering I started blogging in April).
All in all, a really productive year in my writing life. I’m pretty damned happy with everything I accomplished. I worked hard, and I feel good about that.
And for 2010, this is what I plan to accomplish, cliché or not:
I will finish querying Creep. By the end of the year, I’ll know whether the book is publication worthy. And if it’s not, it won’t be because I didn’t query the hell out of it.
I will finish writing Magnolia, including all drafts and edits, and have it ready for querying in 2011 (hopefully sooner).
I will keep regular writing hours and try to minimize those marathon sessions that burn me out for days afterward.
I will carve out time every day for reading. By the end of this year, I hope to have read 52 books (including rereads of old favorites.)
As for this blog… no resolutions for that. Sadly, it’s at the bottom of the priority list, though I do expect to post a few times a week, on average.
And most important resolution for 2010… drumroll, please…
I will remember that no matter how many rejections I get, I love to write. All the publishing success in the world would mean shit if I hated to write. Writing makes me happy, and while it’s good to aim for publication, I need to remember to enjoy the process and make the most of each day. I did a better job of this in 2009 than I did in 2008, but I’m promising myself here – in writing! – that 2010 will be an amazing year. For me and for everyone around me.
Happy New Year!