Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year! (a few days late)

Hello all! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and a great start to 2012. Mine has gotten off to a bit of a slow start. My husband has been off work for about two weeks, and while I enjoy having him home with me, it's thrown me off my routine a bit. He went back to work today, and I'm going back to work today as well. ;)

I wrote last year about new year's resolutions and how I don't like them. I feel exactly the same now as I did then. I'm just not a big fan of resolutions, and I doubt I ever will be. Answer me honestly, how many new year's resolutions have you made that you actually kept? I've only made a few in my life, and never kept a one. I'm a firm believer that if you want to make a change in your life, you'll make a change in your life. Period. Not tomorrow, not January 1st, not at some point this year. But literally right now. Want to write a book? Start on it. Want to run a marathon? Stop wasting time reading my blog and get to training! I could go on all day, but y'all are smart people. You get the idea.

2011 was a pretty good year. Not the best, no, but definitely not the worst. I think more than anything it was a year of learning for me. I quit my job to write full time in November of 2010, but because of the holidays I wasn't able to take advantage of my stay-at-home time until January. People think that working from home is amazing, and it is! And it's also not. To be honest it can be pretty stressful. It's funny because growing up I wasn't the neatest of persons. My room was rarely clean (meaning you often couldn't even see the floor), but now that I have my own house -er- apartment, I find myself being a cleaning fanatic. For me it's hard to work when I can see all the clutter sitting around. I take a break and walk by the overflowing laundry hamper. I walk in the kitchen for a snack and see the pile of dirty dishes in the sink, the clean ones in the dishwasher. I work in my office and all I can see are piles of unorganized books on the floor. One of my goals for 2011 was to clean less, and it did last for a while. Well, like a month, maybe. Ha! I think one of my goals for when I'm Rich and Famous is to have an office space that's not in my house. Or maybe I could just rent a table at a coffee shop or something. People think that being a full time stay at home writer is so romantic, but I promise it's not all it's cracked up to be.

I also had to tell a lot of people "no" in 2011, and I don't like doing that. I'm a big doer, a helper. If you need something I'm your girl. I quickly realized that I was doing so much for other people that I wasn't able to do things for myself. For the most part it wasn't anything big that people wanted me to do: meet for coffee, go to a movie, etc. But I'm a creature of habit, I need routine, and while I love meeting friends for a quick cup of coffee, that means leaving the house and leaving my work (also putting pants on). About halfway through the year I realized this and started saying no. I even lost one friend over it, but in my opinion if you can't respect that I still work an 8-5 job, just at a different pace and place than you, then you aren't my friend in the first place. I hope I continue to say "no" in 2012.

I pushed myself harder than ever in 2011. Now that I look back on it, I pushed myself too hard. I took a lot of risks with my writing, most of which scared me. I wrote my first contemporary YA, did my first NaNoWriMo, wrote my first middle grade, wrote my first third person POV. It's good to be scared, and it's good to push yourself, but I think it's important to not lose sight of who you really are and in the process. In 2011 I wrote three books, read over 100, won NaNoWriMo, went to two lovely library conferences, organized and donated over 700 books to various charities in the Austin area, and barely had time for anything else. This year I'm taking it down a notch, I don't plan on writing any books (famous last words, right?), instead I'm going to pick one of the manuscripts I wrote last year, edit the snot out of it, and start querying agents. It's time, it's well past time for me. I don't think I was doing it purposefully, but looking back I can see how I've been putting it off.  Writing a book is hard, but not nearly as hard as editing it and sending it to people to ACTUALLY READ. It's funny, I write because I want to get published, yet I'm scared to death for people to read what I wrote. I don't have a very thick skin (hopefully that will change), so the thought of putting my work out there terrifies me, but it's what I want, right? To be published? I hope in the end all this is worth it.

2012 will be a stressful year for me. We're moving (no worries, just three miles up the road) in February, then I have to have reconstructive jaw surgery during the summer and will be MIA for about two months in order to recover. As I type this I can feel the stress starting in the pit of my stomach and roaring upwards, making my head fuzzy. I don't deal well with stress. I'm going to try to take a step back from everything when I'm feeling stressed. Take a deep breath, take a break. I'm relying on you all to keep me accountable for this.

So long story short, my only goal for this year is to EDIT EDIT EDIT then QUERY QUERY QUERY.  No, I'm not making goals like "I'm going to get an agent/get published this year!" I don't like to make goals about something I, literally, have no control over. I can't make an agent sign me, I can't make a publisher buy my book. I can, however, do all that I can to get my book out there. And I plan on doing just that.

I knew going into this journey that it wouldn't be an easy one, I just didn't expect it to be one of the hardest things I've ever done. I hope I never lose sight of how much work goes into a novel. I hope I never lose sight of how much I love doing it, no matter how hard.