Ready, Set, Misfire

New year

Have you ever looked into someone’s eyes and wondered just why the hell they love you as much as they do? You question why they support you through all of the mistakes that you’ve made, all the opportunities you’ve missed, or people you have offended. Well, today I asked myself that question as I left my family’s home in Coffs Harbour and drove the five hour commute back to my rental in Brisbane, marking the end of my holiday season. I sat in my car and I waved goodbye to my Mum and Dad and watched the way that they looked at me and my heart broke. These two people have given me everything they possibly could in this life, busting their arses throughout my junior years to provide me with an education, a roof over my head, and everything else. Yet all I’ve ever done to repay them is purchase questionable Christmas/Birthday gifts and embarrass them by running my mouth or failing to follow through on my dreams.

Yep, here comes one of those 2014 in review posts in which I, the writer, wrap up my successes and failures over the past twelve months. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite achieve everything that I’d hoped for.

See, every single New Year’s Eve I get drunk. And when I get drunk I get a little lippy. And when I get lippy I start telling anyone who will listen that in the next twelve months I will have my manuscripts published. Twelve months ago I underwent that ritual, and while I’d like to say I gave my dreams hell, I still managed to fall a little short. This year I continued to produce entries on this blog, had my work featured across a number of websites, met agents, publishers and authors in New York City, and shook hands with a Duke. I finished a manuscript, and commenced two more. I even managed to piss off a couple of religious fanatics who tried to deface my blog but subsequently drove huge numbers of people to this site, making it ever more successful (Oh well, at least they tried).

But I also had my fair share of failures. I ended a long term relationship, destroyed the career path I’d been on for four years, and buried friendships. I drank (a lot) for a period of time in order to suppress my feelings of heartbreak, inadequacy and failure. And I fell agonisingly short of finally achieving that damned goal I set every New Year’s by actually seeing my work in print.

All in all, I’d say that I had a pretty solid 2014. I achieved a hell of a lot for a twenty five year old writer, but as I drove away from my parents I still felt as though the entire year had been a bit of a misfire. When I write I have a number of catalysts for doing so. What started as a means to overcome the demons that dwelled within my soul quickly became a way to produce stories I wanted to share with the world. And now as I grow older and my parents do the same, I write because I want to make them proud of their son; the same son who has a penchant for pissing people off and failing to follow through with his goals.

So as I drove away from my family’s home and felt a tear of regret slide down my cheek for all of the missed opportunities of 2014 I resolved to push myself harder than I ever have before in 2015. It starts with this very post: here I am on New Year’s Day, hangover free and determined to stop pissing away my time. Over the next twelve months I will chase down my dreams and I will do anything I possibly can to break into the literary industry. There will be misfires and there will be times when I fail, but if I keep focused on who I am and where I’ve come from then I’ll finally make it to where I ultimately want to be.

My parents raised four beautiful kids who owe them the world. It’s time to give it to them.

Author: Chris Nicholas

Chris Nicholas is an author from Brisbane, Australia. He has published two novels, and is currently working on his third.

18 thoughts on “Ready, Set, Misfire”

  1. 2015 is going to be awesome. Last year was kind of…meh. This year will be the year of no excuses, no putting-off-until-tomorrow and no chickening out. This is what I tell myself. Now I’m telling you. Hopefully that means we will both succeed. Good luck to you 🙂

  2. Hey Chris, your blog is fantastic! Keep up the writing and don’t give up 🙂 There is nobody saying you have to be in a particular stage of life, a specific age, or have to have written for a certain amount of time in order to make it. If people try to tell you otherwise, I give you full permission to get lippy with them 😉 P.S. That’s awesome that you’re from Brisbane :’) Tis where I’m going for my honeymoon in 5 months!

  3. Darn right. I spent most of my life drowning my creative drive in work. At 55 I faced breast cancer, a type that had only a 5% survival rate. I was furious with myself for working so hard and wasting so much time on a job that didn’t even leave me with a savings account. Not only that, the chemo treatment fried my brain to such a degree I didn’t trust my ability to handle the huge sums of money I dealt with on a daily basis when I went back to work. Luckily I was able to retire the next year with a livable pension. Then I spent the next year essentially sleeping, recovering from the chemo. Finally in 2014, the sister I live with nagged me into self publishing through Amazon Kindle my first book of short stories. It took another six months to get the next short story collection done. Everything kept getting in the way; everything being mostly my fear of nobody finding the children I created as beautiful as I did. I’m getting past that now and am finally surrendering to the drive to create instead of the craven urge to hear everyone tell me how wonderful I am. I’m not making a living at it yet, but wow, I’m so much happier. Pour your passion into your writing and trust to God for the timing of publishing. It’s so much more relaxing than alcohol, drugs, and especially work.

  4. You have made a big path for yourself thus far, and each year you’re only going to be closer to grasping what you want.

    It’s unfortunate about the relationships and friendships that didn’t work out, but at the end, there will be more friendships to come and you will find someone to be in a relationship to work out with.

    I myself am trying to accomplish my dreams and they still feel so far out of grasp, but I’m trying to make my way there.

    Things don’t happen over night, and they wont come easy. Sometimes we just need to put out one heck of a fight and a struggle to get what we deserve.

    Best of luck to you, and I hope 2015 is a lot better for you.

  5. Um, I’m probably not going to be as popular with this comment…but I really wanted to say something about your 2015, and other previous year goals of trying to get published. It makes me think of a response Cheryl Strand gave in her advice column “Dear Sugar,” which I will paraphrase here (and link below). This goal is basically a goal that is completely out of your control. You could have the most beautiful, well written, engaging manuscript and it will still not get published. What gets published is what will sell, not necessarily what is good. Look at 50 Shades of Grey or the Twilight series…neither is an example of great story telling. It is also a matter of luck. My friend’s little sister started a blog for fun and within six months there was a six figure bidding war for the book rights…which did get published. I think she was 22 at the time.

    But it wasn’t her goal, it was just some work and dumb luck.

    There are, of course, things you can do to get to that goal, which is sounds like you have been doing and getting really close, but after that it really isn’t in your hands. It sounds like you actually had an awesome year. A very busy year. And none of that is wasted. But having this, being published, as your goal is setting your self up for failure. It is like having a goal to be famous…could work, could also not work, but it ultimately it is in the hands of others, not you.

    I really recommend you read Cheryl Strand’s response. Skip over the first letter…it was written by a very jealous writer, which you do not seem to be in this post at all….it is really the response that is great reminder for all those who are creative and hope to one day get published, or get a record deal, or have a gallery…whatever it is. I’m not sure if you know who she is, but she just had a book published “Wild” which was just turned into a movie. This advice column is before she had all of that.

  6. 25 is a fantastic age. Enjoy your youth. You might consider breaking down your goals into bite-sized pieces. I know with me if the project is too big I tend to procrastinate to the point of giving up. Also starting off the year in an “information-gathering” mode might help give you the momentum you desire. I’m a fan of “information interviews” in which I seek out specific people (experts in their field) or companies and request a 10-15 minute interview. This is the opportunity to ask the top-notchers specific questions related to how you can accomplish your goal(s). It’s like you’re a Pirate and you’re meticulously mapping out your way to the “treasure”.

    I’m rooting for you. I know you will find your treasure. Have faith (not the super-religious kind).

    La Panzona {Pahn.So.Nuh}

  7. No progress of any value comes without paying the price of failures (usually frequent and sizable!). The only failure you *must* avoid is failure to learn from our mistakes.

    Onward and upward!

  8. You are amazing and extremely brave to share post your vulnerable thoughts here but that is the beauty of being a writer. I think you do a positively beautiful job expressing yourself. Remember, no one is perfect and it’s those rough times that shape the person you are becoming, the man that you are and how are you to write inspiring and creative words on a page if you don’t have some experience with your emotions? There is no wrong or right way. You got this. Believe me as an aspiring writer myself – I understand. Sometimes you just need to be reminded that it’s all going to work out the way it should be, just need to accept, breathe and have patience 🙂 – Nicole

  9. To prosper, we must believe and continually strive for what that inner voice whispers. To become self-realised we need to first become self explored and willing to fight our own demons. To write for fun is amazing but to write from the soul is phenomenal. I too write for my own fulfilment and to find an appreciative audience makes the journey even more exciting. Sometimes we need to lay our goals on the road and continue to work towards them, however the priority needs to remain with the journey. It is the simple journey which teaches us, guides us and directs us. Maybe our overall goal will remain. Maybe the journey itself will alter it. That is what keeps it interesting and keeps us forever inspired. 🙂

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