What I’m writing: 2019 goals
I’ve been thinking a lot about writing these past few days; where I’ve been and where I’m going next. It’s tempting to make huge, impossible goals for the new year, or to resolve to somehow *be better.* There is an incredibly articulate toddler version of myself that runs around my brain screaming “I’m GONNA write a novel and I’m GONNA get poetry published and I’m SO MAD about it but I’m HAPPY.” I’m going to continue to let her run around at will — she’s in charge of morale. But in terms of actual planning for my future as a writer, my thought process needs to be moderated a little. Let’s start with where I am.
What I’m writing these days:
- Over the holiday season, I wrote Christmas cards.
- I wrote a couple of longer Christmas letters to people I’m especially lovingly close to. In the future, I’d like to make Christmas Letters a real tradition within the family I create, because what better gift exists than that of writing how we feel?
- I wrote a review of a book I really liked
- I wrote three really smashing recommendation letters
- I wrote a list of kids for whom I want to keep track of college acceptances
- I wrote in my journal so much that I changed my mindset and left a lot of bad things behind. Pages upon pages.
- I rewrote the first ~700 words of this novel I’d like to write
- I wrote four poems (are they good? idk)
- I started writing two pieces of an essay about why literature matters (another piece is already written).
So, where to go next:
I’ve been primarily writing poetry since 2017, and while the poems keep coming on like waves, there now seems to be more room for other things. I really would like to write this novel. It’s a Western, it’s psychologically complex, it has a woman protagonist, and it’s going to deal with some historical things I think about a lot. Can I write a novel in a year? Is 2019 “the year of the novel?” Maybe, but I’ve never done that before so I’m not really sure how that works for me. My novels in the past have been long stretched-out projects that take years or don’t make it.
Have you heard of the “85K90 Challenge”? I first read about it on Ari Meghlin’s site, here: “Are you doing the 85K90 Writing Challenge?” but the official website can be found here: 85k90.com. I’m hesitant to start a challenge because it doesn’t quite fit with my writing process, because it would be wrong to prioritize something over my teaching, and because I highly doubt I’ll be ready to actually get published by the end of the year, but I like the concept! Thinking about joining to just see what happens. If anyone has done this I would LOVE to hear about your experience.
Poetry submissions were scary at first, but I think I’ve mastered it (or at least, I’m respectable now). But I need to submit WAY more poetry to WAY more places. So in 2019, one of my goals is to double my submissions. Rejection isn’t fun, but I’ve learned that it feels better if I have multiple irons in the fire at all times.
And in 2019, I’d like to write more essays. One of my favorite things that I’ve ever written was the last essay I wrote alongside my AP Lang class last year. I’ll probably pull that out in the next month or two and edit it, then decide if there’s anywhere that would be a reasonable fit. I’m not sure how to become an essayist except “be Annie Dillard,” but I enjoy piecing things together and thinking about a particular problem in nonfiction form.
- Connect with more writers who actually do the kind of writing I do.
(which is what? okay, point taken)
- Go to a writing conference or retreat or take a class.
- Fill up a big notebook
- Finish more short pieces of prose and practice good revision.
- Continue to write alongside my students, which is one of my favorite things to do.
- Write more on the blog — and hey, if I started a “tiny letter,” would anyone read it?
What are your writing goals? Want to be my writing friend? Give me a comment; I’d love to follow you.