Monday, December 31st, 2012 • No Comments on 2013: Into the Unknown
For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice. ~ T.S. Eliot
With only eight hours left in 2012, I find myself contemplating new projects and goals, considering resolutions, making plans (at least in my head) and generally getting ready to say goodbye to this year and greet 2013 with enthusiasm and excitement for what is yet to come.
The past few years have been a whirlwind of pregnancy, babies and deadlines. At this time last year, I had a two-year-old and a four-month-old, a couple of book deadlines and I was so, so tired. The previous year, I had a one year old, was a few weeks pregnant with the new baby, had a book deadline and I was so, so tired. The previous year, I had a newborn, a book deadline, a deployed husband and I was so, so tired. This year, I have a three-year-old, a sixteen-month-old, no impending book deadline for six months and I'm not nearly so tired.
I have copyedits and proofreading and promotion to do for several anthologies over the next several months, but I find myself in the unusual position for the first time in a few years of having a) real writing time and b) the energy to write. This is a precious and rare combination and I dare not waste it. By my estimates, I have about four months to spend the majority of my twenty-ish babysitting hours a week writing whatever I want to write.
Whatever I want to write.
I feel drunk just writing that sentence. And, also, panicked. Because I do not do well with those kind of open parameters. I need structure, I need deadlines (even self-imposed deadlines work better for me than no deadlines at all), I need projects. And so I'm still hammering out some thoughts for the next few months– thinking I might spend some time writing things I've had on the backburner so long I've forgotten about them– or perhaps working on some new ideas. My short list right now looks like this:
—Nonfiction essays for some of my favorite websites and magazines. I was told this year that I have a “lovely, gently encouraging” narrative voice and I want to explore that in new ways.
—Write and submit to more anthologies this year. I've been so busy writing for my own books (a good thing!) that I've had fewer bylines in other anthologies.
—Write a book. A real novel. I was very excited to have my first full-length book published this year (well, the first book since my romantic suspense in 1999), but I long to write another novel– or maybe more to the point, have it published. So this year, at least in these early months of the year when I have time and energy that I might not have as I roll into summer deadlines, I'll be working on an idea.
—More stuff, new stuff. Yeah, I don't know what this means either. Just that I've been in a familiar, happy rut for a few years now– a rut where most of what I write is already contracted and rejection doesn't happen nearly as often as it should if I'm working at being a better writer. So I guess the goal is to get rejected more in 2013, in the hopes that I'll be a better writer for it. I'll keep you posted.
I'm still working on resolutions, but I know it will be a year of looking inward, focusing on my strengths, spending my time on the things that matter most to me, saying no to things that neither benefit or interest me and paring down the clutter– both mental and tangible. Focus and balance. Good goals, yes?
And what are your goals for the new year? Whatever they are, may you have a year that brings you everything you wish for– and a few happy surprises that maybe you weren't even anticipating.
Happy 2013! Here we go…