5 Resolutions for @Only_Mama’s Debut Year

Finish the first draft of my novel. (OK, second draft, but that’s only because the real first draft was so terrible it demanded an entire rewrite.) I love writing fiction, however, it’s way harder for me. I’d like to be halfway decent at it, and the only way to do it is to read more great fiction and write more fiction. Which means I am allowed to read a lot and count it as work. Yay!

Finish polishing my second memoir, Mama, Mama, Only Mama, and start looking for its permanent home. I’ve left it marinating until I take Daniel Menaker’s humor workshop later this month, at which point I will put it from the brine and finish it off. I love this book so much—it’s been so much fun to write. I’ve talked with my kids quite a lot about this book (as opposed to Girlish, which is not for children in any way, shape or form), and they are excited about it as well. It’s still not a children’s book, but at least they can read the chapters about themselves and feel some ownership in the project.  I did use them as my main source of material, after all.

Continue making plans as if I don’t have anxiety, but also make back up plans for surviving my launch even though I do have anxiety. I have a lot to do this spring, and I have invested too much to curl into a ball and refuse to leave my chair. Anxiety and excitement feel very similar in the body. Let’s see if I can turn some of it into excitement.

That segues into making more real world friends in the literary community. I do great online, but it’s time to leave the house this year and go to events, readings, bookstores, and do the talking thing with my mouth instead of my fingers. Luckily a large percentage of other writers and readers are as introverted as I am, and are generally not too scary—generally being the operative word here. And also luckily some members of the literary community are extroverts and capable of starting conversations with us anxious people hovering around the buffet eating cheese.

Come to believe that all publicity is good publicity. I know at least some reviews will disappoint me or stress me out. I also know that I fear success as much as failure. It’s way easier to write a book and imagine only a handful of readers than to think a zillion people might crack the spine. If I can appreciate the book chatter even if readers/reviewers don’t say the things I’d love for them to say I’ll be much better off.

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Lara Lillibridge sings off-beat and dances off-key. She writes a lot, and sometimes even likes how it turns out. Her memoir, Girlish, available for preorder on Amazon, is slated for release in February 2018 with Skyhorse Publishing. Lara Lillibridge is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College’s MFA program in Creative Nonfiction. In 2016 she won Slippery Elm Literary Journal’s Prose Contest, and The American Literary Review's Contest in Nonfiction. She has had essays published in Pure Slush Vol. 11, Vandalia, and Polychrome Ink; on the web at Hippocampus, Crab Fat Magazine, Luna Luna, Huffington Post, The Feminist Wire, and Airplane Reading, among others. Read her work at www.LaraLillibridge.com

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