It’s been more than six months since I publicly posted my goals for the year. There were only four. And I’ve only met one of them, which was the most realistic and which also happened the very first day of 2012. It has been, truthfully, all downhill from there. Since I am apparently in a self-torture mood, here’s how the goals are going:
1. Break four hours in a marathon. This is the only one I’ve accomplished.
2. Beat my half-marathon time. I was on track to do this in August, and was also on track to beat my 5K time in July. Then I wiped out on my bike. My knee was the only thing injured but, four weeks later, it still hurts every day. I’ve run 1.5 miles in four weeks, as opposed to 120-150 miles. The only highlight is that, now that it’s been four weeks, the doctor will do an MRI.
3. That undisclosed goal, which understandably frustrates people with its vagueness. I was making a couple strides toward this, and then I undid it all. I’m slightly trying again, but who knows.
4. Start on one of two book ideas. When it comes down to it, there’s one book I’ve wanted to write. I’ve known that for years, though the magnitude of it has scared me. It had been several years since I actually looked to see what had been written on the topic, so I finally got up the nerve to search Amazon the other night. The result? Well, let’s put it this way: If I’d tried to start this back when I first got the idea, I would have been far ahead of anyone else. But in 2006, someone published a similar book. In 2008, another such book was published. Those authors had more resources than I, and one of them is co-authored by experts in the field who got a professional writer to help them with the book.
I’ve since thought about it, and I don’t think the topic isn’t dead. I think I could put my own spin on it. Both books happen to be written by people based in Arizona, and it looks like their books focus on Arizona, a state I’ve visited once and to which I have no connection. I haven’t actually bought and read the other books. Both are sitting in my online shopping cart, but I guess I don’t like the idea of buying books that are, essentially, written by my possible competition. I also fear that my vague ideas would be skewed by theirs, and the last thing I want to do is accidentally plagiarize someone. However, I also realize that I have to know what I’m up against, and if I have any chance at all. What is left in this topic? Can my own spin be enough for another book?
When it comes down to it, I know the odds are slim that I’d ever get a book contract. I know that I’d be rejected a bunch of times, and that I’d wind up having to foot my own research, travel, time-off-work expenses. And I know that I’d likely have to self-publish if I actually wanted to fulfill my lifelong dream of seeing my name on the spine of a book. That opens up other challenges, because my book would involve interviews and others’ stories, and who wants to talk to some random writer who has no contract and would pay out of her own pocket for 100 copies to be printed from an Internet site?
I’ve spent years dodging and ignoring this dream, and convincing myself that I cannot do it. Now I’ve found proof that others have beaten me to it. I keep telling myself that it’s too late, that I need to move on.
And yet, despite my best attempts, the dream still won’t die. Maybe that means something.