C.J. Graves is the author of three novels, including Crossed: A Jayden Morrow Mystery–featuring former Army soldier turned private investigator, Jayden Morrow.
After growing up in NW Pennsylvania in the cold and snow, C.J. Graves moved to Japan to live in…more cold and snow, but she now resides in sunny North Carolina with her wonderful husband and swimming pool.
Having graduated from UNCG with a degree in Interior Architecture and Design, she soon realized she wasn’t cut out for the project management side of the business and turned to another creative love—writing. When she’s not pounding the keys or running a critique group, she enjoys beating up teenagers in her mixed martial arts class.
So, here it is again. The final days of another year, come and almost gone. The older I get, the faster they speed on by. Presuming you’re reading these words, the end of the Mayan calendar did NOT mark the end of our existence but just a convenient place for those ancients to say, “Hey, guys. I think we’ve planned far enough ahead.”
And on the subject of planning ahead, I don’t know about you, but my list of New Year’s resolution failures rivals the length and breadth of the Grand Canyon. Unlike the Grand Canyon though, it ain’t pretty. Perhaps it’s more like the Grand Canyon at night–a dark gash with the raging Colorado River at the bottom ready to whisk away any promises I made to myself in the light of day.
Becoming a writer doesn’t make any of this easier. Now, instead of resolving to hit the gym more, clean my house more, give up chocolate (who are we kidding?) and stop buying useless hair care products, I have to add things like, outline my new idea, contact bloggers to review my books, post to my Facebook everyday, and horror of all horrors, finish my most recent mystery novel. All this makes me ponder the end of the world with a certain morbid nostalgia.
Not that this writing gig is bad. On the contrary, it can be a wonderfully creative and exciting ride. But it’s also hard and stuff gets in the way. Stuff like work, family, and never-ending loads of dirty laundry. I won’t even mention that pesky problem called writer’s block. So adding New Year’s resolutions on top of this teetering pile can be asking for trouble–the kind of demoralizing, soul crushing trouble that writers already love to torture themselves with on a daily basis. Yes, it seems ANY resolution I make quickly dissolves under the pressure of so much stuff. I’m afraid my resolutions are really more like inclinations.
But what’s wrong with that? We’re all striving to be better. As writers, we saddle our characters with overwhelming baggage just to watch them strive to be better. In my mystery novel, Crossed, the protagonist, Jayden Morrow, did two tours in Iraq in the Army. She lost her fiancé there and saw some pretty horrible things. It left her with post-traumatic stress disorder, a fear of commitment, and a bit of an anger issue. She’s aware of these problems. She’s trying to improve. Most of her efforts end in a crash and burn, but she keeps trying, and we keep rooting for her. Why not give ourselves the same latitude?
So, in 2013, instead of feeling angry and ashamed for not keeping every New Year’s promise I made, I’m taking the pressure off and embracing my good intentions. It may be the road to Hell, but I’ll have more fun getting there. Even if it means eating another cookie, ignoring that messy closet, and writing eight hundred words that day instead of a thousand, so what?
It’s not the end of the world.