Over the next few weeks I will be packing up and moving from my home in central Massachusetts to a fresh start in New Jersey. It'll be a big change for a number of reasons, but I'm ready to embrace it and move forward with my life.
Moving has gotten me thinking, though, about how changes in our lives can affect changes in our writing. I've dreamed of being a novelist since I first understood what the term meant, and when I was in high school, I practiced my craft diligently, making time to write nearly every single day, even if it was just a few short sentences in my journal.
When I went to college I had less free time and subsequently my writing became more deliberate. I had a limited amount of time to write, so when I sat down to do it, I made sure my words would count. I managed to eek out two drafts of a novel this way along with a handful of short stories.
Since I've graduated, I've had a remarkable amount of unstructured time on my hands which allowed me to go back to my high school ways of writing every day even if what I was writing turned out to be crap. As I look back on what I've written this year, it's still better than what I wrote when I was younger, but it's obvious to me that I lacked focus. I only finished a handful of projects and the third draft of the novel that I wrote in college is still saved on my computer waiting for me to work on the ending.
What will the new year have in store for me?
I'm at a point in my life where it's difficult to see even six months into the future, what with the economy so shaky and my career so based in an industry that's constantly changing, but if there's one thing I can do to make my New Year's Resolution happen it's this: focus.
I'm going to focus all of my creative energy on finishing my novel and getting it into the best possible shape. It's so close to that point, I know all I need is a few more weeks of serious writing and a handful of unbiased, honest beta readers. Once it's ready, I'm going to send queries out.
If 2012 isn't the year that I finally realize my lifelong dream, I don't want it to be for lack of trying or fear. This year I'm going to focus on one thing: getting my book into the hands of readers everywhere.
I'd like to encourage all of you to find one thing to focus on this year. If you're a writer, find one project you feel passionate about and focus on finishing it. Don't work on anything else until you have one thing done.
What's your focus this year? Have any advice for me? Tell us in the comments section below.