Thursday, December 30, 2010

My 2011 resolution? 1999 all over again


At the risk of being cliched, I'm writing a New Year's post about my resolution for the upcoming year.

I decided to do this mainly because this past year sucked sooooo badly that it's just a pleasure to see it fade in the rear-view mirror. Seriously. Good riddance, 2010.

This past year saw my confidence reach new lows, while my stress levels hit record highs. This was the year of my hitting the wall, writing-wise. Of finally concluding that only an act of Providence will result in my getting published.

I worked harder on my writing this past year than I ever have, and that's saying something since I was an award-winning journalist (writer and editor) for twenty-five years. I actually read more how-to-write-fiction books this past year than novels for the first time in my life. I study them like I'm aiming for a doctorate.

And yet, even as I worked so hard, I kept reading accounts of how the publishing industry is tanking. Two particularly frightening articles I've read in the past week (I'm not even going to link to them, to spare you the horror) came to the conclusion that the days of a debut author getting a first novel published are over.

I don't know if I buy that argument completely, but I do recognize that things are far different now than only a couple of years ago. And they are getting worse all the time.

I've spent a lot of money lately preparing to take my manuscript to NYC for the Writers Digest conference next month. And yet I sit here wondering if it's money wasted, money we could have used for things far more important than pitching my work to literary agents who likely aren't looking for new clients anyway. Things like food, for instance.

But it's done. I'm going. Too late to back out now.

So after considerable thought, I've decided on my 2011 New Year's resolution:

I'm going to pretend it's not really 2011.

That's right, I'm going to write like it's 1999!

I'm going to operate under the assumption that quality work can still get published the traditional way, despite the growing cacophony of naysayers.

I'm going to pitch that freaking novel like it's yesterday's bath water. I'm going to hand out business cards and network and all that stuff that used to work. Back in the day. Back in 1999.

I'm going to continue to read accounts of how Stephen King and J.K. Rowling got published despite all of their rejections. I'm going to pretend it can happen to me, too.

Call me a dreamer if you will. Call me naive.

And hopefully, before the year is out, you can also call me published!

12 comments:

  1. Just make sure your PC's not going to crash come Y2K

    ;-)

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  2. Good for you! Funny how my husband and I were just discussing Prince over dinner (chills). You can only imagine the looks of confusion we received from our teenage offspring. To make matters worse my husband decided to wear his sunglasses in the car and we couldn't resist serenading the two lovely's with "I wear my sunglasses at night" all the way home from Applebee's. It was wonderful. Back to my case and point. Don't ever give up and never stop dreaming. Dreaming is a gift that not all of us have been given. Use it! Roll your eyes at the ones who don't understand it and look for the positive side in everything. Sometimes things don't happen when we want them to. They happen when they're supposed to. :)

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  3. Are you going to wear your Raspberry Beret to the conference? (Sorry Ter, couldn't resist.)

    Do me a favor...watch The Preacher's Wife with Denzal Washington and Whitney Houston. In it, the preacher has a speech with Hope and Faith. You REALLY need to watch it.

    And there's a beautiful song, sung by Whitney at the old jazz club I think you would particulary like. Perhaps watch it with your wife. Get some extra snuggle time on the couch.

    Besides, it's a Christmas movie and we're not out of those woods just quite yet.

    Happy 1999!

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  4. Oh yay! I love 1999! That was a big year for me.
    It sounds like you've learned a lot about yourself this past year and you accomplished something amazing.
    I believe you'll have a great time at the conference. And it's New York! Have you ever been?
    I am in agreement with you though, arrivederci 2010!
    Happy New Year Terry.

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  5. So you have been stressed in 2010... remember that stressed spelled backward is 'desserts' -- right?

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  6. Best wishes for your success this new year. Does this mean we should now refer to you as the Artist Formerly Known as Terry?

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  7. Happy New Year Terry!

    Here's hoping the word 'aspiring' will not be in vocabulary for much longer :)

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  8. The main difference between writers who get pubbed and writers who don't? The pubbed writers keep trying, honing their craft and submitting and disregarding rejections.

    And yeah, the publishing industry is in turmoil now. Ebooks are changing the playing field. Big time. So look on it as an opportunity. The big publishers and the big book stores must adapt. And we writers will continue to write.

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  9. Hear, hear! Excellent attitude. I hope the conference is a smashing success for you.

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  10. Found you at Tracy's blog. Cliche subject perhaps, but I loved it. Man 1999 brings back memories. Best of luck in your endeavor!

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  11. Great idea, and brilliant to reference Prince. Always a good thing, ha ha!

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