That's right – this girl!
But here's the thing. It's summer. Half the country is sweltering in 90+-degree weather and/or still wringing out their tissues from Harry Potter's cinematic THE END. And to be honest, I'm elbow-deep into potty-training a stubborn two-year-old who'd rather sit in soggy underpants than tell me she has to go. SO, I figure since we're more than halfway through the year, it might be a nice time to revisit those good old New Year's resolutions we all made in January. You know the ones:
Finish the manuscript. Get an agent. Get a book deal. Blog every day. Convince the spouse that yes, every writer you know is waited on hand and foot and YES, that includes hand massages, four-course dinners, AND entire blocks of uninterrupted writing time every single night plus maid service and on-call babysitters and—
Um, yeah…so how you doing on those?
Maybe a better question is – do you still remember your writing resolutions from the beginning of the year? No shame if you don't. I had to look mine up last night because well, let's face it, I barely remember where I park when I go to work in the morning. But after spending about an hour hunting for my 2011 resolutions (which I finally found tucked away in my "Writing Expenses" folder of all places), I can tell you that I only accomplished one of my resolutions so far. ONE.
Now, I know the year isn't even over yet, but I couldn't help but feel this uncomfortable pang of failure form in the pit of my stomach. Like I made my parents take off work, drive through sleet and snow during rush hour traffic so they could see me in some cheesy high school rendition of The Glass Menagerie, only to find out I was booted back to understudy status ten minutes before curtain call because I couldn't remember my stinking lines.
Okay, so maybe that scenario's a bit of a stretch. It's summer. Did I mention I'm potty-training a two-year-old? Anyway, I think we all know what self-inflicted disappointment feels like, yes? So what do you tell yourself when the guilt from wasting six perfectly good months threatens to cripple you?
For me, I realized last night that, although I've barely crossed anything off my list, there are some things – MAJORLY IMPORTANT IN THEIR OWN WAY things – that I never even thought to write down that I can say I did accomplish this year. Things like teaching my aforementioned stubborn, doesn't-want-to-use-the-potty daughter how to sound out words and count up to twenty in English, Spanish, and French. Things like meeting new writing friends in person and exploring awesome new ideas with them. Things like getting an agent and going on submission and taking my time writing a story because it's the kind of story that's pushing my writing ability to the limit and would suffer greatly if I tried to rush it too much.
If you look at your old goals and really analyze where you are right now, I'm sure you'll also come to realize that so much can happen and change in half a year even when on paper it looks like nothing's happened or changed at all.
As writers, it's important we set goals. It's important to reflect on and revise those goals (and not file them under "Writing Expenses"). But it's even more important to be flexible and accepting when those goals decide they want to marinate longer than what we'd originally planned or banked on.
So my summer proposal for you is to review your 2011 Goals/Resolutions from the beginning of the year. Take note of what you've done so far. Take note of what you haven't done. Then throw that list away. You're a different writer now than you were six months ago. It's time for a new list. A new focus. It's summer. It's hot. It's the perfect time to whip up a 2011 Writing Resolutions Part Deux, dontcha think?
We'd love to hear about your progress from the first half of the year. Is your New Year's list all crossed off, or collecting dust somewhere on your desk? What are you working toward for the rest of the year? (And if anyone wants to leave any good potty-training tips, that'd be cool too. I'm desperate!)