Contributing Author: Editor.
A new year arrives, and with it new hopes and aspirations. Looking back on my 2011 resolutions, I’ve realized how ambitious they all were. And I’ve realized how life does throw us all curveballs as we struggle on and try to make plans of our own.
Listen, I’m going to give y’all a challenge: stop trying to set concrete goals for yourself based on chance and luck. You can’t control the fickleness of the publishing industry. You can’t get mad at yourself when you’re not to blame. Just try your best, be the best. Devour writing books, listen to criticism, read your work from an objective point of view. You might not get that agent or book deal this year, or you might.
Furthermore, you have plenty of time. Remember, you’re only a wee bit old in an era when our generation is projected to live 113 years. Life is for living when you’re still young and beautiful and optimistic. Take down notes about everyday life, but don’t spend your days cooped up and locked in your room. Develop and mature as a person. Do things you never would have done before. Call it experience when you look back on it.
Admittedly, this new approach to life doesn’t leave you much time to write. But after two of my friends died in the same year, I can’t afford to spend much more time being unhappy and ruminating over whether or not anybody’s going to appreciate my teen angst. I count every minute that I’m unhappy, every minute I waste, against all the minutes that they could have put to good use.
Remember: you’re still ahead of the whole game. You’ve got a real, raw perspective on how things are done in the high school world, as well as the writing chops that it takes adults years to hone. All you need is wisdom. That shouldn’t be hard to acquire, after you’ve lived through it.
And hey, it’s 2012. Though I don’t believe in the impending apocalypse, some do. You can comfort yourself with the fact that even if the other people do get an agent or book deal, it won’t mean much on the morning of December 21st.
I end with a Steve Martin quote and my newfound life motto: “Be so good that they can’t ignore you."