Tim Pratt's Journal
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2004-01-01 6:47 PM
Talking About a Resolution
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The New Year is an important holiday for me. It's a chance to look back over the past year, reassess priorities, think about the future, and adjust my course. I stayed up all night New Year's eve, reflecting on my present life, thinking about the past months, trying to figure out what's truly important to me. I feel good about the coming year.
And now, as every year, I'll look back on last year's resolutions, and see what I accomplished.
- Be nicer to my body. [Yep. I'm taking more walks, and no longer get winded going up the stairs to my house, and I'm eating better, and drinking a glass of red wine a night, and generally being more healthy.]
- Become more fiscally responsible. [I still have a basically empty bank account, but there were fewer moments of abject financial terror this past year than I've had in the past, and I'm in the process of figuring out a budget, which should help.]
- Keep in better touch with my family. [Still needs work, and I should probably amend it to "family and distant friends."]
- Write better stories. [I wrote "Living with the Harpy" and "Terrible Ones" this year, two of my best, and they required me to push myself in new ways. It was a bad year for false starts, however, with some promising stories started that just trailed off and never got finished -- like the Rangergirl story, and a serpent-woman story that I started at Rio Hondo. I still hope to finish both of those, soon. I'd like to finish my Sigmund story, which I started nearly a year ago, but it's a novella at least, possibly even a novel, so that's one for the back-burner. Most of my attention has been going to the Frog novel in recent months. I also did a very good collaboration with Greg van Eekhout, "Robots and Falling Hearts." I wrote some other good collaborations last year, but "Robots" is, I think, the best of them.]
- Sell more stories. [Seems to be going well. Hell, I sold a collection, which is like selling a bunch of stories all at once.]
- Read more non-fiction.[Yep. Been reading about frogs, jungle ecology, parasites, magical symbolism, and the history of San Francisco, all for the Frog novel (though the parasite stuff didn't really make it in there). And I've got loads of great general nonfiction to read, the books I got for Xmas.]
- Take my poetry more seriously. Try to sell a chapbook. [Looks like there might be a chapbook coming, though poetry is becoming less and less a part of my writing life as my emphasis on fiction increases.]
- Put out an issue of Flytrap. [Did it! And issue two should be out on time, too, barring the unforeseen. I'm as proud of Flytrap as I am of anything I've ever accomplished.]
- Sell Rangergirl, or else get rejected a lot trying. Put some real effort into the process this year! [Well, I didn't sell it, but I got an agent, and went through some serious revisions, and it's now being actively shopped around, which is a step in the right direction.]
- Do more collaborations with Heather. [We wrote "Broken Branches," which is perhaps our best collaboration ever, and worked together on a poem, "Wintering Away."]
- Get an agent. Preferably a good one. [I did, the lovely Ginger Clark of Writers House, and she seems to be quite good, at least in terms of giving me useful, specific feedback on my work.]
- Write a novel, probably the Frog book. [Well, I'm 70,000 words into it, and expect to finish the draft this month, so I didn't quite complete this one, but nearly.]
- Get married, or, at least, make all possible plans for a wedding. [We wound up putting off the wedding until 2005, so this is a bit less urgent, but we are beginning the planning process now. Heather has tons of books on the subject, and is doing the intensive-research thing she does so very well. We've been talking about it. I'm beginning to get excited. Weddings can be one of the major rituals in life, after all, marking one's entry into productive adulthood, and I'm excited about moving into that phase of my life.]
Resolutions for the coming year include the ones above that still require effort (or that are ongoing efforts), and:
- Become a more versatile cook, and cook more often.
- Finish unpacking the millions of boxes in our house, and organize things in general
- Write a story a month. (Might not happen, but I think it's a good goal, and I think I could write a dozen decent stories in a year.)
- Write joyfully.
- Finish the draft of the Frog novel, get some critiques, and show it to my agent.
- Become less haphazard in the management of my money.
Now, a look back. I sold about ten new stories (including three collaborations) and four reprints; I sold half a dozen poems. I wrote seven stories (three of those collaborations), four or five poems, a lot of reviews, and most of a novel. I'm not sure how many words I wrote this year -- I stopped keeping track in September, when I switched over to journalscape -- but probably somewhere around 130,000 words, which isn't too shabby.
Other writing-related accomplishments: Had a story on the final Nebula ballot. Sold my first collection, which was reviewed in Locus and Publisher's Weekly. Attended my first professional writing workshop. Acquired an agent. Won first place for best fiction, poetry, and review in the Strange Horizons Reader's Choice Awards. Published a zine.
Other upheavals: We moved to a new apartment. Went to Wiscon, the Nebulas, and Rio Hondo. Bought a new car. Acquired kittens, and saw them through bouts of illness. Got held up at gunpoint, but didn't get hurt or lose any valuables. Our car was stolen, but we got it back in a couple of days in good shape.
All in all, not a bad year at all. Better than I'd realized, actually, now that I think about it.
Here's hoping next year is even better than the last.
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