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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Year, New Goals


Contrary to popular belief, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth.

(The earth doesn’t have a face. Unless...)

But I have been MIA around here. I could say it was a short blogging vacation, but the truth looks more like this:
busyness + laziness x holidays = no blogging
It’s a new year, though. I have in me at least four months of pretending I’m going to be a better version of 2015 Tracey. And that includes reviving this dusty space.

I’ve read so many great books! I’m plotting a new story! There are Things happening that I miss sharing with you in longer than 150-word blips on Twitter.

Consider that my first writer resolution for this year. Here’s the rest:

Read more outside YA.
I did a quick scan of the books I read in 2015 and realized a couple things:
  1. I barely read any adult or middle grade novels this year.
  2. I spent an obscene amount of money on books.

I’ll probably always be spending an obscene amount of money on books, but this year I plan to make more of those nonfiction, adult fiction, NA, and middle grade. There’s an especially large number of MG books on my TBR list, including The Nest by Kenneth Oppel and Jon Klassen, The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin, Nightbird by Alice Hoffman, and Lindsay Eagar’s forthcoming Hour of the Bees

Go easier on myself.
If I left my CPs the same sort of comments I leave myself while writing, I wouldn’t have any friends. I’m not entirely sure why I think it’s okay to tell myself “Worst sentence in the history of the written language” or “THIS BOOK IS A PIECE OF TRASH” when I’d never even think that of a friend’s manuscript, but there you have it. I am a Mean Girl to myself.

I’ll be honest: I had a really difficult time with this in 2015. I was writing a book that I has such a grand vision for—this type of prose and that type of character development. It needed to feel a certain way. And mid-draft, it didn’t. I just about convinced myself the story would never end up on paper how I saw it in my mind—and I wasn’t too nice about it.

But then something happened: I finished it. I revised it. More than once. And it’s now my favorite of all the books I’ve written. I should have trusted myself to get there—maybe not in draft one, but eventually.

This year, I want to be kinder to myself. I’m gearing up to write something new, and my goal is to remember that I felt this way before. That’ll help me be nicer to me when something’s not perfect. It can get there, eventually.

Stop comparing.
Is it possible to be a writer and not compare yourself to others? To not compare your book to others? If you can do it, you’re required by law to share your secret with me.

I easily let the fear of not being good enough get to me. And it’s hard to write what with all that “will I ever get there?” stuff going on my head. My goal is to forget don’t have a book deal. To forget that my first draft isn’t as good as the amazing published novel I just read.

I read a quote somewhere by someone (if you know, hit up the comments) that said something like, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s end.” Your draft isn’t going to be as good as a published novel.

(If it is, I might hate you a small bit.)

This year, I don’t want to spend time worrying about whether I can tell the story how it needs to be told or whether my prose is perfect enough or if I’ll even sell the book. I’m writing for the love of writing and hoping everything follows from there.

What are your 2016 goals?

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