There were two things written on the last day of 2011 that particularly spoke to me. The first was a blog post by Neil Gaiman, who wrote,
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
“Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
“So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
“Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do it.
“Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
I think I can promise to make plenty of mistakes in 2012. I certainly made plenty of them in 2011. And yet I learned from them – I’m a different person now than I was at the beginning of the year. In 2011, I earned a PhD and wrote a book. I edited a regular column. I published two stories and several poems. All while working as a university professor and raising a daughter. At the beginning of 2011, I was scared of life. At the end of it, I’m waiting for the next adventure. (Of course, there are things that still scare me. Most of all, right now, I’m scared that the next adventure won’t come soon enough, that life will stand still. But when has it ever? I predict an adventure of some sort in the next few months.)
What do the next few months hold? A lot of work, but also the book coming out, and the effort of promoting it, and a lot of travel. And I’ve set myself some writing deadlines. (At the moment I’m putting together the poetry collection, and I’m about a quarter of the way through the first draft of “Blanchefleur,” which is probably going to be a novella.) The next few months should be exciting, and of course I’ll tell you what happens.
I almost forgot, I also have a couple of stories already scheduled to come out. The first will be “Woola’s Song” in Under the Moons of Mars: The New Adventures of John Carter.
The second hasn’t been announced yet, but I’ll tell you about it as soon as I can. And at least three of my published stories will be reprinted this year.
The second thing that particularly spoke to me was a blog post by Rose Fox, in which she said,
“I could fill up screens and screens with doubts and fears and worries and plans and hopes but really it comes down to this: change is scary and hard. [ . . . ] When in doubt, create order and beauty.”
If you do what you’re scared of doing, your life will inevitably change, and yes, it will be scary because you will risk making mistakes, and you will almost certainly make some. So when in doubt, create order and beauty. I tried to do that today, at least a bit. Cleaning up, putting things in their proper places so I could work. So I could write my stories. I think my resolutions for this year are the following:
1. Do what scares you, and be willing to make mistakes.
2. Create order and beauty.
In a way, the second of those resolutions counterbalances the first. But I think I will need that counterbalance. Because when the world gets too scary, you need order and beauty around you. It makes you braver for the next effort, the next possible mistake.