Monday, December 31, 2007

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Wow. So it's already the end of the year. How did that happen?? I know that I can't be the only one who feels like she's living life is on the fast forward button. Everyone says this is even more true once you have kids, and really, it's so cliche, but oh so true. I really cannot believe that my little newborn daughter turned one a few weeks ago. Doesn't it feel like just yesterday that I was announcing her arrival?

Anyway, the turn of the calender means assessing goals and assessing what I accomplished this past year. I've been ruminating on 2008 for the past few days, and something odd is happening: normally, my goals and what I hope to accomplish are really clear - in previous years, I'd set specific magazine targets or income goals or getting my fiction published - but this year, I have to say, I'm pretty content with my lot. And that's what's making this whole goal-setting thing so weird. In the past year, my debut novel came out and I sold my second one. Honestly, I feel like if that's all I accomplish in my career, I might just be content. Maybe it's okay to say, hey, I don't need to operate on overdrive 24/7, and instead, sit back and recognize that I've come pretty far in the past few years...and if nothing spectacular happens this year, well, that's okay.

That said, because I'm not a complete slug, I do have a few goals for the year, in addition to slowing down a bit and smelling the figurative roses. I'd like to find inspiration for my third novel, now that I'm winding down revisions on my second. I've found that I'm all or nothing when I'm writing: I can't even entertain other ideas for books when I'm working on a current one because then everything starts to melt together and jumble like a messed-up ice cream sundae. I'd like to continue doing more celebrity profiles because they're something that I really enjoy - it actually makes my pop culture obsession worthwhile. I'd like to have more patience with my children, and that means ignoring my email and my computer entirely when it's "their time," something I've gotten better at, but certainly, could still improve.

So...I think that's a decent list. Maybe it doesn't set my world on fire as in previous years, but I'm also at a point in my life where I think that's okay. I know how fortunate I am with my lot, and I think there's something to be said for that and the gratitude I have for having the career that I do.

So tell me, how do you determine your goals for the next year? And, since I just spilled mine, what are yours?


Kristi Holl said...

You're very wise to be thinking along these lines while your children are small. Everyone warns you that they grow up FAST, and you don't want to miss it. I started writing with infants, preschoolers and toddlers underfoot, and 35 books later I am now watching my grandkids grow up too fast! You won't regret making more time for your family and getting off the crazy fast track for a bit. Writing will always be there--your children won't. Enjoy them!

D. Robert Pease said...

It is so nice to hear someone say they are content. Enjoy it! Culture today seems to always say we must pursue more... must be always striving for that next big thing. Well there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve yourself, but there is also nothing wrong with just stopping and enjoying where you are. I love my life at the moment, and sometimes I feel guilty about that, like I am letting my future self and family down by just enjoying the here and now. That doesn't mean I don't have goals, but they aren't the only thing in my life. If I don't meet them, that's okay because I enjoyed life along the way.

Amie Stuart said...

Enjoy those babies. Kristi is right...they grow so fast. And honestly, it's harder writing with teenagers than it was with small children!

My goal is to work on balance, and write more (no excuses!). So back on the good eating bandwagon (I did great until I got sick in July--I didn't gain but I just FEEL better when I eat better), exercise (we're getting a Y membership as a late family Christmas gift--Our Y is having a pay the day membership drive this month). Eating right and more exercise means a clearer head and more writing so it all works together. I'm also going to try and read more.

Ohhhhh and like you I can't owrk on multiple projects (though the next one is already nagging at me and Im not done with this book)

Anonymous said...


I am starting to sent out e-queries. Often agents request a synopsis or chapter pasted in the body of the e-mail. I am worried about the format - do you double space the text? Do I include the cover page with my contact info? Do I type anything to indicate the end of the section?

Another question - my novel is inspired by a classic movie (i.e. I stole the plot and updated it!). Think of the way Bridget Jones's Diary used the plot from Pride & Prejudice. Should I mention the movie in my letter or does it hurt me & make me look unimaginative?

Thanks for your help!

Sarah Y said...

I haven't set resolutions but I am preparing for a 30-day writing blitz. I hope to work through some of my blocks and become more efficient and effective by writing a lot every day for 30 days in a row.

I prefer to work in short increments to make little changes rather than try to overhaul my whole life in one set of resolutions.

Sara Hantz said...

Happy new year, Allison. My resolutions are mainly writing focused - to become more disciplined and professional!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year! I think your resolutions sound great--very realistic--and I love that you're so happy with what life has brought you in the last year.

By the way, a personal question, if you don't mind: everyone says that when you have a baby you can pretty much forget about writing for the first year or two, but it looks like you're handling it fine. How do you do it?

Susan Johnston Taylor said...

Well, my goal is to break into a glossy this year (I have an idea being presented at an editorial meeting in a few weeks - wish me luck). But my resolution is to focus on the big picture and not get so caught up in minor details like "why didn't that editor like me idea?" or "why is it taking so long to get paid? this is so frustrating!!"