2010, baby

New Year's Resolutions are soooo cliché.

But I make them anyway.  There's nothing wrong with goal-setting, and really, that's what resolutions are.  Setting goals.  Striving to achieve whatever it is that seems important at the beginning of a new year.  Reflecting on the past and making decisions about what needs changing and what can stay the same.  It's about defining – or redefining – your hopes and dreams.

It's disturbs me when I ask people what it is they really want – like if they had all the money in the world and didn't need to work, what would they like to spend the rest of their lives doing? – and the answer is some form of "I don't know."

You don't know?  You don't know?  You haven't thought it?  You don't have dreams?

I'm not a big fan of wandering aimlessly through life, and letting whatever's going to happen, happen. That suggests – in a way that's much too uncomfortable for me to consider – that fate plays a big role in where we end up.  But I'm also not a fan of controlling every little detail, with the belief that if we start at A and tunnel our way methodically through the alphabet, we'll end up at Z, on time and as planned.

The answer's got to be somewhere in the middle.  A harmonious blend of working towards that something (whatever that is for each of us) while accepting the twists and turns that come our way.

Much like writing a novel.  While there's nothing wrong with outlining and working towards that ending I've envisioned, I like staying open to the unexpected.

That's why I like making resolutions.  They give me a track to try and stick to, but they in no way prevent me from meandering off that path if the opportunity presents itself.

Before I get to my resolutions for 2010, here's a brief summary of the highlights of my 2009:

I finished Creep (6 drafts) and started querying for the very first time.

Stats to date:  40 queries sent, 19 rejections, 3 requests, and 2 of those submissions still outstanding.

I'm a third of the way through the first draft of my next novel.

I attended my first writer's conference in New York City and met a bunch of my favorite authors.

I read 32 new books and reread 2 old favorites.

I joined two writer's groups and took one writing workshop.

I made a whole bunch of writing friends.

I started a blog.  And posted 106 entries in 2009 (not bad, considering I started blogging in April).

All in all, a really productive year in my writing life.  I'm pretty damned happy with everything I accomplished.  I worked hard, and I feel good about that.

And for 2010, this is what I plan to accomplish, cliché or not:

I will finish querying Creep.  By the end of the year, I'll know whether the book is publication worthy.  And if it's not, it won't be because I didn't query the hell out of it.

I will finish writing Magnolia, including all drafts and edits, and have it ready for querying in 2011 (hopefully sooner).

I will keep regular writing hours and try to minimize those marathon sessions that burn me out for days afterward.

I will carve out time every day for reading.  By the end of this year, I hope to have read 52 books (including rereads of old favorites.)

As for this blog... no resolutions for that.  Sadly, it's at the bottom of the priority list, though I do expect to post a few times a week, on average.

And most important resolution for 2010... drumroll, please...

I will remember that no matter how many rejections I get, I love to write.  All the publishing success in the world would mean shit if I hated to write.  Writing makes me happy, and while it's good to aim for publication, I need to remember to enjoy the process and make the most of each day. I did a better job of this in 2009 than I did in 2008, but I'm promising myself here  – in writing! – that 2010 will be an amazing year.  For me and for everyone around me.

Happy New Year!