Sunday, January 6, 2008

Make 8 Great!

8 as in 2008.

For me, 2007 seems in many ways to have just been a build-up to, or preview of, what 2008 will offer. I spent the last few days of 07 seriously ramping up for this year, getting into an ambitious, yet practical, mindset. No weight-loss or exercise goals. No "stop doing this" goals, or "start doing that" goals. I gave myself just one directive entering 2008:

Make this the Non-Stop Year. Make 8 Great!

No more wasting time. No more randomly surfing the net for hours at a time. No more turning on the TV just to "see what's on" (and then turning it off hours later.) No more avoiding the most agonizing projects. No more avoiding the projects I'm actually excited about. Just DOING something. Anything, so long as it's something that moves me forward either personally, spiritually, creatively, healthily, or whatever.

Seven days into the new year, I'm shocked at just how absolutely energized I still am. I've yet to allow myself to have an idle moment, and rather than the mind-numbing exhaustion I was expecting, I find it's just the opposite. Everything seems like a bright opportunity, even the things I normally dread on a daily basis.

I could bore you with more details (which I had, before highlighting it all and hitting the delete key), but already this year, I've accomplished more on all levels than I did the entire first two months of last year.

From an Humble Fiction Cafe perspective, the next big event on our horizon is the actual (self)publication of our "Split" anthology. It's taken a lot longer than any of us expected, but I think it's going to turn out a lot better than any of us expected, as well. My contribution was one of the stories, Spirit, as well as the cover and layout of the book. It's been exhausting, but incredibly rewarding. Kelli had the (in my opinion) far more arduous task of making our little book LOOK professional. Without her input and editing, this book would have looked a lot more amateurish. I've seen a good deal of sloppy, rushed, and dull self-published work, and I'm proud to say that on a technical level, "Split" is going to be pretty slick. All the members of Humble Fiction Cafe will be able to present this book to friends and family (and strangers) with confidence and pride.

While the professional merits of self-published work is debatable, the effect that having this tangible product in our writing group's hands cannot be underestimated. It makes this hobby REAL. Even though the book hasn't been produced (yet), I believe the effort that has gone into it has pushed all the members of Humble Fiction Cafe into a new level of belief that they aren't just playing around at writing, or spinning their wheels. Everyone has upped their game, and the results are already starting to show. 2007 has already seen several members win awards for their work, and others are finding success with their novels being accepted for inclusion in a series of books to be released starting in 2008. And success gets contagious.

There has been some debate about whether or not we should do a Big Project for 08, and while I was at first firmly in favor of a new end-of-year book collecting our efforts, I'm now thinking we don't need it anymore. "Split" showed us what we are capable of. It showed us the bare minimum of what we should expect of ourselves. Now's the time to take the training wheels off and WRITE that novel or screenplay or memoir we've been holding inside for our whole lives.

"Split" was a good warm-up. But that's all it is. I can't wait for the day in the (not-so-distant) future where we all look back on "Split" and groan at how comparatively bad our writing is compared to what we will be doing then.

So get off your butt! Get started on whatever it is you passionately want to do. The time is now!

Make 8 Great!


Sheryl Tuttle said...

I think it is wonderful how much you have accomplished already in this New Year, and like you, I think success is contagious. But don't forget to schedule time for relaxation - it's good to take a break. Even God didn't do it without taking time for rest.

Dorlana said...

I agree. I think 2008 will be a positive and successful year. Go HFC!

David Hodges said...

I appreciate the update (and the abbreviation). I'm eager to chat with you further about methods and vendors for self-publishing. I don't want to debate the merits, just the mechanics. Hope you'll have time to share what you've learned.

The Fraze said...

wow thanks for those comments, altho if you notice I hadn't read Jennifer's Body, I was merely linking to a story at SlashFilm.

Please come visit and comment more tho! thanks