Thank you for walking down memory lane with me in my last post. This one will be about the R word. You know the one...resolutions. It’s a scary word, isn’t it? This is how I approach resolutions.
Resolutions = reflection, goal-setting, (sometimes) failure, perseverance. Not so bad, right?
Okay, then. Let’s look at these one at a time, shall we?
This means stopping. Putting down the laundry basket, pushing the bills aside (temporarily), shutting off the TV, yes, even closing that book, whatever my distraction is at the moment and just spending time with my thoughts. Maybe by taking a walk or a drive. Maybe by sitting in a comfortable armchair with my eyes closed. Asking myself questions, thinking about where I've been and where I’d like to be.
After reflecting, I'm in the frame of mind to set goals. They can be big or small, but they most certainly will be life changing. I firmly believe that no goal is too small if it makes me a better person.
The spark turns to an idea, a paragraph, a chapter – if we’re lucky – a novel. Sometimes it sucks and we start over. Sometimes we adore it and think others will too. Sometimes we’re asked for a partial or even a full. We may even be offered representation and go on submission. And sometimes it all ends with rejection.
But failure, my friends, is what either breaks us or makes us stronger. It forces us to either throw in the towel or to realize that our desire is greater than rock bottom. Sometimes it takes some recovery time to get up again – weeks, months, maybe longer - but that’s okay. I don’t fear failure (yet) or I never would try pursuing publication. I accept that a big part of this process is failing and trying again.
Yesterday I watched the rerun of Oprah’s interview with J.K. Rowling and Jo said, “Failure is the foundation on which I rebuilt my life (not exact words). Using failure often leads to the greatest success.” She said that it was when she hit rock bottom (having nothing left lose) that she could build her foundation from there. If you haven’t seen this interview yet, I’d encourage you to check it out on Youtube. It’s excellent.
When the going gets tough, the tough...eat more chocolate, cry, throw pens, mutter obscenities under their breath, wallow, cry some more, fill in the ( ___). Yes we do these things, but eventually we come back to the computer or notebook. Maybe it's another spark for a new idea or we read an encouraging blog post or suddenly we figure out how to fix a plot jam. Writing is a part of us that we can’t just forget or put aside.
Last year two of my resolutions were to finish Nitpicky and to start a blog. I was successful at one of those. I failed to finish that first draft but 2011 is a new year.
So here are my resolutions for 2011:
1. joining SCBWI (I’m a little behind on that, I know)
2. blogging regularly and hopefully w/ shorter posts; I do tend to ramble
3. finishing the first draft of Nitpicky
4. revising *gulp*
5. looking for critique partners and if everything falls into place, querying