I rarely make New Year resolutions, and this year will be no different. But I do have to rethink some things. This should be the year I get the memoir out the door and off to a publisher. I feel pressed for time in this, an urgency of sorts to do it while I can. The need to know whether or not this thing is marketable is paramount.
While I have enjoyed rediscovering the core things about my life that have shaped the current me, I also have had to come to terms with things festering across a lifetime without knowing why. Now I know. It has changed my outlook, and forced introspection about what I do and don't want my life to be, and how to sort it. What to prioritize and what to discard. What to work on and what to send to the GoodWill station of my life as no longer necessary or useful or fitting. Memoir has become a workable means to make these decisions and some of them are painful. Others will be rewarding.
Looking back on the past year, I see accomplishments I recognize as worthwhile, and achieved where I doubted I could. And I see abject failure in some arenas even while trying my best. On balance, both have made a major contribution to my life, and for that I am grateful. Growth is, I think, always less than exhilarating, but achievable.
I'll spend less this year on the craft of writing. That's good advice from several corners: stop being student and start being writer. That concept alone will push confidence into the writing equation. I'll try harder to get something, anything, published, though it is still only the mechanics, the "How-to" that prevents me. I write constantly and enjoy what I write, happy with the result, and with the feedback, nt finding rejection too daunting. But I'm still not in print. One can hone and hone and hone, polish and polish, but I think it is paramount to get a grip on knowing when a thing is at its maximum best and then run it out there for better or worse.
My self editing skills have taken a quantum leap in this past year, so my eye is better. Slash and burn has become a fine skill and still I can look back on a piece weeks later and say, "get those words out of that sentence!" and wonder how I missed that. But at least now, I see. Over-writing is vastly improved and summary is decreasing. For me, that's progress. Still having trouble seeing the need for more dialogue, and when I miss it, adding it in seemes contrived and forced. Deep now into the mechanics of making what I've written readable, I find I enjoy approaching my own work as if it is that of someone else. I think that's progress.
I finally, after yessing and no-ing, in and out of it, hand wringing and cursing, decided not to go to Turkey for a highly desired writing conference. I need to spend those dollars with a developmental editor with an eye to finding an agent. The past two years have been as unkind to me financially as they have been to most everybody. I detest picking and choosing, but already going to Tucson for same, Turkey, while a lovely place to visit, would be just another writing place for me. But I heartily recommend it for those who are going, and still wistfully wish it was me, too. Not everything is in the cards, you see.
To those few of you who drop in here periodically, Happy New Year. Having finished four courses and now countless essay classes, I have gleaned from every dollar I have spent an enormous amount of applicable information. I regret none of it. But the goal now is to apply all that learned knowledge and really write a good story really well. Now to get to it!