I could start screaming like a maniac knowing the New Year is breathing down my neck like the proverbial alien in a dark corridor, its acid sputum carving rivulets through my trembling flesh. But I won’t. This is because I have, for the first time in a long time, got plans. They aren’t set in stone (or any other solid material, an anvil say…) but they exist.
Plans feel very much better than the unformed, hazy sort-of notion I went into the beginning of 2011 clutching in my sweaty mitts. I sort of wanted to finish COIL. Quite badly. But it wasn’t a solid plan it was more an ‘oh Hades I better do this before it ends up being this endless single novel I keep nibbling away at and never finish’. Like an Escher staircase, neverending, convoluting stairs stepping on into infinity. Yup, I was driven by my old pal, sheer terror of stagnation. Oh how I loathe that putrescent, bloat bellied toad of a state, watching the world roll on as all around you becomes mired in thick, stinking green goo. Never again, I said, never again, so I vaguely decided I wanted to get COIL done.
But over the past year, after finishing COIL and then redrafting it and after writing some stories that have been and will be published, I have gradually become a new animal. I have become the Ren that plans. See, I’ve discovered I like this whole business of getting stuff done. I like the heady buzz of having work accepted, of seeing my little words in print. I wants more. And if we wants the precious, we’ve got to work hard for it, haven’t we? But you don’t have that happen by sitting around vaguely thinking you want to avoid the thick stench of putrefaction, no indeed. You have to hustle them tail feathers like a Peacock on the pull.
So here are my resolutions, my plans, my guns levelled at the stagnant toad and all his warty minions. Firstly, section one, I have a self-imposed deadline for my current novel CONTORT, because I want to get that puppy finished. I want it redrafted and ready to sub by Autumn, so I’ve got to get it finished so it can lie fallow long enough. Once I’ve finished CONTORT I’ll then be working on either the follow up to COIL or a novel based on characters in a short I’ll have coming out in 2012, perhaps both (or at least one and a good chunk of the other) as my deadline for CONTORT is so tight you could dress a twig in it and still have to take it in at the waist. It’s all about motivation and material. Can’t forge a career without a decent slab of work to flog. It’s gotta be prolific and it’s got to be good. So that’s what I’m going to aim for.
Building on that premise, here’s plan/resolution section numero deux, I want to write at least five short stories this year and get them all published. I say only five but, of course, five stories may end up being more. It all depends on time and the flow of ideas. Also, I’m starting on an easy number as I want these goals to be obtainable, not to mention my reading list, which is plan section three, has exploded so I’ll need to make time for that. That is very important. Writers read, simple as, and I, like many other writers, need books to read as much as I need air to breathe. I’ve been breathing too shallow. Time to fill my lungs (talk about flogging a metaphor to death). So I’ve a list and I’m reading that puppy from start to finish, old authors re-visited and new authors to discover. I’ve already started and I’m loving every word.
Now to plan section four. I’ve wanted to further my degree since I graduated and I’ve been a touch half-hearted and vague about it all. But not in 2012. No sir! I’ve picked for myself a pretty darned sexy course (MPhil to PhD baby, oh yeah) and, this time, I won’t be applying and leaving it be, oh no, I’ll be gunning for that S.O.B like Maverick in a dogfight. If all goes to plan I’ll be starting that puppy p/t in October. I want it so bad I can taste the graduation cloth, by Jimbo! Mmmm, sweet velvet… I’ll also be taking on another serious course, a copy editing/proofreading course, because I want my edits to be the best they can before my work goes to other eyes for further reading or editing and because, hell, I have a shit TON of kickarse writer friends who I want to help to the BEST of my ability.
And that’s attached to the last part of my plan/resolutions. Section five. Continue to blog and use it to not only unleash the faintly rabid contents of my brain upon you poor, helpless creatures but also to highlight the amazing talent I’ve met on twitter and forums. I want to promote the work of others as well as my own, all whilst having an absolute blast! And I can’t help but think that all those sections, one through five, will be exactly like too much fun and far too little like hard work. But that’s what happens when you focus on doing what you love.
So here’s to 2012. Here’s to stepping up to the plate, grabbing dreams by the short and curlies and putting in some hard graft to make them reality. Because that’s the crux of it, isn’t it? Dreams don’t come true because you dream them; they come true because you MAKE them. No more dreaming it for me, I’m being it – and I may even wear stockings and a basque to boot (oh, the horror!).
Dream on, droogs and tell me what you have in store for 2012. What plans and resolutions have you made to step up and take your dreams by the mother effing horns and wrestle them, screaming for mercy, into the cold, triumphant light of reality?