If you had told me this time last year where I would be today - back in the Twin Cities, writing full time - I wouldn't have believed you. It wasn't a thing that I would have even considered as a possibility. So to say that 2012 was full of surprises is simply accurate, not hyperbole. But for all it was a year with a lot of good, there was enough bitter in with the sweet that I have no regrets as I close that door, and look forward to this new year.
I like new years, and opportunities for new beginnings. I like the arbitrary markers that we place in time to say, "This. This here. It matters. Remember this, that there was a before, and an after." I embrace the times that remind me that I can be more than I am.
I have goals for the new year, like many of us probably do. I try, when I make my goals, to have them be things under my control - as much as, for example, I'd love to see something I wrote be nominated for an award, unless I start my own Kat's Best Story Awards, that's something I have no direct control over, so it's a wish more than a goal.
My big goal is to remember that there is life outside of writing. Writing full time has been wonderful, and such a blessing. It is also terrifying - it is very clear to me how much I am responsible for myself. My general response to stress is to work more, to write all the things. To some degree, this is a good stress response, and it's less likely to kill me than others I could have. But I need to remember to have a life.
I want to say yes to more things this year. I tend to have hermit-like tendencies and I am (says the lady keeping a blog on the internet) by nature shy, and that can lead to closing myself off from things and from people that I would have loved. So I will say yes, and be brave.
In terms of writing, I will concentrate more on longer fiction, even longer short fiction - I'd like to write a novelette or novella this year. This is part of my larger, long term goal to always be writing the thing that scares me - the thing that I think I might not be good enough for, the thing that requires me to run along the tightrope. I will write with ambition.
I have reading goals as well. I'm going to continue to read more nonfiction - probably a lot on creativity. I want to read more of what gets called literary fiction, to find the strengths there. I'm also going to read more of the kind of writing that intimidates me - books that get so weighted with expectations and mythos that they are a story that has little if anything to do with the words actually on the pages. I am starting that one with Moby Dick. Apparently the Penguin edition comes with grad school flashbacks.
There are probably other things that I will decide to do, and it's fine that I don't yet know what they are, because we can all choose when our new beginning is. But there is a new beginning today, a new year, and I wish you all a happy one.