Saturday, January 1, 2011


Ack! Today is the the first day of the year (and also 1-1-11! That has to mean something!). Resolution time! 2010 was quite a wonderful and memorable year for me, So even though I had a lot of resolution fails last year (#5 and #9 were epic failures), I feel pretty content.

But I still hope to accomplish things in 2011! I have thought a great deal this year's resolutions, some are repeats from last year but with a different viewpoint (which I hope makes them more accomplish-able!):

1. Learn Chinese. I've been an embarrassing Chinese School failure for a long time and this is the year I plan on remedying that. I want to at least be able to have a basic conversation in Mandarin. My schedule doesn't allow for classes until the summer, but in the meantime I've plunked the money down for Rosetta Stone & dedicated lingual chats with my Mom.

2. Appreciate my readers. Ah, same as last year, but needed more this year! I said that if my FB fanpage ever reaches 1000 fans I'd give everyone cupcakes. I'm at 1337 fans now and still no cupcakes. I have an inkling of an idea of how to do it..hopefully it will happen in 2011!

3. Stop waiting. You know those people who keep plastic on their furniture to keep it good? Or have those nice plates dusting away on a high shelf because they are only to be used for special occasions that never happen? I'm kind of like that. During my Newbery dress search, I acquired a number of pretty clothes that lay unworn while I waited for something special. This is silly. What am I waiting for? In the Tao Te Ching, there is a line about how a cup is only valuable when it is holding something, when it is being used. That means not using items because they are so valuable actually makes them worthless. I'm going to stop waiting and use the things I own. And make everyday a special occasion!

4. Find peace with things outside my control. There's always going to be somebody who's going to find my books boring, my art unappealing, or my personality annoying. Things like that are pretty common for all authors--for all people, actually--yet, I let it get to me much more than I should. My job is to carve out my bit of happiness with the rock I've been given and that is what I need to remember.

5. Seize the day. This ties into #3 and #4. I have some ambitious dreams that I've done nothing about because I've hoped that an opportunity would present itself (#3) and because I've been afraid of others might think it's stupid or that I am getting full of myself (#4). For example, I would absolutely adore Ling and Ting to be PBS cartoon. And while I know it's a long shot, I feel like I should at least try and give it a shot. Anyone know how to pitch an idea to PBS?

6. Balance. This is something on my list every year and I've never achieved it. I regressed to blob state more times in 2010 than ever before. sigh. School visits, traveling, creating books, being healthy-- someday I will find a way to balance my life. Maybe this year?

7. Clean my studio once a month. I wanted to say every week but that resolution would be broken pretty quickly. I have to make realistic, achievable goals, y'know.

8. Figure out Social Media. Or at least what I am doing with it. Right now, I have a blog. This blog has posts that tweet, show up on my FB page and provide content for my newsletter. Maybe that is okay. Or should the newsletter have something special just for newsletter readers? FB something different just for FB readers? Tweets that are not just broadcasting my posts, but are bits of conversation? Do I want to do that? Do I have time to do that? I'm not sure but this year I'm going to figure it out.

9. Charity. In 2010, instead of one large project like smallgraces, I participated a number of small charity projects (with ATASK, Hyde Park Suzuki, Open Fields and 826LA) which I was proud of. I'm not sure if I will continue with small project participation or think up another large one, but I definitely wish to continue.

10. Write without sugar. I have a bad habit of ingesting sweet things while writing. Well, I have a bad habit of ingesting sweet things all the time, but while writing is particularly troublesome. Somehow I have connected the creative process with high amounts of sugar intake (perhaps this is why some of my writing gets overly sentimental!) and this is not good . Which is why I will not do it in 2011!

11. Have Faith. Every year, I have the same literary goal. But this year I am tying it into resolutions #4 and #5. For a while, I have been hearing and reading is how the book industry is dead or dying. There will be no more books and authors will be lucky to have any readers or make any money (much less make a living). It's been enough to tempt me to give up on the whole book thing and try to become a cupcake decorator (though now the cupcake trend is over too).

It's quite stressful. I don't want to bury my head in the sand, so I do plan to try put new opportunities if they feel right (#5). But if I truly grasp resolution #4 (make peace with things I cannot control) and create a story/art/book to the absolute best of my ability, I have to believe there will be an audience to share it with.

I have to believe what I do is of value and others value it too. Or else what's the point of making any resolutions at all, right?

Happy 2011, all!