I'm one of those people that usually spends New Year's Eve coming up with a long list of resolutions. And by long, I mean LONG. The list of writing resolutions itself is generally quite long - finish this book, write that, rewrite this, get that into querying shape, etcetc. And you know what? None of it happens. Ever.
So this year, as I was thinking about the brand new year starting, I began thinking about resolutions and I realized something. Something really, really important.
I've gotten caught up in the terrible trap of writing to publish. I've stopped writing for myself. I've started writing and setting goals with the sole point of publishing. I decided I was too young and inexperienced to write this heart-wrenching YA I love so much so what do I do? I switch to MG. Now, don't get me wrong, writing JESSICA was definitely a good experience. I learned a lot about my writing when I attempted to write that in a week. But, I didn't write it because I couldn't get it out of my head - I wrote it because I decided it would be easier to try to publish that as a teen than a YA because being a preteen IS something I've experienced.
I've forgotten to what it's like to write because I WANT to, because I just can't get that character's voice out of my mind and I need to know what happens.
I was surprised at the revelation because I've always considered myself to know better, to know that writing to publish is not a good thing to do, that the best stories come out of loving the story, not the desire to publish.
I'm disappointed in myself.
Because, really, I'm in no place to publish. I have no life experience at all. I don't have a ton of writing experience - as much as I like to think otherwise, my writing kind of sucks right now. I know that I'm improving a LOT but I'm still not at the point where anything is publishable.
I know people will argue and say that I don't need life experience to write a good novel but Maureen Johnson said it and I agree. I've spent my entire life in a one-redlight (literally) town. I've been to ONE city in my entire life. I cyber-school, so I don't even have the day-to-day high school drama. I don't live on a farm or anything country-ish like that. I just am. And, really, it's rather boring.
So, going back to my resolutions, I decided that instead of setting writing goals, goals that focus around getting closer to publication, and instead of focusing on losing weight or any of those other 392912 resolutions I usually make, I was going to make one resolution and one resolution only - to live.
It's about time I start experiencing life, something outside of my comfort zone, and I think, with that, my writing is going to improve and someday, I'll be able to look back on my teenage years and not regret writing instead of living.