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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

 

Random Writer stuff

First off: the farworld contest . . . . and the winner is: *all* of you who left a comment (now all those who didn’t leave a comment are crying in their Dr Pepper right now because they aren’t getting a book–and yes, I do know who commented before I posted this blog entry, so don’t go thinking you can slide in under my radar).

Jeff Savage has been an incredible friend to me over the years. He’s commisserated when commisserating was needed, kicked my backside when that was needed (though I hate it when he does that), and rejoices with me when I find success. He personally hand delivered my manuscript to his editor and has gone to bat for me more times than I can count.  I pretty much owe him any royalties I might gain from my upcoming release Eyes Like Mine  for all he’s done for me. It is for this reason I am buying all my commenters his book.

I bought a new TV (purchased on eBay for a screamin’ deal) so I can watch Heroes with better quality. With the new TV came an entertainment center (also bought on ebay, the deals keep screamin’) and with these new indulgences came the need to rearrange my living room. Now, anyone who has been in my house, knows that books are stuffed in every available spot (anyone who has been in my bedroom knows Darth Vader is stuffed in every available spot– a measure of my love for Mr Wright.)

The domino effect came into play here as I went from one bookshelf to another, rearranging in an order that makes sense only to me. The entire process took me a couple of days to complete. And I had an amazing epiphany. I own an entire bookcase of signed books by authors whom I not only admire, but count as my dearest friends. The process took a long time because I went through my books and read the messages left there especially for me from people I love.

Inside the jackets of these books were words of encouragement, gratitude, love, and admiration. There were private jokes and things that you had to be there for to think they were funny. I walked away from the experience humbled to know that not only do I call these people my friends, but they call me theirs.

These are the people I call when I get trapped on a bus for three hours with a bunch of eighth graders. These are the people who know me well enough to dub the writer’s insecurity disease Julie Wrightus. These people are among the first to find out when I get rejected, when I get accepted, when I finish a new novel, when my kids lose their teeth.

There are days when I am genuinely sorry I dared to step up and be a writer. There are days when I wonder what it would be like to go back, forget it all, and learn how to cook like normal moms do. But then I shudder. What fool would want to go back and lose so many friends? My kids are okay with days where dad is busy and mom has to cook. But I wouldn’t be okay without those people whose names sit on my bookshelf.  I wouldn’t be okay without the friends I’ve made through conferences and the internet as a direct result of my decision to write.

Thanks guys. All of you!