October 19, 2012

Casual Friday - My New Year's Writer's Resolutions

Heyyy Misfits! (Or is it Misfiteers? What do you guys want me to call you?)

I scored a Casual Friday spot for my second legit post! Casual Friday means I can write about whatever I want. Hold onto your seats, because we've all seen how this situation usually turns out.


Here in the Midwest, it's that magical time of year when the leaves turn colors, the air is scented with campfire-smokiness, and we break out the sweaters, leggings, and riding boots. It's time for new school classes, hot chocolate, and, if you're Jewish, a whole New Year. It's when we traditionally note the changes we want to make and achievements we hope we reach in the coming year.

Last year, I used to the opportunity to make a list of my Writer's "Jew Year's Resolutions." It's so cool to look back at that post, since I wrote it when I was just finishing the first rough draft of a manuscript  my agent signed me with nine months later. I've accomplished a lot since then, and also learned enough to know that I have so much farther to go. Last year, I had four big writer's qualities in mind to strive for over the coming year: Humility, Perspective, Patience, and Determination

Those are pretty important things for a querying writer to cultivate. But you know what? They're just as important for agented and published writers. Since I fell short of those qualities many, many times last year I'm putting all of them back on the list, and adding some new ones as well:

Confidence - Yes, I know this looks like the opposite of Humility. But honestly, #EgoClub chatter aside, a lot of the trouble I had - still do have - with the whole humility thing is that I let it go too far, down into the territory of self-loathing and second-guessing myself. Not good for a writer on submission, trying to convince an esteemed editor to fall in love with her MS.

This year, I want to focus on having enough confidence in my work not only so that others will love it too, but so that I'll keep going.

Work Ethic - When my manuscript went out on submission, I wrote another one to keep myself busy. It would have been really easy to figure that, since I already have an agent, I could just send a rough draft to her and let her clean up the mess. But, a mess it most certainly was, and I  put that new MS through three rounds of CPs before I even drafted the email about it to my agent, even though the wait killed me.

This year, I want to remember that being signed with an agent does not entitle me to be lazy about what I send to her, or anyone.

Giving Back - Plenty of times over the last few months, I've found myself focusing far too much on...well...MYSELF. My own drafting or revisions were my first priority. That's good to an extent, but I don't want to fall into the trap of expecting the writing community to work their tushies off reading and critiquing and cheering for me without giving back to them.

Of course I want to be a better CP (always!) but this goal goes beyond my little writing buddy circle. I signed with my agent after participating in a writer's contest, and I'm committed to doing as much as I can to helping others connect with agents in similar ways. Also, I want to be a known cheerleader in the writing community. If you catch me being a jerk...you have my blessing to unfollow me. And sneer. But don't be too mean.

Now, I want to hear from all of you! Are there certain times of the year you look back to see what you've accomplished, and make goals resolutions for the next stretch of time? January 1st? Your birthday? The beginning of the school year? Your writerversary? 


Amanda Olivieri said...

Making lists and goals are my favorite things ever, ever, ever. Back in school I used to associate Fall with new goals and such, but now it's always January 1st. I make my list the last week or two of December so I'm prepared to start on it right away in the new year. I love your resolutions! I think you're doing a great job at them already. :D

Henry Circle said...

I am new to goal-setting. (This time last year my goal list looked something like, "Get box of Lucky Charms at Walmart.") It's all fresh and exciting to me still so I'm very into checking my progress. I probably reflect on how far I've come twice a week. And I see if I have anything to check off my bucket list monthly.Posting your resolutions and goals gives an added incentive; doesn't it?!

callmebecks said...

I guess I usually do goals around the calendar new year. Honestly, though, I think it might be better to do, like, quarterly goals. A year is a very long time, and it's impossible to predict what will happen in that span. Stuff could pop up that derail things or shift your priorities, make one goal irrelevant or create another that's more pressing. The shorter timeframes help me to focus, stay flexible.

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