Ah, the New Years tradition.
There are a few of them, but the one I’m speaking of has to do with reflecting and resolving. I don’t much like resolutions. If you’re like me, they’re like that shirt that looks good when you try it on, but once you get them home, they end up in a wrinkly pile at the bottom of your wardrobe for the rest of the year. So this time around the sun, I’m going to take a different route.
2011 has seen a lot of change in my life. I fulfilled one goal by staying in one place job-wise for a year, which has brought some stability to my finances for the first time in a while. That’s good for another reason — I don’t intend to sling beers for the rest of my life, so at times it’s great motivation for my writing.
Almost a year ago, I got engaged, and in October this year, I got married. I lost three people I loved this year. Finished the second draft of my first novel, finished the second novel, and took a large, juicy bite out of the third. I didn’t get a tan, but then I never do. My husband and I moved into an apartment a couple months before the wedding. We have neighbors who love to play thumpy bassline music of an undefined genre and who get really, really mad if you ask them to turn it down.
I read a lot of books. Ate probably too much cake. Got in shape and back out again. Looked great in my bright blue wedding dress (somewhere in the middle of the aforementioned process). My hair has gotten quite long.
All in all, this year has been a year of progress. So when I look ahead at 2012, I don’t really have resolutions in the sense of a numerical list of shirts to line my wardrobe’s floor. But I do have some goals.
They’re concrete. They’re measurable. And I plan to let ’em rip.
I have two completed novels and another in the oven. The first one is starting to resemble a final draft. I’ve trimmed a lot of fat (and crappy writing). I’ve shunned the word “was” whenever possible, as well as words that end in that insidious -ly. I’ve changed a few names and injected some more conflict. In short, it’s looking like a book, gentle viewers. Maybe even a good one. The first big goal is to have my final draft ready and waiting by January 20 when I board a bus to New York City for my conference.
That segues into the second big goal: find an Agent-Snark to be my new BFF. I think if I do my job well enough (which is to make my book shine and my pitch honed), I have a chance of making that happen in a few weeks at the conference. But you see, gentle viewers, right now all I really have to go on in terms of how shiny the book is floats around in my own rather biased and green noggin. When it sees the light of day, I guess I’ll find out if it shines or if it’s dull as a moldering cannon ball in a bog.
The third big goal is to not only write more and write consistently, but to write better. To blog better for your entertainment as well as write better books with each time I mentally scribble “The End” with a flourish. (I don’t do it in practice — only in my head.) I want to work on my style. I am not even really sure what that means, but I want to.
How’s that for honesty?
On a personal level, I am hatching a plot to seduce my husband into the cult of Scotland-lovers when we travel there for his birthday in September. I’m hoping the sweeping moors bedecked in purple splendor will woo him — hard to resist the changing heather. We’re heading over for two weeks, which I intend to use to make him fall in love all over again. To do so, I have an arsenal of his favorite things: golf, Scotch, and weather that never hits 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
I will succeed.
So as 2011 winds to a close, and I have a lot to occupy myself for the next 12 months. Some lofty goals, to be sure, but they’re in reach, I believe.
If not, maybe the apocalypse will spare me the embarrassment of failing.