A few years back, one of my New Year's goals/resolutions was to publish a piece of writing. Not long into the new year, I was able to do that, with the help of the incredibly lovely Karen Walrond. At that time, Karen had just started up an online magazine, Indigo Leaf, with the goal of providing a forum for previously unknown writing talent. I wrote a piece about Mary Prankster as music to grow up to, if I remember correctly, and Karen accepted it for publication.
In the grand scheme of literature, or of reviews, or even of online magazines, my little piece in Indigo Leaf wasn't even a ripple. The magazine didn't last too long (I'm not sure what happened with it, you'd have to ask Karen), what I wrote was serviceable, but not a masterpiece. But the importance, to me, of meeting that goal is hard to overstate. It was the first time in a long time I'd thought of myself as a writer. And I kept writing--I wrote for another online magazine, As We Are (also know defunct). I started blogging more seriously. I even started (and then stopped, and then started...) a journal.
Today, as I struggle through the beginnings of my National Novel Writing Month novel--my first real attempt at fiction in a long, long time--I'm drinking tea out of the Indigo Leaf mug Karen sent me as a thank you for the piece I contributed. That mug is a reminder, every day, that I set a goal and accomplished it. It doesn't matter at all that the article on Mary Prankster didn't catapult me into a career as a high-powered music reviewer. What matters is that I did it. This mug proves that. And it's going to go on proving that every day until the end of this month, at which time I will have a 50,000 word novel. It may not be a publishable novel, it may not even be a good novel, but it will be something I set my mind to doing and did. And if I do someday write a great novel, or even a publishable one, it will because I wrote this novel first. And that, in turn, will be because I wrote that piece for Indigo Leaf, and because I have this mug staring me in the face, reminding me that I can do this.