Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. – William Faulkner
My greatest achievement of last year was completing my second novel, Learn Away the Indian and having it chosen as a finalist in the Pitch Wars competition. This year I want an agent. Not just any agent. A reputable agent who loves my book as much as I do. However many queries it takes, however many contests and conference pitches—like Faulkner says, shoot high. Other writing goals:
- Spend at least 30 hrs/week writing or on writing-related activities
- Complete the first draft of my next novel (still trolling for a great story-spark)
Three words: Speed Reading Class. Then tackle last years list:
- Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
- Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Read it!)
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
- Artful Sentences by Virginia Tufte
I did finish a triathlon in 2013 (two actually!). I also completed a metric century (62 mi) bike ride. To train in the Vegas heat I had to get up early, really early (4:15am some mornings)—another of last years goals. This year I want to improve my race times and finished a Tough Mudder (eek!). I’ve also stolen my mother’s goal of not using a single plastic store bag, but always bringing my own.
As for the more abstract, I like to think I’ve grown less judgmental in the last year. Still, I’m far from perfect. My new goal is complementary: tolerance. I have a wonderful new group of friends who, while sharing so many of my dreams, have profoundly different beliefs. They’ve helped me see the world from a different vantage point. I cannot yield my principles, but insofar as they do no harm, I can (and should!) be tolerant of others’ principles. We are none of us drawn in a single color—black or white—but invariably a kaleidoscope of color, unique and nuanced. Tolerance is the lens through which these colors become apparent.