Sunday, January 3, 2010

Resolute without Resolution

“Sally: AND, I'm gonna be forty.

Harry: When?

Sally? Someday.

Harry: In eight years.

Sally: But it’s there. It’s just sitting there like some big dead end. And it’s not the same for men. Charlie Chaplin had kids when he was 73.

Harry: Yeah, but he was too old to pick them up.”

- Film “When Harry Met Sally” 1989

In the last month, I’ve made an effort to peruse more blogs about writing and teaching. I’ve noticed that in the last few days nearly all of them have declared a New Year’s Resolution or list of them* (one was tongue-in-cheek**), which, at first, took me by surprise. I confess that I almost never think about making a resolution until it’s too late. Invariably, someone asks me on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, taking me unawares. “I don’t make them,” is my usual reply.

The truth is that I don’t want to make them. Lose ten pounds? Exercise? Yell less? Organize more? I make these resolutions nearly every day, and then fail to exercise them nearly every day. Each September, when it was “Back to School” time, I’d resolve to be more organized, do all of my homework, and become a straight A student, but it wasn’t until college that I attained these goals.

January 1st is an odd time to make a change because it doesn’t feel much like anything new has started (except for snow), though between Halloween and Christmas, there’s too much excess, making us feel like we should slim down and shape up. But my issues are larger than my appearance (I know, shocking). And my resolution is coming up near the end of March when I hit a BIG birthday. Truth is that for sometime now, I’ve wanted something to change by then, and I’ve been working towards it.

If you’ve read my blog, my goals are obvious: get a full-time teaching job, land an agent, and be bestowed a coveted publishing contract (A decent advance would be nice too). Since last March, when I turned one year shy of the BIG birthday, and had recently started subbing, I’ve been working hard to step up my game on the writing front: editing manuscripts to death, reading books on writing, following advice from agent blogs, and beginning my own blog. I can’t make jobs appear out of thin air, and with a Master’s degree plus thirty credits, I’m not even sure what to do to improve my marketability other than getting known (and doing the best job I can) as a substitute teacher. And although I can’t (legally) force someone to love my query or writing style, I’m being as critical as I can about what I write.

Since I lost my old manuscript exchange partner, I’ve relied on family and friends for feedback. No more. Now I’ve gotten a new partner, and we have guidelines and deadlines. I’m excited to be working with a writer again. Her query blew me out of the water, and so I’m inspired to improve my query. I’ve also resolved to make more contacts (and perhaps start a local critique group. I have all of the paperwork to begin through NESCBWI) in my area, so the conference I attend in the spring will be more fruitful. I’m also on the volunteer list for the NESCBWI spring conference.

There’s a conference in New York this summer for female bloggers, called BlogHer, and I’ve been toying with the idea of attending. Do I have enough followers to even consider it? What do I want out of my blog? What would the conference do to that end? These questions elude me. It’s another expense, and I don’t know if it’s worth it, but I need to decide by February 28th to get a discount. I fear that each attendee would say, “How many followers do you have?” Then they’d ask me about Twitter, and I’d feel woefully out of my league. At least at writers’ conferences, the usual question is, “Are you published?” and since most aren’t, it doesn’t feel like such a failure, though with each passing year, I’m getting more anxious.

I’ve been hearing a lot about blogs asking for six-word memoirs because a book just came out compiling a bunch***, and there was also a call for six-word New Year’s resolutions, which I didn’t know about until it was too late. Mine would be:

Want my life to take off.

Let’s see if I can accomplish this by the end of March.





  1. Wow! You are so focused, organized AND energetic. It is admirable that you keep evaluating your goals and developing a plan to achieve them, especially when you are doing so outside an organizational construct.


  2. There are tons of people who go to blogher who don't even have blogs. It's a pretty open crowd. Plus, if you hate everyone you're in New York so you can just run around town and skip the conference. It's a good thing.

  3. Jenny's right- maybe going to BlogHer will help you clarify what you want out of blogging. If not, find someone else who's feeling shaky on the whole blog thing and grab a drink. Or shop, I mean why go to New York if you're not going to shop?

  4. Thanks, Jenny. I think I'll go at least one day.

  5. Lynda attended BlogHer last year. I believe there are many interest groups and that she had some benefits from going. You can ask her directly about how/if it helped her blog and hear if she has other recommendations.

  6. Cbellabell, I was thinking of the more practical idea that my family lives on Long Island, so I could take the train back, but shopping and drinking would be more fun.

    Knud, I'll contact Lynda. Thank you.

  7. I'm so hesitant about going to BlogHer too. I'm not famous or incredibly comfortable with self-promotion. I can't see myself handing out business cards with my name and url on them. I don't know if I want to feel obligated to take other people's cards. I have a million things on my Google Reader as it is.

    I don't feel comfortable getting drunk in a strange city with strangers.
    I don't want to go with a friend because then I would just pal up with her the whole time and feel slighted that I didn't experience the whole thing fully.

    I'm such a mess.

  8. Now I may try to convince you to meet me there. Let's make sure we don't become "friends" so we don't rely on one another, and, if we go, we'll limit ourselves to two drinks.