In my Christmas Miracles post, I told you that I believe in all kinds of things: Magic, Christmas, Goodness… I do. However, I don’t I believe in New Year’s resolutions. I did when I was young, but after enough failed attempts, I realized that I just don’t need one more thing to hold myself up to, and be let down. Inspiration: believe in that. Conviction: believe in that. Aspirations, Commitment, Effort, Motivation… I believe in all of those. If you tied them all up into a neat package, then you could argue that I do believe in the annual ritual that is part of New Year’s. But I don’t. Really. I think that vowing to take something on, just because it’s a new year, and then beating your head against an expectation-laden brick wall is at the least self-destructive, and at the worst almost criminal. I feel like I have enough things that thwart me; there are already too many things I judge myself harshly for; there is plenty that I set myself up for, and then feel frustrated by; I haven’t seen the need to publicly create a goal and then struggle under prying eyes to reach that goal. So I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions a long time ago, and my only resolution each December 31st, has been not to make a resolution… and not puke.
Until now. I’m stepping outside my bubble, and I’m making this very public. I’m making some resolutions and I’m going to keep them. I’m giving myself this one year: 2014, to set these resolutions and bring it. If I fail, next year’s post will look very different.
Resolution #1 is the Big Kahuna. I will publish my first novel by the end of 2015. Yes, you read that right. I will publish my first novel. While I am still waiting for 6 editors and agents to tell me if they want to publish my work, I will not sit on that. If I don’t have a publisher (my dream), then I will self-publish my novel, as so many have advised. When I attended the North West Writer’s Conferences last July (read about that star-studded event here), nearly ever single agent, publisher and speaker said what we writers have been reading: self-publishing is where it’s at. There are so many good reasons to self-publish. I haven’t done it because I’ve clung to a long-held dream of having my work published by an establish publishing house. But, the reality is that I am turning 51 next week. The collagen is drying up in my skin, and my brain cells are melting. I want to look good for my Oprah close up. I am impatient. I have worked hard on this. I’ve edited this manuscript; I’ve had it edited professionally; I’ve sat through lots of feedback; I’ve dreamed; I’ve dreamed some more, and it’s time. So, this is the year. I plan to write to the folks who are still holding on to my work, and I’ll ask them respectfully to make up their minds… then I’ll make the next step. By January 1, 2015, I will either have a contract to publish with an established publisher, or I will have published my book. Count on it.
Resolution two: Own my game, and bring it. About finding my game: it’s been a process, but I’m stepping it up, stepping up that “game” that everyone talks about. Last week I read a really interesting article about a blog post that went “viral” and how that changed everything for the writer of the post. He had a lot to say about putting yourself out there, tooting your own horn, building your platform: finding your game, and then bringing it. As I read it, I realized that I really haven’t done that. I can’t count on going viral, without taking off my clothes and doing something truly crazy. Fact is: I started something nearly ten years ago (TEN. YEARS. AGO), and I’ve gingerly stepped along ever since, not really stepping outside my comfort zone. Starting this blog was a big step. I wanted to be writing; I wanted to have my work read; I began envisioning the blog I would have, and then I started it. But, I did very little for a long time, and that has morphed over time into doing the bare boned basics.
In the beginning, I hardly told people about the blog, so promoting it on my Facebook page and on Twitter seems like a leap. But those are just baby steps. I write a post, and humbly ask folks to read it, by saying something like “check out my new post” on my private FB page and the Tales From the Motherland FB page. I send out a simple Tweet. This is not the way to build a platform that knocks the socks off of publishers. I need a big ass horn, and I need to learn to blow it. Loud and bold. It’s time to bring out my inner pimp. If my work is to sell, if I want a book to not just be a self-published blip, I have to push it myself. I have to push myself. On you. All of you. It’s not enough to say “hey I wrote a blog post, and I wrote a book; I hope maybe you’ll read it.” It’s time I say: Hey you, YOU, you like my work? You tell me it’s great in the comment section, right? So help a girl out, Share it! Tell your friends to read my work. Subscribe to my blog. And no, I don’t actually know who is subscribing, so you can even remain all private about it. It’s not like you’ll start getting spam in the mail; but you will get each new post, right in your inbox… there for you to read or delete. Of course I hope you’ll read it, and like it, but ultimately it’s the numbers that talk. I need those numbers. I need people to “follow” my blog. See, this is me getting bold. Those numbers mean something to publishers, who expect you to have an audience, before they even want to read your work. I’m currently about 40 subscribers short of 2,000. It’s a big number; I’m proud to reach it. But, I’m aiming much higher. I’d like to double that, at least, in 2014. I’m setting my sights on numbers, and I’m going after them. Pimp is on. So, I’m asking: If you like my work, Follow it, subscribe. Then, hit Like. And after you do that, share my work. Send the link to other friends; tell them to do the same things. Read, Subscribe, Like, Share. That’s right, I’m asking. Help me out. Here’s my game; I’m bringing it; now play with me. I’m tooting my horn here, folks! Toot!
In an effort to bring that game, I’m putting myself out there. I am looking to do guest posts. I am pushing to get my name and my writing further out there. This week I will be a guest blogger for Emily at The Waiting. If you don’t already read The Waiting, you should. Her current post, on Search Engine Terms is clever, witty and full of laughs; check it out here. Emily’s super talented; I’ve followed her for ages and I’m never disappointed. She’s big; really big. Her numbers make mine look like little afterthoughts. She’s in the 6,000s… She’s edgy; I love her stuff. Emily writes about being a mother to a very entertaining toddler, as well as her own interesting take on so many other things. I’m honored to be invited to be a guest writer on her blog, and hope you’ll check out the post this week… and hit Like. It’s not enough to just show up; I want to show Emily that she didn’t make a mistake inviting me. I’ll share the link, once my post is up at The Waiting, and then I hope you’ll all flock over there and cheer me on. Toot!
Finally, Resolution #3: This is a fun one; I plan to travel this year and meet more bloggers in person. Seriously, I plan to get out there and meet some of you face to face. Share a sandwich, or a cocktail, or a lost weekend even– let’s brainstorm. This past year, I had the honor of meeting Mike at Applecore, when he was in my area, and we hung out for a couple of hours. Read about it here. Mike’s had my back for a while. He’s supportive, a friend, and a good blogger. If you’re interested in what it’s like to sell everything, move to amazing countries and live there for 6 months and then move on, check out his blog. Over the summer I drove to Olympia, WA and visited Meagan at Hot Pink Underwear. Meagan has cool friends; she has chickens, and an even cooler daughter. We hung out (read here); we went zip lining, we went to kool bars and wrote, and we wrote some more. It was an amazing couple of days, and whether she wears hot pink underwear and whether I’ve seen them, well, that will remain our secret. Her writing is always clever, often beautiful… girls got talent; check her out. Finally, just a few weeks ago I went to New York City to see the holiday displays I’ve wanted to see since I was a child, to visit a childhood friend, and to meet Lisa at Cyclingrandma. We have followed each other’s blogs for ages, and she included my work in her book Tangerine Tango: Women Writers Share Slices of Life (available on Amazon). It was fantastic to finally meet in person! We shared a lovely lunch at the famous Algonquin, trading details about our lives and comparing writing goals and plans, and then we explored the city together (read here). Lisa writes about all kinds of things that matter to her, check her out. As evidence that the infection that would land me in the hospital just a few days after returning from that trip was messing with my head, I forgot to contact Madame Weebles at Fear No Weebles, and she let me have it when I got home. She was a wonderful support when I was sick, and kept me smiling despite the needles and other scary stuff. I’m making it official here: she is high on the list of bloggers I plan to meet in 2014. The fact that this would entail another trip to NYC is just thick buttery frosting on top. So bloggers, leave me a comment; tell me why should I come visit you? So far, these face to face meetings have been great, so if I’m gonna take this giant leap and start making resolutions, I might as wall make them fun. I want to do some road trips; I love to travel, and I love meeting other bloggers. Tell me where you live, and why I should visit. Woo me. I just may show up in your city, and we can take this form cyber to flesh. Lucky you; lucky me.
So there you have it: me identifying my game, and promising to bring it. Me telling you that I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, and then making ones that I intend to keep. Me putting it out there. Wow! Now I might vomit. Really. Once I hit publish on this blog post, I am in the hot seat. Time to actually bring it. I’m not getting younger; I’ve never been in a more solid place with my writing: I feel good; and it’s time to shit or get off the pot. There’s the pot; I am not getting off. So please avert your eyes, while I proceed.
Do you believe in resolutions? Do you make them? Do you keep them? Would you like me to visit you? Tell me where, and why… be creative, I need to be wooed. Who knows, maybe you’ll be on book tour. Yeah, cause I’m publishing a book in 2014. For real. It’s a resolution.
Check out the links on this page; there’s some good stuff there. If you like what I have to say: Subscribe; Like; Share; Repeat. Toot, toot!
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