Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Writing Wednesdays: New Year's Resolutions, of the Writing Kind

Every year I have a few recurring New Year's Resolutions: worry less, live in the moment, be a better wife and mother, run more, etc. See last year's post for the whole list. And every year, I think I get a little bit better about all of those things.

But every year, I also have my separate list of Writing Resolutions, and those ones seem to be a little harder to stick to. For example, it's been a goal for about five years now to get a literary agent. Obviously that's not as easy to do as running twenty miles a week. I can write the best book I'm able to write, and an awesome query letter and synposis, and still not guarantee that I'm going to get an agent. Running, on the one hand, requires putting one foot in front of the other. Whether I succeed or fail depends on nothing but my own dedication. But publishing? That requires about a dozen moving parts, ten or so of which are completely out of my control.

One of my goals last year was to finish a book I started in 2003, the first book I ever attempted to write. I did work on it for a while, but I found myself stymied fairly quickly, and after that I floundered around aimlessly, sending out a few last queries on The Book Collector, then revising an old book and querying that without success. But I finally realized that just like with running, what I really needed to do was move forward - to put one foot in front of the other and refuse to look back at all the failure and rejection. The wise words of one editor and the idea for an undead girl named Friday helped me to stop obsessing over the past and get excited about the possibility of future success.

As much as I love writing lists and crossing things off, as awesome as it feels to set goals and meet them, there are some things in life that simply refuse to stick to the timelines we set for ourselves. John always tells me that you don't have to make resolutions on January 1st; there are 364 other perfectly good days in the year to decide to change your life. And guess what? 2012 is a Leap Year, so we all have one extra day to make something positive happen.

What are your Writing Resolutions for 2012? Please share in the comments!


Jenny S. Morris said...

My hubby and I always create a list at the end of the year that we want to accomplish as a family. I just looked at the writing portion of mine and I accomplished 4 out of 5 for 2011. I figure that's pretty good. We will sit down and do our list this weekend. I know mine will be to finish with all my revisions and start querying for the most part.

Oh, and a non-writer goal. Start running AGAIN. LOL.

J. A. Bennett said...

I have quite a few, but I posting about that on Friday so I don't want to give them away. But i have that same agent one that doesn't seem to be happening either. the only thing I can do is write and edit!

LNRB said...

M! See this post I just read about goal setting. It might not be very helpful for your writing (since it seems like the process if mile-marker centric) but it's been helping me to let go a little bit. (you have to scroll down quite a bit)

Mara Rae said...

Jenny - I love the idea of family resolutions! John and I should definitely do that for 2012 - just as soon as we know what country we'll be living in and when we'll be moving! And congrats on completing 4 or 5 writing goals!

J.A. - I'll look forward to hearing more on Friday!

Lauren - I know you're going to meet your running goal! You've got this (even if you're trying to let go of goals)!

Mara Rae said...

I mean four OF five, Jenny!

Peggy Eddleman said...

It's hard to make those goals that have so much to do with other people and things you can't control! That's why it's so good to focus on the ones you can.

And that one extra day is totally going to make all the difference for me! :D

I haven't come up with my goals/resolutions yet. I'm totally on board with the 364 other days thing, but for some odd reason, I'm really feeling compelled to get mine pinned down this year.