Fair warning: This post will be tinged with a sheen of failure—even though I do feel kind of hopeful right now, and I’ll explain why at the end.
How many of us made resolutions for 2012 that we didn’t keep? How many of us said we’d do things this year—write certain things, cease bad habits, start new ones?—and here we are, days from the end of the year, realizing how little we became the people we wanted to be?
I’m not alone in this, I’m sure. I always have high, lofty goals for myself and I rarely measure up to them.
So, hi. Want some honesty? Want to see into my pathetic little brain during one of its more idealistic tantrums? Well, here you go.
Readers of this blog may remember that at the end of 2011, I wrote myself seven (I like sevens) writing resolutions that I kept secret and said I would reveal at the end of 2012. And I photographed them, promising I’d open them up in a year and tell you if I met them?
If you were curious what writing resolutions I had for this past year, here they are… and their outcomes:
Resolution #1: A vow to not distract myself by the internet in the mornings…
Did I meet resolution #1? Let’s be honest here. Let’s lay it bare. I did not follow this at all. Ever. I checked my email first thing in the morning—and my Twitter, and my Facebook—and though I occasionally walked out of my way to the writing café that doesn’t have wifi on purpose, I didn’t do that as often as I should have. I failed at this. I failed. And I have to say: I think most of my problems this year stem from not meeting this personal goal. If I want 2013 to be a better year, I think I should revisit this.
Resolution #2: Finish a draft of a new novel by, like, MONDAY????
Resolution #2—are you kidding?? I am really upset and angry at myself for not meeting this. Imagine if I’d completed the draft of a new novel by the end of this year, which would technically be Monday! Maybe I’d have a new book deal by now, a new contract and chance to keep up this career, a new book coming out soon enough… I mean, yeah, it would have been all kinds of amazing if I’d been able to meet this. I didn’t. I didn’t at all. But, by the end of the year, I will have a new draft of some new proposal pages and synopsis ready for my agent to see… so that’s… well, it’s something. I need to be content with that something or else I’ll be too down on myself to even finish this post.
Resolution #3: Write short stories again!
Resolution #3—how’d I do? Well, I kind of made some progress on this, halfway, anyway. Secretly, on the side, I revised and reworked some short stories, and realized how many I think are worthy of keeping and being made new. Short stories are what I started writing—they’re the reason I fell in love with writing fiction. And I may not have met this goal this year, but I am not done with this yet. Not done.
Resolution #4: Try for something big.
Did I accomplish resolution #4? Surprisingly, I think I can say I did. I applied for some things this year. I got rejected. But the point is, I TRIED. And that’s all I can control when it comes to making a resolution: only what I can do, not how the world responds to me. So, yes, I did this, and I’m proud of myself.
(Edited to say: Now that I remember, I got a couple yeses, too!)
Resolution #5: Hahahahahahahah write every day ha.
What, is the absurdity of resolution #5 showing? I didn’t write every day. Some days I had to work. Some days I was too depressed to write. Some days I made excuses. I kind of sucked at this, what more do you want me to say?
Resolution #6: Stop comparing yourself to other writers and being so negative!
Is it humanly possible to really meet resolution #6? OK, this may shock you. But guess what? I think I have finally begun to tackle this issue in myself—this flaw of comparing myself to other writers and what they can do, what they’ve accomplished, what book deals and foreign sales and movie options and awards lists they’ve reached—really. I spent most of the year trying to get away from this squishy, icky part of myself, and here I am, sitting at the end of 2012, and I feel… okay. I’ve stopped searching out the negativity and dwelling on bad comparisons. I’m myself. I write what I write. This was the biggest war inside me during 2012, and I’ve come out of it stronger and more sure of myself. Maybe it doesn’t matter that I failed most of my other resolutions, if I made this one.
Resolution #7: Start the book I’m afraid to start.
And the last resolution of them all, lucky #7, did I reach it? Well… no. I didn’t. I know exactly what book I mean when I say the book I’m afraid to write. It’s not a YA novel. And I didn’t allow myself to embrace working on it yet. But you know what? I did embrace working on a novel that does feel BIG in a different way. It’s unapologetic. It’s all me. And I want to write it first. So lucky #7, you’ll have to wait. I’ll write you someday.
How do I not feel like a big, old failure?
Here I am, revealing to you my goals and aspirations a whole year after I set them down on paper and photographed them for future shaming purposes, admitting I failed at most of them, and yet… I don’t feel all bad about this year, either. I am ending on a good note. I am writing something I love. And we writers know how delicious that feels. I am closing out 2012 on that high feeling.
…And maybe I’ll carry over some of these resolutions into 2013.