I know. We’re nearing the end of June. Which means that 2021 isn’t exactly new anymore. For A LOT of us, 2021 is going twenty times better than 2020. I mean, this time last year, I was working part time at the library with the overcast of knowing the job I scored at the zoo got cancelled because of Covid. I was querying agents quite a bit and getting nothing but rejections in reply. It was a really low point for me. When your dream of working with cheetahs gets crushed because of a stupid virus, and you’re stuck working part time shelving books, and you’re getting nothing but rejections from agents, it’s easy to think you’re life has no purpose. Now, it’s 2021, Covid is almost over (*crosses fingers and says a prayer*), I work at an animal shelter with some pretty awesome coworkers, and I’m taking a break from querying. I’m confident things will turn around, and I’m most confident about completing my New Year’s Resolution.
The new year’s resolution. Do you remember what yours is? With the start of each new year, everyone is so excited for changes and hopeful for aspirations that we sometimes can set pretty high resolutions. Then, the middle of the year comes and most people have fallen off the resolution train. So what about you? What was your resolution? Write more? Read more? Get fit? Eat healthy? Do more of your hobbies? Go somewhere new? The list goes on and on and on. How are you doing on your resolution? If you’ve fallen away from it, it’s not too late to get back to it.
Here’s why I say that: my new year’s resolution was to 1. write everyday and 2. finish the “first draft” of the sequel to my completed novel. (I put first draft in quotations because it’s been completed before, but it was BAD. That draft will stay buried in the deep dark files of my computer.) So, I haven’t been writing everyday, but I’ve come to realize that writing everyday can cause you to burn out, especially if you’re stuck in some chapters like I was. The latest draft of my sequel was halfway done when I started this year. However, I chopped a chunk off because I didn’t like the way it flowed. So, it was about a third of the way done. Fast forward to when I start writing and I’m struggling like a fish on a hook.
My main character is supposed to meet a new culture of people in the span of a few chapters and I found myself with a lot of variables that I have to somehow weave together. In my mind, it was simple: angry boy meets angry boy, betrayal, accusation, misdirection, history is revealed, angry boy 2 gets slapped, escape, and I move on to the sections of the story I actually know how to write. Well, everything I was trying to fit together happens in the span of three chapters and I have lost track of how many versions of those three chapters I have written in my notebook. I couldn’t get my hands to write the perfect scenes for these chapters and it was becoming so frustrating and discouraging, that I quit.
I quit. I quit on my sequel. I quit on my characters. I quit on my new years resolution. I moved on to writing a different novel. One that I thought had more chances of success than my uncooperative sequel. I was probably halfway through my sequel if I went with any of the versions of those frustrating chapters and with the way I was struggling to complete the last one, I didn’t think there was enough time left in the year to get the entire novel finish. I kept trying to tell myself to just get something on the page. It’s the first draft it’s not going to be perfect! I mean, my first novel got completely rewritten seven years after starting it. Then, there’s that quote that you hear of “write the first draft with your heart then edit with your head,” but I could not get myself to do it…
Fast forward to my discussion with best-selling author Julie Lessman. I don’t know what it was about our talk, but when I came home, I took a look at my sequel again. I probably wrote 100 words the first day. Then, 500 the next. Then, 700. 1000. I got the first draft of those frustrating chapters completed ( don’t know how I feel about them, but they’re DONE. I’ll revise them later!). In the next few days, I got the chapter after them completed, and I’m already halfway through the next chapter. Now that I’m on to the parts of the story that I’ve been excited for since the beginning, I think it’ll all be downhill from here (which is quite literally for my characters if I think about it). I’ve got half a year left. I think it’s more than possible to complete my new year’s resolution.
So, it’s never too late to get that resolution complete. Whether you want to write more, exercise more, read more, do more, go more places, do something new, so on and so forth, it’s possible to achieve those goals you had at the start of 2021. If you didn’t have a new year’s resolution, it’s not too late to start. This year is already better than last year, right? So, you’re already ahead.