Happy New Year

Well, 2007 is come and gone and I have to say that I couldn’t be any happier about it.  The year was not a fruitful one for me, but some good did arise from the last 12 months of turmoil.  First, I completed my second novel manuscript and have it about ready to start making the rounds among literary agents.  I have started a new novel that, while still in it infancy, promises to be my best yet.  I have thought up several more good ideas that I think will make great stories, ideas that I have locked away either in my head or on little index cards for future reference.  With all that in mind, I’d like to set a few goals for myself for the coming year–not resolutions, which are made to be broken–but goals that I can work toward everyday and not worry about taking a day off here or there.

First, I want to be represented by a legitimate literary agent by the end of 2008.  I certainly hope that the completed manuscript currently waiting on my hard drive will net me that goal fairly early in the year, but if not, I will still have the year to write a newer, better one that may be more likely to succeed.  Second, I want to have at least one short story published in a magazine or on a literary site.  This seems like a minor task compared to finding an agent, but I am not, by nature, a short story writer.  I don’t generally read many shorts, so I don’t think of story ideas in terms of that media.  I have dug around in my brain for a few ideas that, if properly executed, will at least offer me a fighting chance of seeing publication, but it will be somewhat like writing in a foreign language.  Short stories demand different things of the author–more vivid description, more poetic language, and the knack of knowing just where to enter and exit the story.  The short story must be more impactful over a shorter period of time.  Still, I am learning every day and look forward to the challenge.  I also want to write more regularly than I have this year.  Circumstances with family and the day job often leave me tired and I admit to slacking a great deal when I should have been writing.  Toward the end of the year, however, I found myself growing more irritable and restless, both traits that I now associate with too little writing.  Fiction is my oasis, my release, and my drug.  I should take that drug more regularly.

On a personal note, today also marks my eighth wedding anniversary.  Amy and I spent the Eve at her church (I say “her” because she attends far more regularly than I do) amidst a very small crowd of people with nothing better to do.  During a closing speech by the pastor, my writing was mentioned out of nowhere, offered as a prayer request.  Amy insists she had nothing to do with it, and I believe her, but that did not make it any easier when everyone in attendance turned to look at me, wonder in their eyes.  Everyone I’ve met who has learned of my desire to become a published author has expressed a great deal of interest.  Everyone wants to know the famous author/athlete/movie star before they become famous.  Also, there is a certain element about writing–everyone wants to do it, thinks they can do it, but no one actually does it.  To find someone who is doing it, makes that person a curiosity.  It was a bit odd telling a little old church-going lady, in a church, no less, that my novel is about vampires, but I figure God must like a good vampire tale as much as anyone.  Otherwise, how could there be so many?

The pastor concluded the get-together in prayer and mentioned my book and my ambitions of publications.  Everyone agrees that it would be a great thing for me and my family, struggling as we are, if I could find my way into those loft ranks.  I just hope that God agrees and was listening.

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About Lee Smiley

I write things. Maybe you'll read them.
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