As you all know unless you’ve been passed out in a sugar-induced coma since Christmas, 2011 is almost upon us. Depending on where you live, it may already be New Year’s Eve. The rest of us still have a day and a half or so left in the year that was 2010. The year 2010 was a mixed bag for me, as it probably was for most of you.
On the good news front, I finally started the novel I’ve been waiting my whole life to write. On the bad news front, I’m not done with it yet. But I’ve had a lot of fun writing and rewriting it. I’ve learned a lot about writing by writing, if that makes any sense. I’ve been able to see weaknesses in my story as I go along and already am ready to add a prologue and rewrite chapter 11, all while working on chapters 22-24 simultaneously. Not too ambitious. To go along with this accomplishment, I also started this blog, started networking with other writers on Facebook and made many friendships and connections. I finally can think of myself as being an author, even if I’m not published yet.
On a professional front, it was a mixed bag as well. It seemd as though for every lead or apparent fresh start, there was a dead end or bump in the road. There were countless hours spent job hunting, dozens of interviews and lots of miles driven in pursuit of a possible full-time job. There also was a large amount of time spent finding and working on freelance work. I started working for Demand Studios (www.demandstudios.com), a Web site that provides articles to eHow and other similar informative sites.
Personally, it was exciting to see how my kids grew and changed over the year. Games played, lessons learned, inches grown. Many landmarks and benchmarks along the way. We spent five weeks in Florida, which also was a mixed bag. It was a fun, exciting adventure with some bumps in the road and a very rocky ending. But nothing can taint the great memories we made and the inspiration I received.
There was a hit song this summer that you probably heard, even if you aren’t a huge pop music fan. It was everywhere. It was called “Billionaire” and was sung by Travie McCoy of the group The Gym Class Heroes and Bruno Mars. The song goes, “I wanna be a billionaire so freakin’ bad. Buy all of the things I never had. Wanna be on the cover Forbes magazine. Smilin next to Oprah and the Queen. Oh every time I close my eyes. I see my name in shining lights. A different city every night oh I swear. The world better prepare for another billionaire.”
I have many goals for 2011, but one of them is not to become a billionaire. I don’t think I want to be a billionaire. I am not even sure I want to be “famous.” I guess it depends on how you define “famous.” I don’t want to be recognized everywhere I go. I don’t want my life to be fodder for the tabloids. I don’t want to have an entourage. Of course, the odds of any of these things happening are less than the odds of Lindsey Lohan getting clean and sober.
“But, Tim,” you might be thinking. “Then why do you want to be a published author if not to get rich and famous.” Well, reader, here is my answer. I have a story to tell. Actually lots of stories to tell. I happen to think they are pretty good stories, that lots of people will enjoy reading. And I would like to get paid for telling them. So of course if someone wants to throw money at me for the privilege of printing my stories, I would never turn it down. But I want to be a published author because it’s what I’m supposed to do.
I’ve known since I was a kid that I loved to write and loved telling stories. For awhile, those stories took the form of newspaper articles, then editorials and columns, and finally advertising copy. This year, I finally got back to my true love, fictional story telling. I still have to do some of the other to pay the bills, at least for right now. I would love to have a time in the future where I can just write books full-time. Of course that is likely 10 or more years and lots of hard work down the road, but I believe it can happen.
So in 2010, I have gotten about 2/3 of the way done with my first book, decided that it would be the first in a series instead of a standalone book, and also written down lots of notes for other story ideas I will get to some day. What is my goal for 2011? Well by March, I will have the first draft of my book done. Then after getting it read by many friends and peers, I will rework it and rework it until I have a finished “masterpiece.” One year from now, I will have a release date to look forward to – a date when my book will appear in printed form on bookshelves across the country. While I am reworking my first novel, tentatively called “The Truth” for now, I will start working on the next book in the series. OK those may sound like lofty goals, but you have to dream big. I’m tired of playing it safe and thinking good things can only happen to other people. 2011 is the year of Tim.
I also hope to continue to find new freelance opportunities, a step I have already put in motion by working with The Creative Group, a staffing agency in Cleveland that specializes in placing writers, editors and other creative types in freelance positions. This will help pay the bills until I can become a billionaire as a writer. I also will continue to look for full-time positions. If that is where God is leading me, then the right door will open.
Personally, I also have big dreams for 2011. I want to continue to watch my five kids grow and mature. They are all different and unique, but are all amazing kids. They are all so creative and love art and music and dance and acting and writing. Chips off the old block. Most of all, I just want them to be healthy and happy in 2011. That’s my hope for all my friends and family. I also hope 2011 is the year Erin and I finally tie the knot. Are you reading this, Erin? I love Erin with all my heart. These last 5 1/2 years have been a roller coaster ride with many trials and tribulations, but through it all, I’m glad I’ve been able to share it with her. She is a beautiful, talented, caring woman that I want to spend the rest of my life with and I hope we can make it official in the new year.
To any of you reading this, I wish you a healthy and happy and prosperous new year. May your 2011 be better than your 2010.
I can’t wait to see where this new year takes me. I’m ready to take the bull by the horns and guide it where it needs to go. Hope you come along for the ride.