Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's Resolutions

So, 2015 was a weird year for me, overall. I did slush reading. I did a lot of odd jobs, sometimes several at a time. I transitioned countries late in 2014, with my husband coming over a few months later. There have been some medical things going on. I didn't completely drop off writing, but it was the first year in a long time where I didn't try especially hard to keep myself to any kind of standard.

And I don't like that.

This year I'm trying to do better. I've dusted off my old metaphorical track shoes, and I'm trying to hit the ground running.

I still have a lot of the existential issues that were a problem the last time I was writing seriously: I don't really have a clear picture of what I want to write, I just know I get a kick out of doing it; I worry that I only really have enough skill to be mediocre at best, and while that doesn't stop one from having a career, I don't want to be that person who only wrote so-so stuff; I struggle with long form; I produce an enormous bulk of unrefined raw material and very little finished product; I let bad reviews get to me; I have trouble confessing to people I know in real life that I write much at all; I'm knocked off my feat by realizing I've taken a story down a narrative blind alley, even when I have ideas how to fix it; I get nips of professional jealousy, even though I know the other person has clearly worked harder; and on and on.

I don't think my fallow 2015 was a waste. I learned a lot slushing. I stepped away from habits that weren't necessarily good for me and got to push my reset button a bit. There are some cool things going on in my life right now, and while there were some ugly, tragic bits to the last year, I was glad to be able to be here for my family during them. The downside is knowing my husband can't do the same. It's always going to be one of us. That's just the way this transatlantic deal works.

This year it's going to be ten years since my grandmother died and I decided to try to write seriously. Looked at on the one hand, that's been kind of a long time to putter around with things, and that's something that does get me down from time to time. On the other hand, I've multiple dozen sales, to some places I'm really quite proud of, and I'm in a much better position than I was when I started in terms of honing skill, understanding craft, all that jazz.

I guess that's the lesson of New Year's every year. Not much you can do about the past. You can only attempt to work out the best path into the future.

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