Friday, January 13, 2012

Better Late Than Never

As I write this, I am twelve days past due to turn in my latest anthology. If you know anything about me, you should know I have a work ethic that does not include missing deadlines. This is only the second time I've been late submitting a book-- the other time, I was 2 days late because the deadline fell on a weekend. This time, my excuses are holidays and illness, but the truth is that this book has been a challenge since the beginning. I received very few submissions and extended the deadline twice. Many of the stories I received were too similar, too dark or simply didn't fit the guidelines. I begged and pleaded for more stories. I was promised stories that I received long after any reasonable hope I would make my deadline-- and I never received a few stories I was promised from authors who had never let me down before. Ultimately, though, it was my responsibility to wrangle this book into shape by the January 1 deadline and I failed. I spent a number of days beating myself up over it up until Christmas and then I got sick and decided I wasn't going to spend the week between Christmas and New Year's driving myself into the ground physically or missing out on the holiday fun with my family and friends. I asked for, and got, an extension. The book is nearly done, I'm pleased with how it's shaping up and I'm ready to move on to a new project.

What does this have to do with resolutions, you ask? Everything.

Every year, I make resolutions (or goals or a To Do list or whatever you want to call it) and I blog about it--twice. I put my goals down at the beginning of the year and then I reevaluate them at the end of the year to measure how successful (or not) I was. For awhile, my resolutions were based on the year-- 7 in 2007, 8 in 2008. That started to become unwieldy so I stopped. My resolutions have ranged from the very specific (finish my Masters degree, finish my NaNoWriMo novel, etc.) to the vague (do something important, go on a trip, etc.). I didn't make any resolutions for 2011 because on December 30, 2010 I found out I was pregnant with my second baby and it seemed unwise to put anything in writing other than "survive." So I vowed to "roll with the punches" (I believe that was even the title of my resolution blog post) and I did. Boy, did I roll with the punches. And 2011 turned out to be a mostly amazing (if exhausting) year.

I was a week in 2012 before I realized that, despite talking about it, I hadn't made any resolutions. I blame the holidays, illness and the Book That Would Not Be Finished for my forgetfulness. (You could probably add babies and lack of sleep to my list of excuses, if you like.) And then I saw that this week's topic on OGG was "resolutions" and my first thought was, "Oh shit, I'd better think of something."

But I haven't really thought of anything.

Oh sure, I could fall back on some old favorites. "Learn something new." "Take care of my physical and emotional well-being." "Write more." All resolutions I have made numerous times. All I have succeeded at to varying degrees. All pretty damned boring, right?

I could adopt a motto or mantra for the new year, like some people I know. 2012 is Shanna Germain's Year of Yes, for instance. That's a good one. I think I resolved to say "yes" to more things a few years back. I'm not sure I did. Some things, and some people, deserve a resounding, "NO!" after all. I'd love a new tagline or theme song or cover picture or whatever the newest thingy is to convey a change in image or attitude. But I probably should've been working on that for the past few months. Maybe I should start now for 2013, huh?

I've been thinking about author branding a lot in the last few months and how my "brand" is essentially who I really am-- pretty boring again, right? Real name, real life. This is me, for better or worse. But I need outside help with that branding thing, otherwise I'll be inviting y'all over to go through my underwear drawer and it won't be nearly as sexy a chore as it should be for an erotica writer. I could resolve to be... more what other people think I am. That could be good or bad. Some people think I'm fabulous and talented and inspiring and beautiful (and they receive a monthly stipend from me for announcing these thoughts in various venues) and some people think I'm a cold-hearted bitch or, at the very least, not a very nice person. I am probably both, at times. But only when it's deserved, I promise.

If you're waiting for some great revelation of my resolutions, I'm afraid you're going to be horribly disappointed. For one thing, I have 15 minutes before I need to be home and now my mind has drifted away from work (and this is work, no matter how much I enjoy it) and is on its way home to my babies. For another thing, if I learned anything in 2010, otherwise known as the Hardest Year of My Life, it's that you can't possibly know what the universe has in store for you. One year is hell, the next is heaven. Well, not entirely true. Even in the midst of hell there are moments of pure joy and happiness and even while basking in the glow of happiness and success there are difficult days and experiences that make you weep. Life is like that.

And here we are midway through January 2012 and I've already dealt with a couple of major challenges and had some good days and some rough days and been depressed and happy and exhausted and at peace. And I imagine the rest of the year will follow suit. I am hoping it will be as good a year overall as 2011. I am hoping it won't be as physically draining and emotionally difficult as 2010. But these are hopes, not resolutions. I need resolutions since the theme is resolutions!

So... my resolutions: To write. To laugh. To honor all of my commitments and say yes to as many things as I possibly can-- but not be afraid to say "NO!" if it's in my best interest mentally, emotionally and physically. To balance fun and work, but not feel guilty for leaning more toward fun. (Which isn't so hard, since I do love 95% of my work.) To take a few trips. To make a few new friends. To be happy, but most importantly to remember what happy feels like when I'm feeling sad, angry, hurt, lonely, depressed or misunderstood. To roll with the punches, even the sneaky, unexpected, where-the-hell-did-that-come-from punches. To be kind--to children and animals and strangers and those who don't necessarily deserve my kindness... and to myself.

Hopefully sometime before my 45th birthday in May, I will come up with some tangible goals to see me through the second half of my 40s. Until then, Happy New Year! Make the most of it, won't you? I resolve that I will.

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