I was looking for a quote on resolutions to kick off this post, but I got distracted by re-reading and snickering over my favorite 'demotivating' posters at the ever-fabulous Despair, Inc. Here I am again, and now I can't take any of the absolutely lovely sayings of Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, and the like seriously any more today. Go visit Despair, and you'll see what I mean.
Though I love a good bit of snark, I'm not a cynic, especially not when it comes to goals and dreams. I have a couple of resolutions that I'm keeping to myself for the moment, but I have some writing plans that I wanted to share. Here are a few of my goals for 2009:
1) Read 100 books.
I usually read close to 80 (and I do keep lists), but last year's unique circumstances only allowed me to get through about 40. Life's too short for numbers that low; assuming I live another 50 years, if I only average 40 books per year for the rest of my life, I will have only read another 2,000 books.
Depressing: I'm sure I could go on Amazon and find close to that 2,000 that look appealing right this very minute, and that doesn't take into account all of the treasures to be published in years to come. I like the number 5,000 much, much better. We'll see how it goes.
I believe very strongly that a writer must read as much as possible. The more you read, the better you'll write. Patrick, when reading this, will want to interject something here. Be patient, honey; "wait for it" (sorry--inside joke).
2) Sell a novel. I really don't mind which one.
On this very day one year ago, I mailed out ten query packages to agents and publishing houses. Over the next several months, I received eight rejections and had two non-responses; I still expect to hear from one of those, since the slush pile at that house is roughly 12 months deep, but the other I have written off completely. Flaky agent.
Then Anne came along, and I decided to concentrate on short stories for a while. I have enjoyed developing a new side of my talent; more on that farther down the post. But now I feel ready to get my books out to people again. The fact that David Farland/Wolverton has accepted me into his novel-writing workshop--to be held this April--has refueled my long-form-writing fires. I can't wait to go!
3) Have 5 short stories published.
I've already submitted two to new venues in the past couple of days. Both have been rejected elsewhere, but I have confidence in them and am sure that both will eventually find homes. More of their siblings will follow suit. I'm using Patrick's parking philosophy as I market them.
When I park my car, I generally look towards the emptier end of the lot or street, but Patrick gets as close to the door of his destination as possible, then circles outward. Though his approach runs counter to my instincts, it does tend to get results. So instead of starting at the bottom of the the short story food chain, I'm starting at the top.
For my short stories, I have a list of the SFWA-approved markets. To qualify for membership in the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), one must either publish a novel with a company on their approved list, or publish three short stories with periodicals on a similarly exclusive list. It's a short list, my friends, made up of the top-tier magazines in my chosen field. I've started there and am now circling outward. I covet SFWA membership and am doing all I can to get it.
4) Keep Tuesday nights and Fridays as sacred as possible.
I can usually sneak an hour or so of writing in any given day, but larger chunks of time for writing are as rare as hen's teeth given my current situation in life. I do have Tuesday nights and Fridays from 9:30 to 3:30, though. It's not much time, but I am very grateful to have it.
I will resist the temptation to do other things on Tuesday nights and Fridays, fun things like visiting with friends or watching movies. Instead, I will write. Why? Because a writer writes. If you're thinking about writing or talking about writing or doing something else that isn't writing, you're not a writer.
Do you have any goals for 2009? If so, I'd love to know that I'm not the only one; let me know, and we'll keep each other accountable.
Oh, and just in case you didn't recognize this post's title, here's one of my favorite Emily Dickinson poems:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.