Friday, November 18, 2011

One step closer to the funny farm...

I have to frequently remind myself that this business is a slow dance, interspersed with long pauses. This is a source of much frustration for me. Long time readers will know of my chronic impatience. It is a benign tumour that cannot be safely or permanently excised, that provides constant reminders of its existence, pressing on my rational brain. Either a benign tumour or a curse. Both fit.  When expectations developed in eons gone past are finally realised, I know I should be patient. But this understanding has the half life of a whisper and then I am back to my impatient self. And when the only distraction is the annoying, political arse-hattery of the upcoming election it is enough to drive me a little crazy. I am one step closer to the funny farm.

Best of 2011 Lists are emerging all over the place in the run up to Christmas. Big congratulations to all my kiwi compatriots who appear! - Maria Gill, Kyle Mewburn, Brian Falkner, Donovan Bixley and Ruth Paul. The House That Went to Sea made it on to the Storyline's Books for Christmas Giving Lists - whoop, whoop! I dream of making it on to more lists. As my rational brain knows this can take time. Maybe next year. Every year I adjust my goals depending on what has gone before. Get published was superseded by get published more than once which has been superseded by get published in different age ranges which has been superseded by get published in other formats and other countries. And of course now 'have books appear on lists'. I haven't achieved all of these yet so there are things to work on. I hope you keep your goals and ambitions fresh. Its that time of year. Sometimes they just need a little lip gloss applied, sometimes just a pinch of the cheeks, but sometimes you need to clean it all off and start again. After all, when that eyeliner smudges it can look a little ghoulish.

Remember, goals aren't just about an end product. Goals should grow your career. Goals should be about personal growth as well as career growth. Goals should nurture and take care of you as well as move you forward. Don't play it safe. Do something that scares you but not something that you don't want to do. I leave the bungy jumping to the thrill seekers - being a writer with a dislocated hip would not be my idea of personal development. Make sure that scary thing is something you've always secretly wanted to try. Maybe its saying hello to an author or illustrator you admire at next year's Storyline's Margaret Mahy Day. Maybe its showing your manuscript to a stranger for their advice. Or sending it out to that publisher. Maybe its doing a school visit or an author talk. Or presenting a workshop. Maybe its turning your manuscript into an e-book. Maybe its attending an overseas writing conference. When I look over that list I appreciate how many scary things I have done over the last few years. Maybe 2012 will be my year off scary things. My goals for 2012?

1) Do another university paper towards my Diploma of Children's Literature
2) Find a way to be involved in NZ Book Month (although I try and behave like every month is NZ Book Month)
3) Find a way to be involved in NZ at the Frankfurt Book Fair (even if its just talking a lot about it on interweb and trying to get some of my books there)
4) Finish rewrite on Jack the Viking: Magnetic North and publish in digital form (yes sorry I dropped the ball on this one this year)
5) Finish current projects
6) Have a decent holiday
7) Keep fit
8) Make more time

This list is not complete. After a year of unexpected things I am not sure whether 2012 will be the same. I feel like I have enough to keep me busy without adding more. That was one of my problems this year. I thought I would tick a lot of things off the list I made for 2011. So this year number 8 is a priority.


Maureen Crisp said...

Given what you achieved this year I'm sure you will find a way.....
IBBY will probably need your talents on the ground!

Melinda Szymanik said...

Are you trying to give me nightmares Ms Crisp?