New Year's is one of my favorite holidays. I like the idea of celebrating newness and change. I like the idea of resolutions, of thinking about the future differently, of dynamism. Some people are averse to change- I welcome it, I thrive on it. It terrifies me, yes, the way rollercoasters terrify me. In a good way.
So, of course, my New Year's resolution begins with writing. I've been kicking around my thoughts for the past few days, but this morning, as I was about to have a temper-tantrum and chuck my laptop out the window, I realized that I was actually going to have to take action. I had been thinking about the same old, "push myself harder" and "take risks," but this morning I realized that I need to make a change not in thought, but in actions. I have to change my entire writing process for this new novel. And THAT is terrifying. Not rollercoaster terrifying, but face-to-face with a T-Rex wanting to eat you terrifying. (note, I've never actually had this experience, but I assume that being face-to-face with anything wanting to eat you would be somewhat unnerving...)
I've written two novels in the past three years. The actual process was relatively the same. It was hard, sure, but I was writing, basically, about elements I was comfortable with. Gun fights, car chases, you know... Small town grit lit, which I love, but have also become somewhat adept at. Now, I'm doing something very different. I had thought I was just going back to re-write my very first, self-published novel from years ago. My plan was simply to spruce it up and redeem myself.
Fact: I have no concept of the term "simply."
So now I am writing an epic novel that I've realized is most likely going to take me two years, more research than I ever did in grad school and require a new way of thinking about writing. My epiphany this morning was that I am going to have to re-design my entire first draft process. I'm looking into story boarding, for starters. I can't expect to write this novel in the same way that I wrote the other two, because it isn't anything like the other two. So, back to the drawing board.... It's going to be a wild year. In my head, at least.
Aside from all the writing nonsense, I hope to continue to champion other authors. If there's anything that I've learned during this past year, it's that authors need to stick together. We need to lift one another up, read each other's work and provide hope, encouragement and support to one another. Having my first novel come out this year was brilliantly exciting, but also frustrating and daunting. I was blessed to have authors I've never even met in person make themselves available for emails, phone calls and Twitter cheer sessions. I've learned so much this year from those who have come before me and I hope that in some small way I can help others in the same way that I've been helped.
As for the world, I think we should never underestimate the importance of kindness. I hope that I, and others, can remember that.