I don't make resolutions. (Um... anymore.) I think they're too broad, and they don't bend to real life situations. I'm the kind of person that needs to feel like they're making progress, and I work better when I have a set of conditions to meet, so for me it's all about setting goals.
Last year I was coming off the high of finishing my very first complete draft of a novel. I set some HUGE goals that I now know were not just overwhelming, but also misguided.
2010 was a difficult year for me in many ways, and an amazing one in many others. A death in the family left me unable (both literally and emotionally) to write or revise for about two months. I entered into that long dark tunnel called "revisions". Where I learned that no matter how good you think your first draft is, there are always thousands of ways to make it better. And some of those ways take a full revision before you can see the path to them.
So where am I as I start 2011?
After an extremely busy holiday season I am FINALLY reaching the end of what turned out to be an almost complete rewrite. I have learned A LOT about story structure, plot, and character arcs. Much more than I would've thought possible in a revision.
From my revisions I've learned a lot about myself as a writer, my tics, and ways to make my next first draft a much better starting point. (Also, Scrivener changed my life when it comes to story, plot, research, and chapter organization!)
I have felt the pain of killing my darlings and the joy of having a CP fall in love with my favorite character.
I've fought the pull of shiny new ideas, found ways to stay focused (although this will be a continuing battle for me, no matter how excited I am about a project) and discovered that I CAN write on demand and turn out something I'm proud of (thanks Tangled Fiction!)
I have made some truly awesome friends who get my obsession over writing and YA.
And I have been humbled and honored by some very kind and encouraging words about my writing.
So what are my goals for this year?
Last year I wanted to bang out the really rough first drafts of two novels. This year that's not good enough for me. I want to complete one really well thought out, solid first draft.
I want to make my current ms the absolute best it can be before it goes out into the world.
I want to write more short stories and on a regular basis, which okay, is a given thanks to Tangled Fiction. But I want these to be stories I'm proud of, not stories I make excuses for like "well, if I had more than a couple days, this would've been awesome!"
As a whole, I just want to keep getting better at writing by actively pursuing ways to do so. Whether it's conferences, retreats, challenging myself to styles/genres I've never written before, whatever.
And of course, I want 2011 to be the year I sign with the perfect agent for me and my book!
What about you? Are you going full steam ahead with a list of resolutions? Setting small goals? Did 2010 turn out like you thought it would?