Sunday, January 8, 2012

Look Back to the Future

We’re starting off 2012 on a lovely note here in Kansas City. Beautiful dry, sunny days that haven’t gone below 25 degrees for weeks. For the last several years, the Christmas-Chanukah-Solstice season and the year’s changeover have been buried in terrible blizzards, but this year, we’ve been spared the below-zero temps, ice, and 1 ½-2 foot snowfalls with blinding winds. And I am so, so grateful.

Like so many of you, I’m looking ahead, planning, setting goals, and hoping for certain successes. Most of us do this every year. But when I look back to see what I planned and hoped for in 2011 (easy to do since I’m an inveterate journal-keeper), I find that almost all of the wonderful things that happened to me in 2011 were unforeseen at the beginning of that year. And I wonder if that isn’t pretty much always the case.

In January of 2011, I wanted to lose weight, de-clutter and organize my house, and find a way to get my finances under control. I had been making most of my money through poetry—a miracle to make any at all, in that case—and that probably explains why I wanted to improve and regularize my finances.

By January of 2012, I had won a national novel competition, signed a book contract with a major New York trade publisher, received an advance, found a great agent, acquired terrific blurbs and a beautiful book cover, and finished the second novel in the series while the first book started going out for reviews. None of these exciting things were listed in my hopes and plans for the year—and I still need to lose weight, de-clutter my house, and find a way to bring my finances under control. (More money came in with the book, but the year was still very feast or famine in the money department—just a little more than feast than usual.)

I’m sitting down now with my journal to look ahead, plan, set goals and dream about the successes I want this year to bring—and I do believe 2012 will bring me some wonderful successes and good fortune. I'm looking forward to the launch of Every Last Secret at the Central Library in Kansas City, Missouri, on Tuesday, April 24, and a whole slew of other appearances and book signings after that. (Just check the News/Events tab of this website to see the current calendar. New events are being added each week.) I'm looking forward to attending several big mystery conferences this year, beginning with Malice Domestic in late April. These things I know are going to take place. But I suspect that the best things to happen in 2012 will all, or mostly, be things that aren’t really on my chart yet, but will sideswipe me once again.

What about you? Do you plan and achieve your yearly plans in detail like clockwork? Do you send your boats out over and over, only to have a jet come in sometimes instead of a ship?

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