Earlier this week, I was thinking about my resolutions for this year, and I looked back on some from 2009 to see how I’d done:
1. Run a 5K with my friends, a 10K with my family, and a half-marathon with my husband. Check.
2. Smile and laugh more with my kids. Sort of check. I’ve done better, but there’s still room for improvement.
3. Plant a garden. No check. Failed miserably. Even killed my houseplants. Darn it!
4. Finish one of the books I’ve been writing. Check. I actually finished two. And started two more. Amazing, the time you have when you’re avoiding planting a garden…
This last resolution made me think about how much has changed in the past twelve months. At this time last year, I wasn’t in a great place with my writing. (Notice that my resolution doesn’t say Publish a book, just Finish a book.) Last year, my publisher had just told me that they were no longer interested in my work-in-progress, which I’d written 80,000 words of and which was almost done. The economy was in shambles and they wanted me to do something less risky. They asked me to try my hand at something else…inspirational non-fiction. Non-fiction?!? I’m horrible at non-fiction. And even worse at being inspirational. (Clearly they had not read my blog.)
So I thought of a different fiction idea, and that was kind of our compromise solution. I wrote that book (and felt good about the way it turned out), submitted it, they loved it, and it’s coming out this month. (It’s Being Sixteen, for those who are interested, and it’s published by an LDS/Mormon publisher and has LDS/Mormon characters, just FYI.) It felt good to write that book and at the time I felt like it was the best thing I’d ever written.
And then I turned my focus to another idea, one I’d had since the fall of 2008 and had been dabbling away at now and then. It was an idea triggered by a combination of a middle school memory (if you grew up in the 90’s like I did, perhaps you remember computer-generated “matching” dances) and a conversation that my husband had with his colleagues about marriage and government. The idea turned into a book unlike anything I’d written before. I finished it in August of this year and some really good things have happened since then.
And hopefully, sometime in the new year, I’ll be able to tell more of the details. But for now, I’m just really happy I didn’t quit. Because I thought about it. Very seriously, for a little while. I thought that maybe it was time to put writing on the back burner. I do have young kids, and while I only write when they’re asleep or at pre-school, maybe they would appreciate having photo albums, or a clean house, or, you know, a garden.
We all do this–think about quitting–don’t we? (Don’t we?) But then we realize that we can’t quit, because we’re writers (or dancers, or runners, or musicians, or whatever your passion is), and that’s who we are, so we might as well get used to it. Because whatever happens after, it’s about those moments when you’re doing what you love, and you’re doing it simply because you love it, with no thought about what comes next.