Happy New Year to all of you, my dear readers.
I ended last year doing big, scary things. I started writing a book! Okay, I finished writing one book and started writing another. I say that is a big and scary thing because I’ve dreamed of becoming an author since I was a kid. Books are magical for me, and the idea of creating my own worlds and sharing them with others has a dreamlike appeal. Still, I haven’t written creatively since college, so starting up again seemed daunting. And nothing is more frightening than chasing a dream you’ve held close to your heart. I had to be willing to open myself up and become vulnerable and answer that most frightening of questions: What if I fail?
This November, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and I discovered through the course of that that while failure is certainly a possibility, even, dare I say, an eventuality, the greater risk is never trying at all.
It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. –J. K. Rowling
While the fiction I’m producing right now might not be great and certainly isn’t ready to be sent out anywhere, I’m practicing. I’m chasing the moths out of my creaky, dusty brain. I’m learning. I’m creating. I’m starting somewhere, and even though that first step can sometimes be the hardest, it is often the most important.
2015 will continue to be a year of doing big, scary things. I see it as a year of creativity, growth, and fun. No, I’m not going to make any big resolutions to lose weight, get fit, or go to the gym. But I have promised myself to try new things. No big goals. Just tiny, achievable things.
In addition to writing every, single day, and, as Natalie Goldberg suggests in Writing Down the Bones, filling a cheap spiral notebook every month, I want to read more, more, more. I’ve subscribed to a number of fiction magazines. I’d like to work on honing my short fiction skills over the next few years, and the best way to do that is to read, read, read and (of course) write.
If that doesn’t seem like enough reading, I’ve also decided that I would like to read some of those classics that I really ought to have read in college. Heck, even with a degree in English, I managed to avoid many works that people consider classics today. I will read one of these books each month. That’s not too hard, is it? Here is the list of those books in no particular order:
- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep – Phillip K. Dick
- Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
- Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
- Cosmos – Carl Sagan
- East of Eden – John Steinbeck
- The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
- I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
- The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
- The Name of the Rose – Umberto Ecco
- The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
- In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
- The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
I plan to start with Catch-22. I’ve already got it downloaded to my Kindle in fact, thanks to my local library’s amazing e-book lending abilities. You can keep up with my progress over on goodreads. Look for the goodreads widget over on the left-hand side of this page to keep track of my progress, and of course, I am sure I will include some of my thoughts here.
As a third and final project for the year, since three is a good, round number, I’ve decided to start sewing again. I have always loved the ideas of costuming and cosplay. And with my NaNoWriMo novel, which was a pseudo-steampunk piece, I found myself growing interested in Victorian clothing. So, my plan, over the long term, is to build a Victorian dress from the skin out. I’m going to go a piece at a time, starting with the chemise and drawers to refresh my sewing skills before moving on to the more daunting task of constructing a corset. Once I have my underpinnings complete, I can move on and decide what kind of dress I want to create, whether that’s a true historical dress or more of a fun, fantasy, steampunk mishmash. Tons of flexibility, no pressure, and I can quit any time, she said trying to keep her voice convincing.
So you can expect to see pictures of a very frustrated me, bent over a sewing machine, biting back curses. But hey! At least I won’t have to deal with zippers or button holes. And if you’re lucky I may even post a few pictures of my in my underwear! Which isn’t nearly as scandalous as it sounds since Victorian underwear covers you from shoulder to knee, but it sure was fun to write that!
So that’s my tri-fold plan for the new year. Of course, I will continue all of the things that made 2014 great: gardening, cooking, and having an awesome time with my family. But I’m excited about the new projects, and I’m looking forward to allowing myself to indulge in my creativity.
What are your plans for 2015? Are you trying anything new this year?
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