In police scanner codes, 10-20 is location. “What’s your twenty” means Where are you? And for some reason the year 2010, when said twenty-ten, feels like a call for a similar status update. What’s your 20-10?
I’ve been thinking about my location, about where I am and where I hope to go starting from this place. Realizing a few days ago that my resolutions for the new year need some meaty gals and agendas attached to make them real has created a bit of a struggle; I know what I want to do but can’t really lay out the plans without more research. This makes the resolutions seem vague enough to avoid – especially when I’m still crowded with other time constraints at the moment – and at the same time they sound more like wants and needs rather than actionable items.
Nonetheless, at my current 20, this is what I’m thinking about for the coming year.
An agent. I need an agent to represent my writing. I have waffled about the idea of hunting down an agent for years, wanting to feel more involved in really pitching my stories, but one of my mentors told me something recently I’d never heard or considered. Agents shield writers from rejections. If I have an advocate on my behalf able to ease me into the rejection process, the idea somehow doesn’t seem scary.
Goal: An agent by April 1st.
Three new books by the end of the year. This is possible because I’ve done the math in my head. Weekly page goals are more than possible. Even if I take my worst month during this last semester as a guide, I would still be able to finish a manuscript within eight or nine weeks and still have time for quality revision. It’s ambitious, but I’ve been holding onto some of these stories for far too long. They need to get out.
Goal: A new book-length manuscript by each of the following deadlines – April 30th, August 31st, and December 31st.
Find a writing partner and a critique group. This is tricky because I’ve rushed into bad critique groups in the past and it actually was worse than having no support network at all. Given the number of people in my grad school program this might already be partially settled, but I’m having a hard time giving myself hard and fast rules for when this should be in place by. So I’m going to call this an ongoing effort with the hope that it’s accomplished sooner than my deadlines.
Goal: Writing partner by June 1st, critique group by December 31st.
Three is a magic number so I think I’ll stop here with the goals for 2010. I have other things that fall more into the lines of wishes and desires – things like doing more photography, making more art, maybe even learning a musical instrument – but as much as they would feed the soul they will not crush me if they didn’t happen. No, I think these three goals are solid enough to keep me busy and able to look back this time next year feeling like I’d done what I set out to do.
That’s where I’m at.