I’ve written before (I think) that there are two times during the year when I start looking forward. One is in September, the traditional start of the school year – at least in my memory. The other, of course, is January.
January in Pittsburgh usually brings cold weather and snow. I’m not overly fond of snow if I have to go out in it. I’d much rather sit in front of a fire and read. Or write. But if all I have to do is look out the window at an unbroken field of white, I can appreciate the beauty. When the snow is newly fallen, the possibilities are endless. It’s not all churned up with mud and gunk. It’s pristine, ready to be sculpted or molded into whatever the imagination can come up with. You know were I to be that kind of person.
January is kind of the same. New month. Named after the god Janus, January offers the opportunity to reflect on what I’ve accomplished (the face looking backward to the old year). But it also ushers in a new year. New goals. An unbroken field of white, ready to be sculpted and molded. That is the face looking forward.
I haven’t really analyzed my 2015 goals yet, nor have I really set down 2016’s roadmap. I know this year will bring Big Plans. I’m moving into the second phase of my querying journey for And Corruption for All (previously titled Every Other Monday is Murder). I entered another novel in a contest. There will be decisions to make come April/May that will depend upon what happens in the first quarter.
My friend Amy (I’ve talked about her before, I know I have) often talks about living an authentic life. For her, it’s distance sports. But for me, being authentic means writing. And part of writing means sharing. And after a Christmas spent thinking about what I want out of 2016, I’ve decided I want to be authentic. In my writing. In my relationships. It means changing the way I share on social media. It may lead to a change in how I decide I’m going to share my stories. Because I want to share those stories. I think most writers do and I look with a deep degree of suspicion on any writer who says, “I don’t care if anyone ever reads what I wrote.” Of course we care. I write for myself – but I write to share with others. I don’t write to make big bucks (although making a bit of cash would’t insult me). I don’t write for fame. But sharing does not equate to money and fame. You can share and not make a dime.
I guess I have thought about my goals for 2016. I want to have an authentic life. I want to be bold. I want to explore. I want to take my writing to a new level. And I want to share it with the world.
Or to quote Neil Gaiman:
May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
Mary Sutton | @mary_sutton73