Survivor Guilt, 2011 Edition


Image by Billy Alexander

I’ve been seeing a lot of blog posts around talking about how 2011 was a terrible year, either for the blogger or for the world in general. I’m not so sure how terrible it was for the world–yeah, we saw lots of mayhem, police brutality, and bureaucratic incompetence on both sides of the political spectrum, but maybe that stuff has always been there, and maybe the only reason we were more aware of it this year is that people care more and are speaking up and documenting and trying to change things for the better.

I don’t know. It’s a nice thought, anyway.

For myself, though, 2011 was a pretty good year. I continue to be privileged with the kinds of classes and students that most teachers can only wish for. I continued to grow as a writer. This year I got serious about querying agents for my novel, won a scholarship to the Backspace Writers* Conference, got two offers of representation, and signed with an agency that is or should be at the top of every writer’s wish list. Yeah, I can’t complain too much.

Ratty Rat2011 is also the year I ditched my old blog and started this one, thinking that hosting my own site would give me a bit more room to grow. So, um, that’s a good thing too, right? <#crickets>  On, and hey, the website also got a mascot. That’s him on the right! Nifty, huh? He was a gift from my friend and fellow writing deviant, Jan Eldredge.

The year did have its share of down notes, of course. The economy still sucks and we’re barely getting by, just like everybody else. Last month our older dog was diagnosed with bladder cancer, so we’ll be very lucky if she’s still with us when I write this post next year. But for now we’re all here and all getting along. Could be worse, eh?

I seem to recall having asked myself at the beginning of the year what a successful year would look like. I don’t think it’s a good idea to set goals that are out of your own control. A lot of the blogs I’ve read this week have getting published in 2012 as a goal. I’m optimistic, but even if I do sell a novel or a story, that won’t necessarily be 2012’s accomplishment anyway. So more useful goals would be about what I want to do this year, not what I want someone else to do for me. On the other hand, I throw myself into teaching mind, body, and soul, so I worry about setting myself up for failure and self-loathing if my other goals turn out to be unrealistic, but what the heck, here goes.

In 2012, I will:

  • Read all the books listed here, or an equal number of books, anyway.
  • Not let two consecutive days go by without writing.
  • Not let two consecutive days go by without reading.
  • Not let three consecutive days go by without blogging.
  • Write my next novel.
  • Write at least six stories that come in under 5000 words.
  • Write at least three short stories (which can count for the previous goal as well) that come in under 1000 words.

So there you go, what I intend to do in 2012.What do you intend to accomplish this year? Or, if you prefer, how was your 2011?


*I won’t put the apostrophe, but I’m thinking it, dammit.


This entry was posted in artist's life, bookish life, close to home. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Survivor Guilt, 2011 Edition

  1. CT says:

    Nice post and congratulations again. Such great news.

    I haven’t made my list yet, but when I do, I’ll share it with you. 2011 was the whiplash year for me — so many hopes risen and dashed, so much change, so much growth. It ‘s the reaping of the sowing, and that is not bad, but not always good, either.

    I’d like to see what happens when most of the pieces are already on the board and waiting. That — I think — will be 2012.

  2. Joe Iriarte says:

    I haven’t been around the forums as much this year, but I was around enough to get a vague sense of all the ups and downs. I hope 2012 is the year when all the awesome stuff you deserve comes to you! (I’ll get to work on the Nobel nomination forms . . . )

  3. CT says:

    Hah! You are far too kind, Joe.

    It was mainly moving to a new area of Canada and starting work. That’s the short version. However, I just found that my childhood home has been sold, hopefully by the brother I haven’t been able to contact for the last five or six years. That is, I hope it was sold deliberately and not auctioned for unpaid taxes or something. The whole situation brings such mixed feelings.

    I like the leeway in your resolutions, especially that you give yourself two days, even. But man, you are a writing workhorse. It’s awesome.

  4. Joe Iriarte says:

    Oh I am so *not* a writing workhorse, but I would like to be!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.