The news came during the Super Bowl Halftime Show, as we huddled around our TV with the few friends brave enough to trek through three days unrelenting snowfall. Work was closed for Monday. The DC government was shut down. The federal government was shut down. Private businesses attempting to operate did so at great financial and legal risk. I woke up (quite late) Monday morning bursting with childhood snow day glee.
A surprise day! All to myself! Mine, all mine!
I went up to our building s rooftop and admired the massive drifts of snow crenellating the Capitol Dome. I watched the snow plows struggle against the snow. I looked at the street around our building, and discovered that those odd lumps in the vast field of white were once cars parked on the street. I made hot tea.
Then I realized that it was already February, and I hadn t even started editing the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2009.
We all want to live life to the fullest, but sometimes life lives us. I ve always wanted to write at some points in my life, I ve spent all my free time writing. But the two years after college, when I was underemployed and in Job Limbo (the infamous This-is-Not-an-Offer Offer!), I had nothing better to do with my stultifying free time yet I scarcely wrote. We bow to obligations, expectations, errands, tasks. Often because we have to, either to survive or to maintain the life we love, but sometimes because of fear: the things we secretly dream to accomplish are too wonderful, too great. We need excuses to save us from our dreams.
I didn t want to be afraid anymore. I didn t want to wake up and feel lost in a sea of white emptiness, a blank canvas, a fresh screen. So during that snowed-out week, I rewrote the first three chapters of that novel, without once glancing at the source material. And by the time NaNoWriMo 2010 came around last November, I d rewritten, re-rewritten, edited, and revised 65,000 words of a new draft.
I lost the drive at times. I curled up on the couch and watched House Hunters International. World of Warcraft Trivial Achievement Addiction claimed far too many weekends. I sent my critique buddy dozens of emails, all Baroque Theme and Variations on I m a failure! But I wrote, if not every day, then at least every week.
Then in November, I wrote 50,000 more words for a new story.
I m learning to write, early and often. 2010 taught me this. 2011 will be the year of finishing what I begin. Of moving beyond the draft and into the query. I like Erin Doland s approach to New Year s Resolutions (though to resolve to do something is the surest way to wreck your resolve) she breaks everything into four quarters, little milestones for progress. So I ll join her in putting my scary, desperate, optimistic, wonderful plan out here for dog and country to see.
UNDER A DEAD MOON: Complete Draft 3 in Q1
UNTITLED YA NOVEL 1: Write Draft 1 in Q2/Q3
UNDER A DEAD MOON SEQUEL or UNTITLED YA NOVEL 2: Write Draft 1 for NaNoWriMo 11
UNDER A DEAD MOON: Complete revisions in Q2
GHOSTS OF GRIMLEY: Revise, start to finish, in Q2/Q3
UNDER A DEAD MOON: Have out on submissions by 01 Jul 2011
GHOSTS OF GRIMLEY: Have out on submissions by 31 Dec 2011
You know. Not to be too ambitious or anything.
What successes do you hope to build on in 2011? What secret dreams will you finally face head-on?