Monday, March 3, 2008

The 10 year plan, revisited

No tremendous news to report on Novel 2 - 2 partials rejected with kind words, one more full requested, but no real dustups on either side of the reject/accept coin.

My 26th birthday is coming up (March 8, actually, send happy thoughts my way!) and this, coupled with my attempts to tame my home office, have sent me into some deep thinking. Many moons ago, when I turned 20, I drew up a ten year plan for myself. This plan has survived 2 hard drive crashes and 3 computers, which is more than I can say for most of my files (Obviously, something in the universe wants me to remember how stupid I was at 20) and it’s pretty funny (not to mention humbling) to look at now.

According to my timeline, my fourth book was supposed to be coming out this month. To put that in a little perspective, I was also supposed to be working for a high powered design firm and living on the west coast. As it is I'm married and living in the same town where I went to college. Marriage wasn't even ON my plan!

So I've fallen just a little bit short of my starry-eyed aspirations, but I didn't miss them entirely. I have written 2 books, each better than the next, and I'm still writing daily, which is more than I could say for myself at 20 (those early years were heavy on the talking about writing and light on the actual writing bit).

The best part of my ten year plan, though, is the finale: "2012: Quit job to work as a novelist full time."

Well, it's not 2012 yet, I've still got time to finish big! But to do that, I've got to actually sell something, which means I have to write something people want to buy, which means I have to write, and I have to write well. There's the catch. Over the last six years I think I’ve proved that anyone with a little discipline can apply butt to chair and write a beginning, middle, and end. But when life is so short, and 20 to 26 passes before you realize it, you being to understand that more is needed. It’s not enough to write a novel, it’s not even enough to write a good novel, I have to create a story that’s worth my time to tell it, a reader’s time to absorb. I didn’t hit that in my first novel. I did better in my second, but there are still plenty of places where I leaned on convention and didn’t offer anything truly new. Maybe by 2012 I’ll have it down, maybe I’ll hit it in the novel I’m working on right now. Who knows? All I can do is keep trying, keep writing, and then, maybe, when I really do reach the end of the obsolete 10 year plan, I’ll be able to look back at my decade of fumbling in the dark and see that, even if I’m not where I though I should be, the view is worth it all the same.

1 comment:

cindy said...

i have yet to get a request beyond the partial, so yay you! i think it's great you've got two full requests out there! and you are so young! happy belated birthday! i hope to publish my first novel by the time i'm 40. so 2013.