Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I just heard Ryan Seacrest this morning say in an interview that he gets asked this all the time. He used to make up an answer that he’d never stick to, and so now he just answers truthfully, that no, he doesn’t make any New Year resolutions.
I annually make the resolution (along with millions of people, I suspect) that this will be the year I drop a few pounds, and sometimes I am somewhat successful and sometimes not at all. Of course, this year will be one of the successful years, right? Over the long run, making this resolution disappointingly never really seems to make a big difference.
Last year I did something different in the new year that made such a difference! After hearing speakers at writing meetings talk about having a professional approach to my writing, I decided to spend a day in January following up with all the publishers I had contacted the previous year about both big and small projects. I made a list, checked websites for specific directions or prohibitions regarding inquiries, and then sent one email after another, trying to sound professional and not pleading (you know, like “pretty please, with sugar on top, please take my tiny, little manuscript out of the big, giant, slush pile and read it soon, pleeee—aaaaase!”).
Those few hours resulted in some amazing things! One publisher wrote back a very nice note giving me closure on something she had had for months, and she invited me to submit something else in the future. That felt great! Probably the biggest thrill of the year came ten minutes after I hit the enter button on yet another follow-up email, when a British publisher wrote back saying that my manuscript had gotten lost in a transition some months prior, but it looked interesting, so “please send the whole manuscript”! Not only has that turned into a contract offer with exciting plans for the future, but when my twin sister heard about my experience, she investigated the publisher’s interests and realized that one of her manuscripts was a possible fit. Her email was also met with a fast request for a full manuscript, and now she has a book contract offer, too!
One of the most exciting aspects of this past year’s writing adventure is becoming a blogger. Without this new publisher’s information and encouragement, I probably wouldn’t have put my ideas into action this past year for this blog. I can’t think of anything that has given me a deeper sense of satisfaction and joy than, to name a recent example, seeing that someone in Kenya searched for “why Jesus’ birth is good news” on the internet, and they found me and my blog post on “Angels: Jesus’ Birth is Good News–Sonja’s Top Five Reasons Why.” How cool is that? Also, almost 250 people have listened to Bible stories on Soundcloud, the audio-sharing website that I use to record and “store” my Bible readings on Genesis, Luke, and the Psalms. People have tuned in from all over the world!
So, thank you, dear readers, for helping 2013 be full of new adventures for my writing career. I hope that you have been blessed in the reading, as I have been in the writing and recording.
Here’s a question for you: What area in your life doesn’t need another new resolution, but instead could use a simple plan to “persevere and follow-up”? Share it in the comments!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!