It's halfway through the year, and time to take stock of those New Year's resolutions.
For the first time, I set some writing goals and am glad to see some red checkmarks next to the things I've completed:
Attend Gospel Music Week and come one with one new contact or assignment. (The problem of course was I came with two new contacts and assignments, both with Megacorp ... and we all know how that ended up.)
Complete one writing course. (I took the Travel Writing Class at Writers and Books in Rochester. It spawned a desire to read more and to expand my writing horizons. Plus I met some new friends, including my ultra-liberal, Nader-supporting friend Matt, with whom I've enjoyed a fun email friendship. It's always rewarding to maintain a friendship with someone who thinks differently than you do. It helps you to see things from other people's perspective, and sometimes you even learn something.)
Get my passport. (OK, not really travel-related, but if I ever plan to travel and write about my experiences, I'll need it.)
Consider going to a writer's conference. (I did one better and actually went to a writer's conference - the Erma Bombeck Writers' Conference. It's turned out to be the best thing I've done so far this year.)
Take advantage of my EPA membership and submit one article in the freelance contest. (I did, and I won 4th place!)
Read at least six books, and not books I'm supposed to be reviewing. (That was a no brainer; I had that done the first month or so. I was keeping track of books I read but I stopped and now can't remember what I've read. But it's a lot.)
For everything I did do, there's something I didn't:
Write a book proposal for one of my book ideas
Research my grandmother's family in Italy
Write one music review a month and submit it to a paper. (OK, so I've sort of achieved this one. I am writing something music related every month and just sent my first trial issue of a music newsletter. Maybe this can be moved to the finished category ...)
Continue my column for the Home Times. (This month, we decided to stop that column. The editor said the paper was consolidating issues for the summer for budget reasons; I wanted to take the summer off. Who knows if it will start up again.)
Pursue writing opportunities for Rochester Music Coalition newspaper. (I was invited to one meeting and then never heard from them again. Turns out, the paper folded. Phew, I'm glad it wasn't me!)
Write an hour every day, even if it's in my journal. (Ha, ha.)
Organize my office. (HA! HA! Although I did move my office into the dining room, so now I have two rooms to organize.)
Take one exotic or unusual trip. (Does Ohio count?)
Go to one major league and two minor league baseball games. (When does the seaon end ... I have until October, right?)
Make more money writing in 2004 than I did in 2003. (I'm almost to last year's figure ...)
As I look at the goals, one thing jumps out at me: I've done a lot more than I thought I would. I'd like to pursue the book proposals, because I feel a call to get two onto paper, and I need to organize and move back into my office, because we can't function with my work in the dining room.
But I stepped completely out of my box. I went to a humor writers' conference, for goodness' sake, and I'm neither a humor writer or even humorous. I made some new friends, and kept in touch with one of the speakers (although I'm not so sure he's thrilled with that). I started writing a monthly humor/life column. I'm giving the music newsletter a shot. I'm talking with another author about collaborating on a book. I'm even volunteering to help with media at Kingdom Bound in August; it's one of the biggest Christian music festivals around.
All in all, 2004 has been a pretty successful year. Whether or not I check everything off of my list, I'm happy that I've made progress and took some chances.
So happy last 1/2 of 2004!