I love New Year's Resolutions. I don't care how cliche it sounds, but I love the idea of starting over, that I have a whole new and shiny chance to be organized. It's similar to my love of new office supplies. Seriously, I can't wait until my kids are old enough to need to buy school supplies. I love fresh starts! Anyway, this feeling lasts about a week until I realize I have broken most of my resolutions (ugh the cliches are piling up) and I have another whole year to wait until my next shot at a year of being organized. As if this can only happen on January 1st. Whatever.
So this year was no exception- for the most part. The Dude and I made resolutions this year (that in itself was an accomplishment as we usually forget until it seems kind of late to do them) and we broke them down to personal, family and professional. We weren't messing around! Most are obvious, and not that interesting, but for me, the professional ones were the most important.
I am a stay-at-home mom, and for the most part I really love it. However, it is so hard to try and find time to write with two little ones at home. I know I am not the first to have this issue, but it is the first time I've had to deal with it, and I am not doing a great job. Demonstrated by the fact I have not written anything since I finished NaNo at the end of November. I actually missed the last 6 weeks of writing. I have been writing in a notebook all kinds of ideas that have popped into my head, but I haven't had time to actually write. BUT... thank goodness for New Years Eve... I've made resolutions... so clearly that is going to change!
My biggest realization was... I won't ever write if I don't take the time to write. Yeah, hello captain obvious. I know this, of course everyone knows this, but in practice it is so easy to lose sight of this. At the end of the day, I can't usually tell you what went on in the house, but after chasing a 3 y/o and a 9 mo baby intent on following the toddler everywhere, I'm exhausted. Completely exhausted. And after getting the kids to bed and saying hi to The Dude, and hearing about his day, the idea of using my brain and sitting and writing, well it's not at the top of my list. Except it's all I think about, so TADA... that's my resolution. To set assign time where The Dude is putting the kids to bed or whatever so I can take a few hours and actually write, and not feel guilty about it (which any parent can tell you is HARD). The idea of using time where your kids are awake for personal things, well it makes me feel guilty (rational or not).
I also came to the realization I have turned into (horrified look) a morning person. It's hard not to be when you have kids. So I think I'm also going to try and add an hour or so in the morning. Which probably means my kids will just start getting up earlier. The reality is I won't be able to do this all the time, and until both kids are in school (or I've sent them to live with their grandparents), writing will have to come either really early in the day, during any naps where I can actually get both kids down at the same time (this never happens anymore) or after they go to bed. But my resolution is to make it a priority and I haven't yet lost the bright and shiny optimism about this resolution. So we'll see, but here is what I have resolved (professionally):
1. To make writing a priority;
2. To make better use of social networking to meet writers/book bloggers;
3. To set aside 2 hours a day, at least 3 - 4 days a week to write; and (here's the big scary one)
4. To have one novel by the end of 2013 in "finished" enough form to submit queries on it.
I have no clue if it's realistic, or if I will actually accomplish it, but I have to be optimistic. Although it has been awhile since I've written anything, I haven't stopped thinking about it, and about how badly I would love to see something I've written in finished form. My biggest fear is this will be one of those goals where I have really good intentions and really poor execution (I am famous for this), but the great part is it's almost completely up to me, and I am still motivated.
So after resolving to make writing a priority, my biggest decision was what to do with my WIP from NaNo. I still really like the story, but I think it is so disorganized. I don't know my characters very well, and I didn't exactly plan out and structure my story line, and I think it really shows. It is probably one of the reasons I am having a hard time picking it up right now. I am also being wooed away by another story idea I have been thinking about, but haven't had time to start. Not wanting to repeat my mistakes from NaNo, I took the advice of one of the author's who I follow and read Donald Maass' "Writing The Breakout Novel." I found it extremely helpful, especially in structure ideas and ways to develop characters. At least I don't feel like I've done nothing the past six weeks.
So, like the new year, I am starting over and working with a new story. I haven't given up on my NaNo WIP yet, but I am putting it aside for right now. Waiting to see if I can figure out a few roadblocks in my story before I start writing it again. In the meantime, I will be working on a story that hasn't stopped bugging me. Taking the time to work on the structure and outline my characters will hopefully keep me on track. I don't regret the way I did NaNo this year, I learned a lot about myself and the way I write. Namely, I need more structure in my life, a concept which isn't natural to me. So hopefully I'll keep up with this blog and can look back on this year as the year I suck to my resolutions (even if I'm starting a little late) and finished my book! At least I have high hopes for the year and for that I am grateful.