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Goals, Resolutions, and Other Things in the Try-Fail Cycle

Writers understand the try-fail cycle. We understand it perhaps better than anyone because we know it creates good tension. If the character succeeds the first time they try anything, then where is the tension? Where is the conflict? How is that character to grow?

It’s interesting that we love it in our fiction and hate it in our reality.

Because the try-fail cycle is real. It happens. And it happens to more than just writers. At this time of resolutions, goal setting, and do-overs, I’ve been thinking about my personal try-fail cycle. A friend of mine made an incredible bucket list of goals she had achieved and other goals that were still out there. I loved her list and realized that, on the try-fail cycle, I have failed enough that I’ve been able to succeed too.

That is what comes from not giving up.

And so I am shamelessly stealing this idea  and making my own list. Thanks Melanie Jacobson (Truly, thanks, girl. You rock). The ones with the asterisk are achievements unlocked. The ones in bold are still out there to be achieved.

* See my book in print with my name on the cover

* See my book at Barnes and Noble

See my book in hardcover

* Hit a best seller’s list

* See my book on a bookshelf in another state (thank you, New York!)

* Have my books made into audiobook

* Win a major peer-reviewed literary award

* Get an agent (my agent is awesome)

* Get fan mail (not going to lie, I really love my fan mail)

Get published with Disney Hyperion. (Seriously, I want an acceptance letter with Mickey Mouse on the letterhead. I want it like I want to breathe)

Have a box of my books, printed in a language I can’t read, arrive on my doorstep

* Rock a school visit like a boss

* Have a signing with a line that takes hours to work through (this comes from rocking a school visit like a boss)

Sell movie rights

See my books translated to the silver screen (I’d even eat popcorn to celebrate the occasion—even though movie popcorn always makes me sick)

* Be interviewed by a magazine

Get a starred review

* Speak at Comic Con

* Have one of my hero authors stand in my line and buy my book without any prodding from me

* Teach at a major writing conference

* Go on a multi-state book tour

* Go to BEA

Be sent to BEA by my publisher

See a stranger reading my book in the wild (people tag me with photos of people reading my books in the wild, but I’ve never seen it with my own peepers)

* Be on a favorite’s list at a library

Write all the books that are currently in my head.

Be a force for good in helping other authors.

There aren’t as many bolded items as there used to be, which is awesome. But the thing is that I have rejection letters,  abandoned manuscripts, and reviews that are so not nice that they have become hysterical to me. There were a lot of fails that gave me the privilege of changing a bold wish to an asterisk of accomplishment. Something I got from all this is that it is okay to fall and skin your knee. It’s even okay to fall and skin your heart. That’s what band aids and new days are for.

So whatever your thing is–writer or otherwise– there are goals out there to reach and resolutions to be made to reach them. Go out and try today. Don’t worry about the fail part; it may happen or not, either way is okay. Either way, you grow, stretch, become. Either way, you are on your way. 

“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.” –Walt Disney