|BY JUSTINA BLAKENEY|
I have a love-hate relationship with the New Year. I love that it’s the equivalent of one big Mr. Clean Magic Eraser—Oh, ate like crap, didn’t finish the side projects you intended, and spend too much time doing absolutely nothing? Swipe, swipe. All clear!—but hate that almost always possibility gives way to failure.
Have you ever met someone who actually met a New Year’s resolution? Like, “Oh this new body? Yeah, I resolved to become a supermodel this year and ate only celery sticks and air between January 1 and today.” No, it’s more like, “Oh this old thing? Powered by two liters of Coke, Monday’s chicken wings, and regret.” Of course, maybe it’s that feeling of the inevitable that always makes me fail.
Or maybe it’s my goal-setting. I hadn’t really thought about this until I read Katy Upperman’s post about her 2014 goals. She talks about the right kind of goals to set, and while she says it much more eloquently the bottom line was this: Set goals you can control. So “get published” is a terrible goal while “revise my WIP” and “query agents” are not. It was like a light bulb burst in my head. Or maybe that was the start of a migraine, but still.
With that in mind, I’m setting the following (hopefully) realistic goals:
1. Revise my Mystery WIP. I wrote this story over the summer, revised during the fall, and sent it out to readers in the winter. My goal is to have this fully revised and polished in the first quarter of 2014, which makes me sound a bit like a corporate employee.
2. Query agents with the Mystery WIP. I stopped querying my other novel because as soon as I started writing this one I decided this was so much stronger. I’m still not sure whether that was a brilliant decision or a colossal mistake, but I do know that even the unpolished version of Mystery WIP is better than my last book, so that has to count for something.
3. Outline another book I’ve been brainstorming. I christen it Dream WIP. And I fully admit I might be an outliner now. Maybe. Possibly.
4. Write Dream WIP. I’ve had this idea and these characters in my mind for years, but could never make the plot comply. Hint No. 1 that you’re doing it wrong: You’re trying to make the plot “comply.” So I ditched the plot I’d been tossing around in my mind and thought up something new, something I love. And I plan to write it while I’m querying Mystery WIP.
5. Finish book series I love. I am a terrible, terrible finisher. In fact, I think I’m so bad at this it deserves its own blog post. How’s that for finishing my thought?
6. Set one day a week to respond to emails. I am also a terrible, terrible email responder. I know this and yet I remain impossibly slow. It’s about time I remedy that.
I’ve seen a lot of people talking about their word of the year—the word they plan to live by in 2014. My type A personality wants to set my word as perfection but that’s dumb and impossible, so I’m overriding my instincts and setting my word of the year as…
I need it as an aspiring author. As someone with a rare and painful disease. As a wife of a guy who’s been bitten by the home-decorating bug and wants all of our furniture to have sports team logos and our blankets the faces of Star Wars characters.
What are your 2014 goals?