For 2011: A little more hot chocolate, a lot less stress.

Today, one of my plans fell through.

I can’t identify the plan on this blog, but it doesn’t matter. It was something I wanted and it’s not going to happen. End of story.

Normally when something like this happens, I have a pretty scripted response. I freak out. In order to circumvent the cycle of disappointment and self-blame that my brain is about to initiate, I turn off my brain and turn on my mouth. I talk non-stop about went wrong. I follow my husband from room to room, babbling at him. As soon my husband appears to have reached the breaking point, I call my mother and talk to her for hours. I “casually” mention the thing that’s been bothering me to friends, thereby hijacking all conversation with my worries.

All of this is a desperate attempt to convince myself that I:

a) did the right thing

b) didn’t do the wrong thing

c) am not a bad person/irresponsible/ failure at life

d) should not blame myself

Usually all of this frenzied talking does nothing to make me feel any better. Usually it means I spend far too much time dwelling on the problem. I fret, I lose sleep, I don’t write, and despite all the reassuring evidence I’ve marshaled  to prove to myself that I am not a failure, I end up feeling like one.

It’s really about the worst coping strategy a girl could want.

So I am not doing it anymore.

One of my resolutions this year is to be a calmer person. This evening, to cope with my disappointment, I’m trying something different.

As soon as I got the bad news, I went downstairs and found my husband. We talked about our goals for this year and for the next ten years. After looking at our goals for the next several years, it turns out that one setback in 2011 is just a blip on the radar screen. It’s not worth worrying about, because we have bigger fish to fry.

I have huge goals for this year alone: I plan to finish my novel. I plan to publish at least one story in a literary magazine. I’m applying for fellowships. I’m going to try to publish a novelette this year. By the end of 2011, I hope to have at least made a dollar off my creative writing. I’m building a list of agents to query when the first draft of my novel is complete. I plan to get my website set up. And most importantly,  I will graduate this summer with my Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing.

Those are just the writing-related goals. I think they’re all feasible, and the fact that I can reasonably achieve all that makes any setback seem minuscule.

Now I’m kicking back with some hot chocolate and writing this blog post. I haven’t even called my mother.*

*To be completely accurate (and because I know she does read this blog sometimes) I did spend an hour and a half talking to her this afternoon. But not about this.