Back to Business.

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
~Edith Lovejoy Pierce


January has always been one of my favorite months. Is it cold? Yes. Is it icy? Yes. Is it snowy? Yes. But it’s also something else. It’s a fresh start, a time when we can look forward to the future with nothing but pure, unabashed hope. We can allow ourselves to dream, to wish, to entertain our heart’s deepest desires and most fervent promises. The past is important, yes. It’s a patchwork of all the lessons we’ve learned and all the memories we hold most dear. We should celebrate that, treasure it. We should also use it to propel us forward. After all, how can we reach new heights if we just stand still? January seems to symbolize all of this and more. It’s an opportunity to write our own stories – or, in some cases, add the next chapters. We’re given 365 blank pages at the start of every year. How we choose to fill them, what words and pictures we choose to use, is filled with possibility.

So, even though I’m not a fan of those broad, sweeping resolutions, even though my motto is to take things day-by-day and make each one the best it can be, I do have some goals that I’d like to act as bookends for 2011. In terms of writing:

-Sign with an agent and take this passion for being a published author to its next point on the journey (and yes, I realize this is not exactly within my control, but the individual steps to actively make it happen are, so I’m including it)
-Write the sequel to Reflections of Me (SO. RIDICULOUSLY. EXCITED. FOR. THIS.)
-Write another manuscript based on my newest idea (inspiration gleaned from an experience at the mall – it really is everywhere!)

To that end, I’m back on the querying trail as of yesterday. It felt strange to take a two-week break over the holidays, but with so many agencies closed, I figured it was for the best. And, you know, as much as it drove me up a wall not to be working on those queries, it was actually refreshing not to have my heart leap to my throat every time I checked my email. Getting to jump back into it, full force, now … it’s reinvigorating. It’s rejuvenating. It’s reminded me all over again how passionate I am about Reflections of Me. I believe in this story. I believe in it so much that it hurts. And I won’t stop until somehow, someway, it’s out there in the world.

2011 stretches before us, a wide road that leads … well, who knows? Maybe that’s the beauty of it. Maybe the twists and turns will lead to something beautiful just around the bend. After all, sometimes the unexpected is what ends up changing our lives the most. Falling back in love with this kind of creative writing was unexpected for me. Both my novels were, in that the ideas for them popped into my head randomly and then wouldn’t – maybe couldn’t – leave. They were meant to find me, and I was meant to find them. I don’t know where the road will lead or what will fill the pages of this year’s book. I don’t know what the conclusion will be. What I do know? We can turn our can’ts into cans. We can turn our dreams into plans. We can turn our hopes into goals. And along the way? We can fill those pages with bright words and bold pictures that last a lifetime.

What about you? If you could turn one wish into reality, take one goal to its finish line this year, what would it be?


10 thoughts on “Back to Business.

  1. My goals are definitely similar! I have to finish this story, edit the heck out of it, and then send it out into the harsh world of querying and hope it doesn’t get too beat up! Wow, that sounds so much like parenting a child! :p I can’t believe you wrote two novels last year, by the way! I know you can accomplish your writing goals for this year!!!

    • Doesn’t it?!? There really is so much truth to the idea of a novel being like a baby (although not as cute, perhaps!). It’s hard not to want to shelter it out there in the querying world. I’m so excited for you, Orchid, and all the journey that’s to come. I can’t wait to hear all about it.

      Oh gosh, and I know! Sometimes I just have to stop and let it sink in. Though, that’s the plan for this year, too. Maybe it can become the norm? And thank you!! :-)

    • Thank you! :-)

      It’s a tricky place to be, isn’t it? On the one hand, you know exactly what you want, without a shadow of a doubt. On the other one, though, actually having that happen is beyond your control. You’re definitely right about not becoming complacent. I feel like there’s always something we can do to actively move toward our goals. We may not be able to take them entirely into our grasp, but as long as we’re taking those steps in the right direction … well, I guess that’s all we can ask for!

  2. I really needed to read this, Shari. You always inspire me so much. I am in total awe of your commitment to your writing journey. I wish I could be as committed as you are to it. I love writing more than anything in the world, and if I could, I would move to a NYC loft apartment and do nothing but write, but I can’t. And it’s really difficult for me to discipline myself to find STRUCTURED time to write amidst my incredibly busy day to day life. I get so frustrated sometimes because I just feel like I can’t pursue my writing the way that I want to because of time and money constraints. I do know, though, that if I really want it, and I do, I HAVE to schedule time to write into my days, no matter how overcommitted I already am. I need reminders often of how important it is to pursue my dreams no matter what, and you never fail to be those reminders for me.

    I know this year is going to have wonderful things for your writing journey, and I can’t wait to see every step unfold and root for you the whole way! <3

    • Well, it’s a two-way street then, because I can’t begin to tell me how much you inspire me too, both by your words and the way you live your life. You give so much of yourself to others – and you do it naturally, maybe without even realizing what a precious gift it is. It’s a wonderful, special thing. I only wish there were more hours in a day, though, because you deserve that time for yourself, too. You know, I think you are EVERY bit as committed to a writing journey as I am. That commitment comes from within, and it’s not measured by how much time you have to work. It’s measured by determination, which you obviously have in spades. Your NYC idea sounds like heaven. Can you imagine being able to live like that, and do nothing but write, write, write? Talk about a dream come true :-)

      Every writer is different, of course, but for me, setting aside that structured time to work on it is definitely key. I write at the same time each day – early morning while the world is still (mostly) quiet, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The rare days when I do allow myself to take a break, something just feels like it’s missing. You’re so, so busy all the time, so it makes complete sense that it’s harder for you to fit that structured time in. Maybe if you could find an hour a day to start? And then see how it develops from there?

      Sometimes I think of myself as too optimistic, but then I figure – if I don’t fight for my dreams, who will? People like you inspire me every day. I’m rooting for you, too, and I look forward to seeing all the amazing things you’ll continue to do <3

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