Damn strange year for me, 2012. Not all good news, not even most of it. But on the writing side, it rocked.
(WARNING: Shameless self-promotion paragraph follows. If you just want the moral of the story, skip to the next break.) My first collection of short fiction, OLD SCHOOL, was published by Snubnose Press back in the spring. Signed my first book deal back in July, with Exhibit A. (They’ll publish my debut novel, PENANCE, in April. The sequel, MAMMON, follows on its heels.) Got into a couple of kick-ass anthologies this fall (Tom Pluck’s PROTECTORS, which raises money to help abused kids, and BOTH BARRELS, the debut antho from the Shotgun Honey people, who have been very good to me. And I’ve got some other things in the works that look promising.
With all that happening, I had to revisit my New Year’s Resolution list.
See, for as long as I can remember, getting a book published has been on my resolutions list. Now that that’s happening, I’m wondering why things don’t feel that different, why it seems like I can’t cross that one off the list. It’s not that getting a book published doesn’t feel good – it feels great. And it’s not that I don’t have the actual, physical object in my hand yet, although my palms are getting pretty itchy, I’ll tell you that.
No, it’s because, all these years, I had the resolution wrong.
My resolution shouldn’t have been to get a book published. My resolution should have been to write a book worthy of being published. Can’t control the former. (Well, you can I guess if you go the self-publishing route, which is going great for some people. Problem is, based on what I’ve read, an awful lot of people have different ideas about “a book worthy of being published” than I do.) But you can control what you write. Like my last post says, you just gotta do the work.
That get-a-book-published thing? That resolution is changing, not going away. If I crossed it off the list, that would mean all I ever really wanted was to see my name on the spine of a book somewhere. Once would be fine. I could move on to some other thing, like fly fishing maybe. But that’s not what I wanted. What I wanted was write, and write successfully. That’s not a one-shot deal.
So I resolve to keep doing the work. Two more books this year, that’s my goal. More short stuff as time allows. And one provisional resolution – just maybe take a shot at either a play or a film script. I like to write dialog. Been told I’m good at it. Maybe those are sandboxes I should play in. Gotta do some reading though. Conventions to be learned.
That’s it, then. One resolution. Do the work. Over at Terribleminds, Chuck Wendig’s got 25 resolutions for you writer types. If you need to fill out your dance card, his list is worth a peek.
That’s it on resolutions and writer side of the ledger. Of course there’s more to life than writing. On the personal side of the balance sheet I’ve got some work to do, too.
Hmmmmm. Maybe do the work is all the resolution any of us really need.