January 16, 2013

The Year of Writing Something Big

I'm usually terrible with New Year's resolutions, mostly because I choose things I can't quite control.

Like, go on a date with a boy! (High School Caroline)
Or find a boyfriend! (College Caroline)
And nab a book deal! (Last Year Caroline)

Hmm, my younger self was rather boy-seeking, eh? Ah, youth! Anyway...

When 2013 rolled around, I decided I needed a change. Instead of choosing a lofty dependent-on-others goal, I wanted to pick a reasonable do-it-yourself one. See, I learned a tough lesson in 2012. Career-wise, I got far too entrenched with stuff I had no control over: comparing myself to other writers, staring listlessly at Publisher's Marketplace, and anguishing over the U-turns and roundabouts that my writerly journey had taken me on. To help you visualize what I looked like, I present you this:

ANGST CAT! Sighing on the sofa all day!
I was frustrated and deflated. For awhile, I even thought about returning to the museum profession. I mean, I got a discount for space ice cream at my last job! That ain't so bad!

After moping around for *mumble mumble* days, I realized that I'm a writer at heart and that I'll stay a writer until my heart goes ker-plunk. So quitting wasn't really an option. (Not even for unlimited space ice cream!) But to move forward with my writing career, I knew I needed to make some adjustments; specifically, I had to rediscover my joy for writing. Because that's what I lost sight of in 2012—I got so caught up with subs and PM that I forgot why I write in the first place.

Okay, I'm rambling a little but here is my point! In 2013, my resolution is to...



What I mean by "Something Big" isn't necessarily a book filled with magical sloths or loud explosions or a retelling of Romeo & Juliet set in space with robot nurses and laser guns (although that would be fun!). For me, writing Something Big means writing something that stretches me. That pushes me. That's simply more than the books I've written before: more character depth, more plot intricacy, more prose richness.

Simply put, I want to draft a book that scares me a little. That makes me ask: Can I pull this off? Am I good enough? Can I even finish it? By working through these fears and doubts, I really hope to grow as a wordsmith and as a story-builder. 'Cause that's the only thing I can control in this crazy world of publishing—improving my craft and crafting better books.

Or as I like to say, write Something Big!

So that's my resolution for 2013, and you know what? I started drafting a new WIP last week! It's a YA fantasy, and it's exceptionally weird (like, I'm not kidding you. It is Strange with a capital 's.') And that's scary because I've never written fantasy before and I have no idea if anyone will appreciate my book's strangeness...but that's okay. This is a book that'll stretch me. This is the book that's my Something Big.

Maybe my CPs will hate it. Maybe Agent Jim will think I've gone off the deep end. Who knows, you know? Right now, I'm setting those worries aside and writing this weird, weird manuscript that I don't know if I can pull off. I'm pretty scared. I'm pretty excited. And whatever happens, I hope I'll be proud of it.

Here's to 2013, the year to write Something Big!


How about you? What sort of projects are you working on for 2013? I'd love to hear them! 


  1. Caroline, I think this is a brilliant idea! Please document your adventure of writing something big. I am so excited to hear more about it!

    1. Aw, thanks so much, Lindsay! I'll be sure to update the blog on my progress and how well I'm doing on not worrying so much! Haha, that might be an impossible task...

      Anyway, I hope you're doing well and would love to catch up in person soon! How are you doing?!

  2. I love this resolution Caroline! And I am mighty intrigued by ALL the ideas you came up with in this post (robot Romeo!!) but most especially the Weird Fantasy! I am excited to hear all about it. Making the goal to push yourself is fantastic. GOOD LUCK and I can't wait to cheer you on!

  3. Oh Caroline, I so love this resolution! It can be pretty easy to be dragged down by circumstances you can't control. But starting a new WIP (even -- or especially -- one that's Strange) is exhilarating and frightening and, most importantly, it feels great because you're working with something which you can change, for the better. I'd love to hear how the Strange Fantasy works out for you! :)

  4. This is a great resolution! I think I'm kind of in the same boat as you with this. I had this shiny idea back in May/June, but put it on the back burner because I'm trying to get another story published. Now that I'm about to query the other story, I feel like I want to tackle something big, something that stretches me (just like you said). I'm currently researching for this story because it's partly historical, and I don't want to make an arse of myself by getting the facts and whatnot wrong.

    Good luck with your Something Big! Here's hoping we'll both find success with our Big Somethings. :)

  5. GO, CAROLINE, GO!!! I'm also working on a YA fantasy that scares the eff out of me, but this year, I'm in revision mode with it. In a way, that's even scarier than drafting it. BUT I do love revising more, so there's that :)

    The lessons you share here are the same I learned at the end of 2011. Write something big. Write for yourself. Push those limits. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish, sister. I'll be in the corner cheering you on with a crazed look on my face!

  6. I love this, Caroline! Write big! You can do it!

  7. What a brilliant resolution Caroline, good luck with it! It sounds like you're off to a great start!

  8. Caroline, I love your resolution for this year! Your attitude is great, and it's brave to push yourself in new directions. I also love YA fantasy and strange books, so your WIP totally intrigues. :) I'm in your corner cheering you on!!

  9. I'm inspired!!! This is a beautiful goal. I think I MUST steal it for my own :)

  10. Ooh, I have a "big" project, too!
    In late 2012 I wrote a first draft of a MG that is waaaay bigger in scope than anything I have attempted before. This is the year of turning that crazy rough draft into a real manuscript!

  11. This is an awesome goal. You can do it!! Good luck with your Strange fantasy novel. I have to say, I'm very intrigued!

  12. Hmm, 2013. First and foremost, my goal is to not go insane, which might be inevitable due to baby #2 and having a toddler. In general though, I'd like to "awaken to my true purpose" and figure it all out! Stretching, in other words...