Wednesday, December 22, 2010

...And the Countdown is On...

With intense anticipation, I stare at my wall calendar across from my bed. Only nine more days. Nine. More. Frickin. Days. Left. To this miserable year.You know, the year 2010 really sucked.

Big Time.

In the first half of 2010, I lost a job, my insurance, the house, the van, 3/4 of my possessions and my six front teeth.

The second half of the year brought a diagnoses of diabetes, a major life threatening allergic reaction to medication changes, a bone graft that didn’t take (for my teeth implants), and ended in a grand finale of a ripped Sartorius muscle, the longest muscle in the body – which by the way, left me bed-ridden for weeks and not able to sit for extended periods of time. This latest development will take me a few months to heal.

I call it my ‘parting gift’ from the year that assaulted me. (*insert heavy sigh)

To add salt to my wounds, my three holiday stories that were submitted in 2009 and suppose to be published this holiday, were sent back to me as the e-zine went under in November.

Did I mention the year 2010 sucked?

As I take comfort in my moment of self pity, I remind myself not to forget the good things about 2010. Like finding a small but safe place to live, qualifying for the free mental health drug program for my bi-polar needs and rescuing a half dead kitten who has taught me how to love again.

And even though I was the 2010 poster child for a walking life hazard, I actually met 14 out of 15 goals/resolutions made at the beginning of the year.

Yep. You read that right.

In January, I was a part of a Yahoo writing group who sat down and wrote out writing goals for the year. I was fairly optimistic about the whole thing. After all, 2009 hadn’t treated me too badly. So I jotted down all the things I wanted to accomplish writing-wise during the year. Someone said I was setting myself up to fail, but I didn’t think so. I felt strong enough to accomplish them all.

Here is the list:

  1. Get my website completed (hey, it’s not much, but it’s done!)
  2. Attend at least two writing conventions (I attended three: one in OH, two on-line)
  3. Enter more writing contests (I entered two more than in 2009)
  4. Join a second critique group (I did for a while, then quit both b/c of bickering)
  5. Continue to e-mail authors when I’ve enjoyed their book (total = 87 e-mails )
  6. To do more timed writing (I squeaked by with eight more sessions than in 2009)
  7. To blog somewhere two times a month (I’ve been here since July!)
  8. To take at least one Internet workshop a month (year total = 27 workshops)
  9. Aim to write everyday (some days it was a paragraph, other days ten pages)
  10. Learn a new word every day (I did – just don’t ask me all of them)
  11. Trim down my Yahoo groups to five (easier than I thought)
  12. Trim down my favorite daily websites to ten. (easier said than done, but done)
  13. Only pay for the writing organizations I ACTUALLY use. (It surprised me – yes)
  14. Write at least the first draft of two novels (they sit on my hard drive as we speak)
  15. Submit something to a publisher (…errr…, nope. Nada. Zilch.)

When I look back at this list (in light of all the problems I had), my chest puffs out and I feel damn proud. And if I could do it without further aggravating my hip/groin/thigh/knee injury, I would be doing the ‘Snoopy Dance’ on my desk. Or at least Balki's (from the sitcom Perfect Strangers ) dance of joy or, quite possibly, a rendition of Ren and Stimpy’s ‘Happy Happy, Joy, Joy...’

However, the one that missed the mark – number 15? It glares at me with accusing accuracy that, as a writer, I am a loser and a failure.

Awww, but George! Don’t be so hard on yourself. Look at the other 14!

I have. What I see is me, yet again, procrastinating by accomplishing the little things and not concentrating on the only thing that matter: submitting something to a publisher.

I mean, that’s what a writer does, right? Write and submit. Submit and write. As a writer, you can’t get anywhere if you don’t submit something.

I have a bunch of stuff to submit. In fact, I have had three publishers contact me after a workshop and ask to see the first few chapters of a WIP – and contact me back saying they want the whole thing when I am done.

Yet, I keep going overboard with edits. I place it aside and start something better. I make excuses and sink my time and energy into other things that – yeah, they are important to a point, but do they supersede submitting material to a publisher?

And it’s not really a fear of failure – it’s a fear of success, because when I do it once, I will have to do it again – and what if my sophomore effort is sophomoric and less than desirable? What if I have another physical year like this year and the pressure to balance both writing and living is too much?

What if the Mayan’s calendar is right and the world ends December 21, 2012 – and I still don’t have anything published?

So, for this coming year – for 2011, I, George Allwynn, being of a medicated mind and a buff (in my dreams) body, hereby declare in front of my peers: the only thing I have on my New Years Resolution Goal list is….


Enough said.

May your 2011 be filled with love, peace, prosperity and success.


  1. PS - I read the schedule wrong! This isn't a winter theme thingie. Sorry!

  2. New Year resolutions is kinda winter themed...after all it is in winter :grin:

    I completely get what you're saying and I hope you get those MSs submitted. I happily offer myself as a beta, a cheerleader, a boot to your rear end...

    Happy Christmas, my friend, I hope 2011 is better to you!

  3. George, I just hope that 2011 brings you a healthy year. As for the writing, I simply offer myself: I suddenly realized that I would have a mountain of regret if I did not set myself to completing my novel and attempt to find it a home. Finding that home was the proverbial icing on the cake. Spending all this year actually writing has been more icing. It is, afterall, my favorite part of the cake, so I can take it!!
    If I had not found a home for my novel, it would not be because I did not try. No matter what happens now, I can go to my eternal reward without regret. Gee! I hope they'll have icing there. ;)

  4. Take comfort, George, in a simply New Year's toast I found from Toastmasters. To paraphrase:

    May the new year be better than the last.

    And it sounds like you have nowhere to go but up.