[Ed. There is now just a normal comment form at the end of my posts. I got rid of Disqus commenting, so if you left a comment using Disqus anywhere on this site before, it is probably gone now. Sorry. It just slowed the site down and a few people emailed to let me know they were having trouble figuring out how to comment, so we're going back to the normal way because comments are important. How else will strangers insult me and call me names? ;) ]
My last post was written exactly a month ago. I would apologize for that, but I've been very busy, you see. I procured myself a regular writing gig (more on that later), and oh, I also wrote a novel. That's right: I finished NaNoWriMo. The novel I wrote is, well, a complete and total piece of shit. That was sort of the point, though. I've started more than a few novels over the past few years and I always reach a point where I start to hate it and then eventually give up. NaNoWriMo was sort of about breaking that cycle, and I did it. I wrote 50,000 words. My t-shirt is in the mail.
No, really. It is.
Something really wonderful happened when I submitted my novel for the final word count at the end of November. Something that seemed so momentous and magical suddenly lost its splendor. That sounds like a bad thing, but it isn't. NaNoWriMo washed the glitter away from the novel-writing process, and I needed that desperately because the glitter is what always distracted me. I imagined the greats sitting down at a computer (Or typewriter. Or paper and pen. Or - good Lord - quill and ink.) and churning out this compelling, rich story on the first take, correcting a few comma splices here and there, and sending it off to be read in undergraduate literature courses for the rest of time. My inability to pour magic goo from my fingertips on the first try has always stood in my way. It's always stolen my confidence and led me to believe that I should just stop writing because obviously I have nothing worthwhile to say.
NaNo taught me that's simply not true.
I wrote that novel and it was mostly tedious and difficult, but every few thousand words I'd experience a hint of genius - a great sentence, an intriguing idea for a plot twist, an unplanned arch in a character's story - and even though I occasionally had to go on a tangent describing a lamp for 500 words just to keep the creative juices flowing, somehow I ended up with the bones of a story; something that could be built up into greatness. I realized even the greatest writers have first drafts and fight through the monotony of their own bad writing. I realized that writing novels is something I can do; writing a novel is something I did.
So now I am addicted to the process and applying that process to all sorts of different things in my life. I applied it to freelancing and persevered and bugged the shit out of editors until one offered me a job. I am applying it to my latest goal of getting in incredible shape, not stopping when things are hard or I have a bad day, but instead fighting through it and keeping my eye on the end goal. It's kind of amazing to me all of the ways I suddenly refuse to quit on myself, and NaNoWriMo gave me that. Or, maybe I gave it to myself by showing up. Either way. The point is I did something big and now I have no reason to believe I can't do anything I set my mind to, and knowing that is slowly rocking my entire world.
With that in mind, I've decided to make a list of intentions for the year ahead. I'm going to create a page for it in my site navigation and cross things off as the year goes by - because I know how eager you all are to watch me complete my goals in real time [sarcasm font needed here]. I strongly encourage you to identify your own dragons and sleigh them methodically, one little sword poke at a time, with the ultimate goal of eating dragon soup when it's all said and done kept always in the back of your mind.
A List Of Intentions For 2015
- Complete the first draft of a novel I've been plotting. Working title is Boomerang.
- Read 30 books.
- Send a submission to (and hopefully get published in) New York Times' Modern Love.
- Submit to at least 5 publications outside of my usual freelancing/writing gigs.
- Drink enough water every day.
- Make more small romantic gestures towards my husband.
- Teach my daughter to read.
- Meet all activity/nutrition/weight loss goals I've set with my FitBit.
- Learn about lifting and become confident lifting at the gym in front of other humans.
- Make new friends.
- Learn how to knit.
- Try something new.
That's all I've got for now. If I think of more before January, I'll add them. What are some of your intentions for the new year?