So my pal Jessica Corra has this thing where she picks one word to focus on for the year. You know, I think this is a marvelous idea. It kind of reminds me of Madeleine L’Engle. In Circle of Quiet she talks about having a word for the summer–for me the very memorable ontology, which led to a great many thought provoking ponder sessions. In any event, my brain’s spent the last week or so circling around this notion. What would my word for this year be?
Part of me wanted to choose an ACTION WORD. I don’t believe in passivity in anything (except possibly waiting out interminable staff meetings, at which point I’m usually envisioning my ass kicking rescue of my colleagues from some terrorist threat or rabid vampire invasion–we all have our hobbies). I am a DOer, which is part of how I get so much done. Because, well, I’m all about being a Nike spokesgirl: Just Do It. (Note: This post was not paid for by Nike because I cannot wear their shoes–they are too narrow.).
But, frankly, nothing sprang to mind.
I looked back over my goals for the year, trying to see if there was a unifying theme in what I wanted to accomplish. And the thing that rose out of the mists was
I want to be steady this year.
I want to make steady progress toward my fitness goals. Weight gain and muscle loss don’t happen over night. Weight loss and muscle gain don’t either. But steady progress will get you there. I reminded myself of that just this morning because I did not want to work out. And then I went and boxed anyway. Not as much as I normally do, but something. I never regret a workout, but I usually do regret not doing one.
I want to be steady about my writing. Butt in chair, hands on keyboard every day I can. I have learned that I am not a machine. I’ve stopped with the “but if I wrote x amount a day every day, I’d have yyy,yyy words by the end of the year!” No, for me, that way lies madness. I’m not even setting a deadline for myself (yes, I hear that collective gasp). The book, novella, and whatever else I’m working on will be done when it’s done. My focus is not on the finish line but on the daily wad. One step at a time.
I want to be steady about keeping my eyes on my own paper. I am amazed by the success of Amanda Hocking and J.A. Konrath and all the other assorted darlings the indie world likes to hold up as examples. I wish them well and congratulations. But you know what? I just don’t care. Not about them, not about whoever is supposed to be totally AMAZING in the traditional world. I don’t care about what any of them are doing beyond the part about whether I want to read their book (which is enough to make for a half-time job because OMG so much awesome to read). Know why? Because they (the indie darlings, I mean) are outliers. No amount of studying what they did is going to give you the magic formula for how to be an amazing, overnight success. It doesn’t happen, not most of the time. There is one formula for success in the publishing world and one only: learn your craft well, write lots of good books, and create a backlist. I’m doing my job on that front, it’s just gonna take me a while and that’s that.
I’m going to be steady emotionally. The last two years I’ve had stuff happen that just sent me off the rails emotionally. Some of it was good. Some of it was bad. But the end result was that there were months when I just didn’t write. Creativity is absolutely tied to our emotional state. Mhairi Simpson made a recent post about just that. So no matter what happens this year (and no I don’t believe the end of the world is coming–I think the Mayans just plotted out their calendar so far and figured that’d do them for a while and then they got wiped out), including my mom’s impending knee replacement (just found out about THAT one last night), I wanna keep my head, keep my zen, and keep moving forward.
What’s your word for the year?