For the past several weeks I have been gaining my bearings, trying to get a grip on everything I need to learn and do to influence the trajectory for my writing. I am still finalizing my official list of writing goals for the year. Unlike last year, it has taken some time to figure out my priorities, while being realistic about what is actually possible for someone to do with big dreams, high hopes and the realities of time and financial constraints.
My first priority with regard to my creative writing is to publish my poetry collection, I Can Make Life. I am still in the process of researching how to best pull this off. When I thought of quickly converting it into an e-book on amazon.com, I realized that I was feeling reluctant to use this, my baby, as the guinea pig for figuring out how e-publishing worked. Then it dawned on me that I already had a really good test subject for learning how to epublish: the blog I wrote in 2006 about our adventures as we stumbled toward parenthood. The blog was about a year in the making (culminating in the birth of our daughter) - and I believe is an interesting read! I'm currently re-working the text to make it more suitable to a book format and hope to have it "out there" in the next month or so.
As for the poetry book itself, I finally decided on a plan today: to make it available as an eBook on my website, on amazon, smashwords, etc., and sell a limited number of print copies. I am looking into fundraising for the print publishing, potentially with kickstarter.com, and I am still researching self-publishing companies. I meet with Ginger at the end of the month and once the cover is ready to go, the book will be available in the not so distant future on my website and then the online distributors. While it won't necessarily be a goal to make a profit on the eBooks, I'd like to try to make back the costs on my print run...though I'd also like to have a number of copies available to donate to people in the health professions who can make these copies available to the women that could use them: midwives, counsellors, even local libraries.
Much time these past few weeks have been spent getting a handle on my duties as Food and Health editor for Thrifty and Green. This has been challenging in some respects – there is much to do, and I want to do it all, and be amazing at everything I do, without having to spend time learning! The first two weeks of January I spent some time figuring out how editors work together to create a magazine (for the upcoming February digital edition). Many aspects of it I’d never really thought about before. There were fun parts to the learning process: my kitchen became a test kitchen, for instance. I also became a (dubious specimen of a) food photographer. Popcorn was everywhere (the kids loved it!) I wrote a book review of one of my favourite cookbooks. I busily tracked down potential contributors, quickly formed some new friendships and realized how much I love liaising with other writers, and working as a team to meet a common goal. Those moments when things unexpectedly came together, in part because I was there to help make them happen, were fabulous.
I think overall I've scaled back what I expect I can do in the year ahead. I'm committed to my freelance work, which is taking between 10 and 20 hours a week on top of my 40 hour a week day job. I have creative projects I hoped to launch in the early part of the year that are going to take longer - and that's OK. My biggest wish for 2012, in fact, is for subtle shifts that amount to dramatic changes for me and my family. That all of the pressures don’t disappear, but that some ease off, even just a little.
I do deeply want to make the books that are waiting to be made, but require more “me” time and attention to do so than I currently have. I want time to promote the ones that are almost there, ready for the world. Most of all, if it is at all possible I want to shift away from my downtown day job, doing much more of the writing and editing work I enjoy and am good at from home. I want to focus on the stuff that makes me feel aligned with purpose, appropriately challenged and at the end of the day, feeling satisfied that I met or exceeded my potential.
Maybe I want a lot. But if you don’t dream, how does anyone find themselves where they want to be? It really all does start in our imaginations.
So hello again, 2012. I hope you are with me on that.