Looking back, I find that I have succeeded with my New Year’s resolutions for the past two years.
In 2010, I wrote: “I want to be published. Technically, my goal for myself is to be under contract or published in at least one way. Poetry, short story, novel, whatever. Published or on the way there. It’s happening. This year. I can feel it.” I got my first micro fiction and poetry published by the end of the year, technically fulfilling that goal – even though in all honesty I deep down meant a novel and/or book of poetry.
In 2011, I wrote: “Even though I’ll (not so) secretly be meaning a novel again, this year I resolve to have a piece of flash or short fiction published or under contract by 2012.” I have had one flash fiction and three short stories published this year. I’d say that counts. Success.
But no novel. No book.
This past year brought a lot of “almost” successes. I placed second in the Poetry Society of Texas manuscript contest – which means I almost got a book of poetry published. I had several different agents tell me that they were “back and forth” or “on the fence” about my horror manuscript, but they ultimately passed. And just yesterday I got a personal rejection letter from one of my most admired literary magazines telling me that my submission took so long because they liked my poems a lot and sent them through more rounds of consideration. They admired my work, almost accepted some, but said not this time.
Almost. I’m beginning to really hate that word.
It’s so bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s enormously complimentary. My book of poetry was one of the best. Agents gave me heaps of praise with their no’s. And according to at least some industry professionals, my poems rank up there with well-established poets that I really admire. How could I not be flattered?
And yet, of course, almost is not quite a yes. In fact, it’s quite definitely a no.
So that brings me to 2012. What will be my goals this year? I want to find an agent I love for my novels. And I want to get under contract for one of my poetry manuscripts. But mostly, and perhaps most importantly, I want to escape the almosts. I want to turn them into absolutely-freaking-yeses.
So I’ll try harder. Keep improving. I’m obviously on the right track. I just need to be patient, take my time polishing things and finding the perfect people to send them to, and make them completely irresistible. Screw knocking their socks off; I want to knock their freaking pants off. Metaphorically, of course. It’s a big goal.
But that’s just how I am. If I’m going to set a goal, I’m going to set it high. Aim small, miss small, remember?
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