Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Year, New Opportunities, New Resolutions

So we are a week into 2015. Have you already snuck a donut even though you resolved to never ever ever eat another?

No problem. If you fall off the horse get back on tomorrow. For writers we dream big but I want everyone to remember to set goals that you have actual control over.

I'll finish my novel.
If you buckle down and make time and stay away from rabbit holes on the internet, you can finish that book you've always wanted to write.  Make time! Write on your lunch breaks, while you are waiting for the water to boil for dinner, while you are waiting to pick up the little ones from practice. You may need to wake up early, or turn off the tv at night, but it can be done.

 I'll get an agent.
You can research agents. You can polish your work until it is so shiny you can see your reflection. You can attend classes and conferences and truly hone your craft. But landing an agent isn't 100% in your hands. Agents are people with their own opinions, schedules, lives, clients, goals, grocery lists, bad hair days, etc. Not everyone will fall in love with your work and you shouldn't want just any agent.  Find the agent who would be best for your career.

I'll write 12 picture books in a year.
This is a great goal (You can get help by signing up for 12x12 and PiBoIdMo). Make a realistic goal and stick to it.

I'll write 12 novels in a year and publish them all.
Make a realistic goal... This is possible but would it be your best work? Would you have a life? Would you pull out all your hair and never see anyone but your pet rock? Writers are allowed to have lives...I'm pretty sure about that.

I'll go to a conference and then get an agent.
Go to a conference. Learn, laugh, read, make connections.  Remember that landing an agent isn't the finish line.  Selling a bagillion books to make readers happy should be the finish line.  An agent may not even be what you need.  Do research and see what will be best for your career.

Remember that no one is perfect. You will sneak a donut when you know you have to fit into that bridesmaid's dress next month. You'll fall asleep after picking up the kids from baseball when you meant to spend one hour writing. You'll write something you think is crap, then you'll love it, then you'll think it is crap again.  Don't beat yourself up.  Maybe things aren't happening right now but with hard work, research, and actual writing, it will happen. Maybe not even in the ways you originally planned. You may find you hate writing novels but love writing greeting cards. Who knows?

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