Month: January 2011

All in

So, Kristan, what’s this “big change” that you’ve been alluding to / teasing us about, both on Twitter and now on the blog?

Um, wow, way to cut to the chase, Fake Question Asker.

Well, if you must know… Sigh. Look, this isn’t easy. Even after a couple days of telling people (and myself, repeatedly) I still haven’t found the perfect way to say it. But simple is usually good, right? Okay, let’s try that:

Yesterday I quit my job in order to focus on my writing full-time.

Omg… OMG! Seriously?

Yep. After a lot of thought, I decided this was the right move and the right time for me. I’m lucky enough to be able to afford a “gap year,” and I’m young enough that if things don’t work out, it probably won’t do much harm.

Okay… But why now? Didn’t you have a sweet part-time gig? Weren’t you writing anyway? Don’t you know the economy sucks?

Yes, yes, and yes. But as I said in my New Year’s post, I believe that 2011 has the potential to be The Year for me. I have learned and grown a lot in the past couple years, and I had some close brushes with success in 2010. I want to carry that momentum forward and build on it. Being an author has been my dream since I was 9 years old, so I think I owe it to myself (and my parents, and everyone who believes in me) to give it my all. I didn’t feel able to do that while also working over 30 hours a week.

Wait, are you saying that everyone who’s serious about being a writer has to quit their jobs?

Absolutely not! There are tons of authors who work, or have families, or both! And I applaud them so hard my hands hurt.

But so far I haven’t been able to be one of those writers. My choice to try writing full-time is a luxury, yes, and I am so grateful for it. But it was also an extremely difficult choice to make, for many emotional, financial, and other reasons. So it’s a luxury that I will not take for granted. I will not be, as my mother kept saying on the phone, “doing nothing” this year. I will be working my butt off.

(For the record, my mom didn’t really mean “doing nothing.” She just meant “not holding a respectable, paying job like society says you’re supposed to.”)

Speaking of your mom, what does she (and the other people in your life) think about this?

Fortunately, everyone around me is being very supportive. My mom is excited, my dad is cautiously optimistic, and my boyfriend is wonderfully reassuring. My friends have expressed their faith in me, and even my coworkers are cheering me on. With these kinds of people in my life, it’s no wonder I think I can do this.

Well, that’s good. And how do you feel?

You know, there’s a scene in Tangled that perfectly captures my thoughts and emotions right now. It’s just after Rapunzel gets out of the tower for the first time in her life, and she alternates between running around a field screaming, “WHEEEEEE!” and burying her face in her hands, moaning, “OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE?!”

Yeah, that’s me.

(Mostly the “WHEEEE!” part, though.)

So, what’s your plan? You do have a plan, don’t you?

Of course I do! Sort of… I mean, it’s the same “plan” every writer has: write an awesome book, sign with an awesome agent, secure an awesome book deal, and live awesomely ever after.

But most of that isn’t within my control. So my real plan is to write an awesome book, and then take all the necessary steps to secure the awesome agent, book deal, and life. I do have a more specific routine in mind, and I will track/evaluate my progress after 3 months, 6 months, and a year, but I don’t think I need to get into details/metrics. The fact is, everyone’s journey to publication is different, but there is a general path writers can follow, and that’s the path I’m going to be walking.

What makes you think this is going to work?

Well, the difference between me now and me previously is that now I have all the tools in place to succeed, as well as the ability to use them effectively. That last part is the key. When I graduated from college 3.5 years ago, I could have taken a gap year and “seriously” tried to get published then, but I highly doubt I would have succeeded. There was just too much I didn’t know, too much I hadn’t done. And while I still have plenty more to learn and do, I think I’ve hit a point where I can achieve my first set of goals. Certain accomplishments (and near-accomplishments) in 2009 and 2010 seem to confirm that.

All right, this fake Q&A is getting kind of long. But it was the best way I could come up with to tell you folks the news. In terms of logistics, I did officially resign, but I’ll probably be working through mid-February while we find and train my replacement.

Then it’s off to the races… I hope y’all are betting on me to win!

Explanation to follow

For now, enjoy the music:

The requisite resolution

New year, new post. And who can avoid talking about their new resolutions? No one (or so it seems). Not even me.

Of course, in order to look forward, we must first look back.

In 2009, I learned what I wanted to write. Not Serious Literary Fiction, as I had always imagined. But rather, fun and awesome stories that “the mainstream” would enjoy. Bye bye Pulitzer, hello imagination.

In 2010, I learned how I write best. I’m not a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pantser, who can spit out 10,000 words in a day. (Okay, I did it once, but it almost killed me.) Nor am I a down-to-the-last-detail planner, who knows every scene and beat before it comes. No, I work somewhere left of the middle, and I need to be focused on the story, not quotas, in order for my words to fly.

So in 2011, I hope to combine those two learnings and make… awesomesauce!

(Yeah, it’s my new favorite term. So what?)

Specifically, my goal is to bring new pages to my crit group every week. I figure this will naturally force me to develop good habits (i.e., self-discipline) and naturally engender other positive results (i.e., a finished manuscript).

That’s it. Just one goal. One “resolution,” if you will. It’s pretty simple.

But of course, in 2009, I didn’t know that I didn’t know what I wanted to write. And in 2010, I didn’t know that I didn’t know how I write best. So I’m sure I’ll learn something I didn’t know that I didn’t know in 2011. I just hope it’s not too slow or painful…

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