Thursday, January 3, 2013

Lucky 2013 - The Year of the 5

A neighbourhood cat accompanied me on my walk last night. I've never seen this little girl before, and to be honest, I'm not much of a cat person*, but as she plodded along next to me in the chill, I was grateful for her company.

It didn't occur to me until halfway through my phone conversation with a friend that the cat was black - and if I was an overly superstitious person, I might have envisioned all kinds of doom and gloom for the year. But she was a beautiful little thing - as far as cats go - and she acted more like a guardian angel than a harbinger of death.

Of course, she also made me think of the protagonist in my thriller series, Cait Willis, a skeptic reporter with a knack for debunking urban myths - and getting in trouble. I'll be writing a lot more about Cait in the next 12 months - her second story is one of the five projects I hope to complete in 2013. Ambitious? Perhaps, but it's part of my resolution theme centered on the number five.

Why five?

Well, some of it has to do with the fact that my bestie turns 50 this year. While she struggles with the number, I'm going to honor her awesomeness by making this The Year of the Five.

I have a strong contingent of amazing writerly and readerly friends who have contributed to my career - from serious mentorship, to beta reading, to simply feeding my sometimes needy ego (we ARE a sensitive bunch). But the leader has always been Jamie. From the beginning of this often rocky journey, she has been my biggest fan. My first - and fastest - reader. My most honest critic. In the words of Stephen King, she is my Ideal Reader - and often, the person I most want to impress at the end of the book. If the IR isn't happy, I know I've missed my mark.

The number five also is symbolic for several resolutions (writerly and otherwise) I always make, and seldom achieve.

I try not to beat myself up over missed New Year's resolutions - I have enough life/work pressure without tacking on more. But, like November is to my NaNoWriMo obsession, January is to making promises to myself. A superstitious person might argue that 2013 may be an odd year (literally and figuratively!) to push for resolution success, but maybe I'm a little like Cait and declaring this a lucky year, no matter what the numbers say.

So, in honor of my dear friend (who does not look a day over 30), and to debunk the "unlucky 13" myth, here are my five 2013 New Year's Resolutions:

1. Write 500,000 words. Sounds daunting, I know. But break it down and it's 1,300 words a day. I'm not pinning the words on any specific project - novels, screenplays, short stories, and even poetry (ha ha, just kidding...I can't write poetry) all count. (Blogs, sadly, do not. Neither does non-fiction writing unless it's the documentary I'm writing - so all day job writing is out.) Sounds like a lot of rules, right? But actually, it's the most flexible I've been. Words towards any project is still words - and that can only better my craft.

2. Lose 50 pounds. Yeah, it's a big one. But honestly, I've been trying to lose the same 50 pounds for several years. This year I'm getting serious. I've enlisted the help of a trainer who will either motivate or kill me. 50 is the target...but it may end up that I only need to lose 25. Regardless, I'm striving for better health.

3. Take 50 pride-worthy photographs. I have a really nice camera. I have extensive photography experience. Heck, I was a photo journalist for seven years and took some damn good photos once upon a time. I miss it. So, by the end of 2013, I'm shooting for (ha!) 50 photos I'm proud of. Maybe I'll make a calendar or something ;-)

4. Read 50 books and watch 50 movies. 2012 was a defining year for my career. I entered the world of television and movie writing, and decided it isn't as scary as I once thought. In fact, it's fun. I am represented by the amazing Anna Archer of Lucas Talent (one of Canada's top script agencies) and one of my projects was optioned for development of a TV series. Exciting, yes! But my first love will always be books. I spent more time watching TV than reading last year (hey you, Sons of Anarchy, you kind of rocked my world. Likewise Revenge, Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Dexter, Game of Thrones, True Blood and...well, you get the idea) and I'm feeling it. SO MANY BOOKS CAME OUT THAT I DID NOT READ! And as the story goes, you can't write if you don't read. This year, I'm gunning for 50 books (half of last year's goal, and twice as much as I actually read), and, because I need to keep understanding scriptwriting and storytelling for the screen, I'm throwing in 50 movies.

5. And lastly, 50 moments of pampering. Sounds luxurious, right? Well, my 50 pampering moments may not include a spa treatment, but they will include things I do for myself. Maybe it's register for a cooking class. It might be going for a long drive, or buying a new CD. Perhaps I'll indulge in a gelato, or treat myself to a latte from the Italian Centre. It might even be just spending time with a friend. Regardless, by the end of the year, I'm logging 50 things I did for me.

That's it, friends. My resolutions for 2013. You making any? Here's to wishing we all meet our personal goals, and that this year brings you health, good fortune, happiness - and luck.

- Dawn

* Though it's doubtful I'd ever own a cat (or that my three dogs would not eat said cat), I DO like OTHER people's cats, especially kittens!

The Book In My Bag: An Abundance of Katherines, John Green


  1. Uhhh honey? Can we move that 'not a day over 30' to perhaps something more realistic? I'd be happy with early to mid 40'ish? ( given enough wine, I can be persuaded to go as low as 39 in the moment. lol )

    But let's get serious and real for a moment, shall we? This is the best gift I could of gotten from you, Dawn. To see you grow this year, to see you succeed in attainable goals.(put 'attainable' in italics here as I can't seem to figure out how)
    To see you put YOU at the head of the class. Long long overdue, we agree?

    I am going to very much enjoy watching you grow on a personal level in every way. Mentally, physically and your emotional strength will know no bounds. Yes, I will be applauding,loudly,the well (insert italics) deserved professional success you richly deserve. (not only italics but please underline 'richly' and I'm not speaking on a bias level. I'm calling a spade a spade. And we both know it's one of my strong suits. . love it or hate it.)

    So Happy Birthday to me, I get my bestie back as she should be once again. Strong, confident and ready to give even Jagger a run for her money. ( Ooooh Jagger, we're both going to have fun with Dawn, aren't we?! Boo Ya! )

    So now I ask you, HOW could this NOT be an excellent year?!
    Start your adventure Sugar, I'm SO ready when you are.

    Small note: I'm only turning 50 once, honey, so make 'er count! From this birthday on, I've set the number dial on reverse.

    1. Uhhh honey? Not moving the day over 30, because well, it's my blog post and I'll suck up if I want to. No seriously, aging looks GOOD on you. Lucky bitch.

      I don't know about giving Jagger a run for her money (she is pretty perfect in her flawed way), but I'm definitely taking 2013 to take care of me. And we shall have some fun with that, no?

      Age is just a number, my friend. xoxoxox

  2. Hi there! Jamie sent me over and I love it, and I love her, so I signed up to follow. I especially like number 5. Now that one I NEED. I'd like to attempt the photo thing as well. I've got a great camera too, but not much time, I still have five of eight kids at home as well as a daughter in law and a toddler grandson. So the photos will have to wait. Congratulations on the new aspects of your career! That sounds exciting. Anyway, I'm happy to be here and it's nice to "meet" you....Diva

    1. Hey there, Diva, I've heard a lot about you! Thanks for popping by - and staying.
      Jamie is good at reminding me of the things I forgot I love to do, like take pictures. Now I have to catch up, because she's brilliant.
      I understand about putting things on hold. Your family is huge (8 kids...I bow to you) and sounds like your life is crazy. I hope you DO take time to pamper yourself.
      Heading over to your blog now...