Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolutions - The Novel!

Upon reviewing last year’s resolutions, (listed here if you want to point and laugh; I did. I did not do as well as I hoped. Maybe the point is to have a goal in the first place and no so much the achieving it, but I rather like the feeling of doing both.

Last year, I had resolutions in three categories: Personal, Health, and Career. I had dropped Romance from the previous year’s list because I felt that some things must be left to the Universe. There are interesting things developing on that front, but I’ll leave it at that.

One major change this year, I’m moving my Writing Goals from Personal category to Career. I’d like to make some kind of money from writing eventually; therefore, it makes more sense to slide that one to the Career Column.

All right, so here is my 2010 Year in Review and my New Year’s Resolutions for 2011, in very particular order:

Personal Resolutions
Last year, we resolved to cut back on our TV viewing from two hours to one hour during the school week. We succeeded in that, more or less. We lost Lost and filled the gap with Glee (yay!) and Big Bang Theory. One way in which we did not succeed, though, is that we frequently stayed at my parents’ house to watch Raising Hope after Glee, which put us over our viewing limit.

This year, we’re going to have to compromise. Instead of one hour, we’ll split the difference and limit ourselves to ninety minutes of TV. But, we must not get sucked in to So You Think You Can Dance or there goes our whole game.

Last year, we went to Paris during Spring Break. It was the trip of a lifetime. I guess if this was a score card, we’d get a check in that category.

Our Travel Goal this year is a road trip we’re calling 12: Twelve states and Canada from the point of view of a 12-year-old. We are going up the spine of the Rockies to Yellowstone, then into Banff, and back down to Texas through the Midwest. We are going to stay in family hostels along the way so that we can enjoy some of the towns on a personal level, which is what Katya really likes to do.

Our Finance Goal last year was Be Even More Generous! I learned year before last that I never regret giving. Rather, it’s the times we didn’t give that haunt me. I’m keeping this as a lifetime goal: When in doubt, give.

Now the Reading Goal. Last year, I set a minimum of 36 books because I had read 38 last year. This year, I reached the all-time personal record of 46 books! ( I ventured out of my normal comfort zone of fantasy and realistic fiction to include many Young Adult series, which I have enjoyed immensely. This year, I’m upping the minimum to 40 books, and I’m adding that one of them must be Mansfield Park, the final Jane Austen title to complete the goal of reading all of her works.

Health Resolutions
Epic fail in this category. Not only did I not meet any of my goals, I dropped my diet and exercise routines. I have become – eee, I cringe as I type this – sedentary. I quit Curves due to time constraints. I quit the Paleo diet because, well, I got lazy. Same goes for the yoga. If there is a category that needs a kick in the tush, this is it.

This year, I joined a diet and exercise site called It helps you track food stats, exercise, and personal habits so that you can target areas of need. For instance, I know I eat enough sodium to kill slugs and that my fat calorie ratio is an indicator for heart disease. Another bonus to the site is that it helps you set and track realistic health goals.

So in 2011, I’ll be using that site to achieve these goals: One, I’d like to return my BMI to 25. I will lose eleven pounds I’ve gained back over the last two years. Also, I want to run in the Capital 10K with my work friends, so I’m working on a running schedule to prepare for that.

As far as the Paleo Diet goes, I’m going to return to it as I did the first year I adopted it – by eliminating foods from our diet one at a time each month, starting with potatoes, then wheat-based products, and then yellow cheese. Most of the good habits we instituted with way of eating are still with us, so we’ll just target the ones we’ve let slide. With Katya entering adolescence, it’s even more important that she continue healthy habits. She’s what it’s all about.

Career Resolutions
Last year, my primary Writing Goal was to fill one speckled composition notebook each month. I filled ten. The September 2010 notebook is still in my purse, half full, and I have another notebook from class that is full, but much of it is writing prompts I’ve worked with students, so those don’t really count.

I’m keeping this goal because even though I didn’t achieve the twelve I set out for, I still did write a lot – four more than I did in 2009. Katya continues to out-write me in terms of volume and quality, which is amazing and inspiring, so I’ll follow her lead.

Another Writing Goal was to query agents and submit my novel Reprieve for possible publication. Daunting, yes, but I did submit the novel to two agents and managed to create a whole database of agents to query in the future. Sadly, Reprieve got rejected, and I was deeply wounded, but I’m not giving up. I believe it’s a strong book destined for publication.

My goal this year is to keep submitting. Due to the time-consuming nature of this process, though, I’m reserving the task for the summer. I will send three queries a month in June, July, and August.

Two other things that occurred in 2010 that I would like to keep in 2011: Katya and I participated in April’s Poem-A-Day Challenge and National Novel Writing Month in November. We both achieved our goals for those months, and we had a lot of fun doing it.

As for the goal to find a publishing outlet for Katya’s novel, that got sidelined because she decided to re-write it. That led her to getting the opportunity to read an excerpt at the Texas Book Festival in Austin, where she met and spoke with great authors who gave her invaluable advice. Katya met some of her favorite authors this fall at Book People and at the Texas Teen Book Festival with the awesome girls from the Ann Richards School. We’ll keep searching for a suitable venue for Katya’s stories, even if we self-publish.

If I placed 2009 and 2010 side by side, I would judge 2009 as the better year. Even though we lost some dear family members in 2009, we suffered greater losses in ’10. We lost our sweet Papa in June, and my Dad lost his job in October. Katya and I also made some grand changes to our living arrangements, which have led to some adjusting. But overall, we have enjoyed good health, great family, strong friendship, and stability. At least we can say 2010 was an eventful year, and now we’re looking forward to shiny new 2011.