By Kasie Whitener
I love New Year’s. I love everything about it from watching Times Square packed with diaper-wearing drunk celebrants to staying up late, counting down, and kissing everyone in the party. I love the bowl games and the cocktail food. I love the next-day hangover and holding down my sister’s couch through the Tournament of Roses parade wondering how all those Californians manage to look so cheerful at 6 a.m.
But mostly I love New Year’s because I am a ridiculous optimist. I say ridiculous because no one can find the bright side of things faster than me. All things.
New Year’s is like the optimist’s holiday. It’s a chance to look out over a new year and say, “This year is going to be even better!”
For the last four years, I’ve made writing-related goals at New Year’s. Each year I’ve made some progress although I’ve never completely reached the goals I set.
Shoot for the moon. If you fail, you may land among the stars.
(Scientifically incorrect since the moon is closer and you’re more likely to land among the Earth’s atmosphere and be incinerated. Shut it, pessimist.)
My goals are Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Find an agent for the vampire novel. Find a publisher for the GenX novel. Write 10 new stories for submission during my friend Khara’s Submit-o-Rama challenge in October. Read 50 books.
In 2016, I submitted a short story and won an award for it. I got an editor and a small-press publisher interested in the GenX novel. The rejection feedback from an agent on the vampire novel led to amazing revisions. I read 61 books.
Turning my focus from fiction to my company, I scaled back, significantly, on the time I spent on vampires and GenX storytelling and blogging. Still, I finished NaNoWriMo with 50,000 new words and started a Neverland story. I took a weekend at Myrtle Beach for writing. I kept up with my weekly Tuesday tweet chat with writers across the world (#wschat 6 and 9 p.m. EST) and attended a conference. I even read my published fiction in front of an audience for the first time ever.
There’s so much opportunity in every new year. Before it begins we can envision all the changes we’ll make to develop our skills, earn credibility, accumulate accolades, and gain traction for our work.
Meditate on 2017. Think about where your writing is now and where you’d like for it to be.
Do you struggle with Character? Plot? Dialogue? Set a goal to study and practice one element this year.
Do you leave work unfinished? Set a goal to finish a certain number of pieces this year.
Is it hard finding time to write? Set a goal to create writing time every day. Five minutes is all it takes.
The new year began last week, but it’s not too late to envision your writing life in 2017 and lay the plans to make that life a reality.