Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were safe, peaceful, and festive, not necessarily in that order.
As I was coming up with a list of resolutions, one of them (which is no longer on this list, because it was too personal) reminded me of a song by my favorite band, Frightened Rabbit. To keep my interest in a task that took HOURS, I decided to name each resolution after an FR song.
NOTE: In most cases, the songs' meanings have nothing to do with the resolution; it's the titles that apply. "Fast Blood," for instance, is not about running. Heh.
Without further ado, because further ado is so boring, here they are:
1. "Old Old Fashioned." Don't laugh, but I use a paper DayPlanner to schedule my tasks. It works, when I use it. Problem is, I only used it 87 out of 366 days last year. This year I'd like to double that.
2. "Scottish Winds." In 2013 I will finish writing Zachary's novella, "Shattered," and publish it in May. I'll then write Martin's (as-yet-untitled) short story and publish it in August. The latter will take place in Edinburgh, where I'll be traveling in June, finances permitting.
I'm VERY excited, as I think "Shattered" will be one of the best things I've ever written. I'm also quite nervous, as readers will discover that Zachary is far from the perfect boy they think he is.
(For the sake of completeness, I should mention that Logan's story "Bridge" will be rereleased as a "single" in February. You can see covers for his and Zach's works on the announcement post over at Kilt and Keeley.)
3. "Off." This wistful sequel to "Old Old Fashioned," from FR's new EP, is about disconnecting from electronics and the internet and reconnecting with the one we love. I'd like to expand this to include family and friends and myself. And, you know, the books.
When I was on deadline, I got into a good rhythm--in the morning, rather than hopping online, I would read a research book pertinent to Sekrit YA Novel. After about an hour, I'd be itching to write, because my head would already be in that world, mulling over my characters' problems.
So for the month of January, while I'm doing intensive line edits for Sekrit 2014 YA novel, I'm going to stay offline until at least 4pm, aside from answering urgent email. If it goes well, it'll be the new habit.
4. "Swim Until You Can't See Land." Now that I've wrapped up two series and have no novels releasing in 2013 (my Sekrit YA Novel will be out in early 2014), I can write anything I want. The freedom makes me giddy. I have an idea for a YA contemporary romance trilogy that I might try to sell on proposal, but I'm not sure I've exhausted the urge to write stand-alones. There's a murder mystery, and a quirky love story, and a middle-grade-idea-that-I-want-to-make-YA-because-I-don't-want-to-write-middle-grade, and another quirky love story. All rapping at the inside of my skull, wanting to come out.
Either way, don't expect any new book deals from me until at least the second half of 2013. It's a year of exploration and rebuilding, and while most writers tell me they'd find the lack of security terrifying, I see it as an opportunity. I might write something really Big and Unexpected. Or something really small and unexpected. The key is to write according to no one's expectations but my own.
5. "Fast Blood." When I was growing up, I wasn't strong or coordinated, and was usually picked last or next to last for team sports in gym. But I could run fast, and sometimes even run far. It felt amazing then, and every once in a while, it feels amazing now.
I started the Couch-to-5K program a few weeks ago. My goal is to run a 5K in the first half of the year, then a 10K in the second half. Will I ever run a marathon? (Dunno.) Will I ever win a race or even place in the top half? (Dunno.) Will I burn enough calories that I can have a donut every day? (Yes, I very much hope so.)
Mostly, I'm running to run, and after I finish that first 5K race, I'm rewarding myself with a tattoo on my lower calf that says, simply, "courir." That's French for "to run." (Why it has to be in French I'll explain eventually.) As a bonus, anyone running behind me--assuming anyone ever IS running behind me--can be inspired, too. Assuming they read French.
6. "Living in Colour." One of my least favorite aspects of writing is visual description. My characters are naked mannequins in white rooms until nearly the last draft. I want to focus on the quality of my descriptions this year, whether it means doing writing exercises or taking an art course or even just having a point-of-view character who is a visual person, like a painter or a photographer or a detective. Or just give up and make them legally blind like me (note to self: character loses glasses for entirety of novel. Hilarity and heartbreak ensue).
7. "Nothing Like You." This means further reducing my preoccupation with comparing myself or my books/characters to those of other authors. I've made a lot of progress on this the last few months, now that I'm writing a novel that is completely different not only from anything I've ever written before, but from anything I've ever read before. What's the point of comparing myself to those who have been my "competition"? They're doing their thing, I'm doing mine, and it's all good.
(Either that or I just don't give a shit anymore. Maybe this is all apathy disguised as serenity. But it's more likely that I've already had a taste of #4, where I'm writing for myself and the characters and forgetting anyone else's expectations.)
8. "Fuck This Place." This song is about those parties you go to because you're expected to make an appearance, not because you really want to. That's how I feel about most book-related outings, except that when I get there, 99% of the time I enjoy myself immensely and can't figure out why I dreaded it in the first place. So I agree to more appearances, dread them to the point of nausea, drag myself to them wishing I'd never made the commitment, then have a blast. And so on.
But "This Place" the title refers to is this blog. Unlike booksignings and conventions, I don't enjoy it once I'm doing it, and I fear it shows. The last year or so, it hurts my brain to have to organize my thoughts in a coherent fashion for something other than fiction. It hurts my heart to fake cheerfulness I don't feel. And it hurts...I don't know, my butt?--when I should be doing something active, like running or housecleaning or spontaneously dancing to an irresistible song like #6.
I love doing the SHADEboys tumblr, so I started my own tumblr. Tumblr is quick and spontaneous, and lets readers ask me questions directly, which is a lot more fun and interactive. Like Twitter, but less ephemeral. Like blogging, but less energy-sucking.
Wow, I guess this is my last post on this blog for a year. I hope you've enjoyed it. May your New Year be bright and prosperous and full of all the books and music you love!