Welcome to the New Year, my friends. We’re only a couple of weeks in and I can already tell it is going to be a wild one. At the start of every year it is commonplace to start assessing where we are at and where we want to go. Particularly this year, as we are ascending into a new decade.
For me, I’m ascending into my identity as a writer. Part of that is to have goals and ideas of where I want to be by 2021.
Something I’ve been doing for the last year and a half that has really helped was to have A WORD. A word that themes my entire year. And it’s not just for writing. It’s frames my other goals as well.
Last year my word was COMPLETION.
I didn’t have the greatest track record with finishing things. I get distracted when I am feeling overwhelmed. I also let other people and tasks take priority over my own, personal, tasks. Especially if my own tasks are unpleasant.
What inspired me was a women’s fiction book that had been languishing. I had started writing it somewhere in 2017. I would routinely take weeks, even months, off of writing it. I would get stuck and instead of writing my way out of it, I would wait for inspiration to strike. Inspiration, as it happens, is a rare commodity. If one waits for inspiration, one will always be waiting. I recommitted to writing it 2018, only to again let it grow dusty around March. Then I chose my word: COMPLETION.
Completion of day-to-day tasks. Completion of this book. Completion of goals. Completion of a thought.
I put in structure that would help me – sticker charts, trips to a coffee shop to write, shutting off my WiFi – and I got it done.
Now that book is sitting with two agents, who will hopefully love it as much as I do.
But 2019 is done and I spent a good, long time thinking of my word for 2020.
I came up with PERSIST.
I have an incredible amount of momentum coming out of 2019. I don’t want to lose the energy I’ve built in these last few months. I want that energy to persist.
Plus I am going to need to persist in my quest to get published. It’s going to be hard. I can already tell that getting an agent is going to be tough. I have been querying since October and have received many rejections. Not as many as it feels like, but many. Some I’ve shrugged off, but other have hit me quite hard. I’ve sulked in my chair with a glass of Pinot Blanc and bemoaned my chances of getting published. As part of querying, I also need to write a synopsis and send that out to more agents. A synopsis is a tedious beast to write and I would rather not do it. I’d rather do laundry or scrub the cat box. But I must persist. There will also be moments when I am going to hate the entire writing/publishing process. But I am going to have to keep going – to persist.
I have other goals, or things I want for myself in 2020, that is going to take persistence to accomplish. I would like to run another 5K (God help me). I would also like to gain more skill in knitting, skills that can be fussy and confusing. Then there is the ubiquitous “eating healthier” chestnut that every person adopts come the dawn January 1 when we are full of sugar and carbs and cheese and feeling fat. I am no different.
But all these things – these transformative goals and wild hopes – are going to take persistence.
I hope you can persist with me.