Monday, December 27, 2010

Fresh Starts

I remember the first time my parents told me we were moving. I was eleven turning twelve, about to start 6th grade. Up to that point, nothing had really changed in my life. I'd lived in the same apartment, gone to the same school and church, had many of the same friends. The idea of moving even 2 hours away seemed like the scariest thing in the world.

Note: For you youngins we didn't have internet back then—we were lucky to have a computer! I played a lot of Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego. So no, there really was no way to keep in touch with friends save the good ol' letter. And we all know how that turns out.

Sure, I was excited to finally have my own room. Sharing with two sibling was rough. And there were some people that, let's face it, I would be happy to never see again. Like Brian, the boy who stole my first kiss, though I still say it doesn't count. But it still felt like a death sentence.

Anyway, that move was my first official fresh start. It pushed me out of my comfort zone, brought good and bad things/people, and ultimately shaped a big part of who I am. I may have only spent three years in Brentwood, CA, before moving to Utah, but that fresh start taught me something:

Moving on can be a great thing.

I've had many fresh starts since that first one. Moving to Utah, finishing junior high and then high school, going to college, moving in with different roommates, getting married, having a baby or two. Each came with hard things, but also wonderful and happy things. I've come to really love the fresh start now, because it's almost like an adrenaline rush or something.

What will happen?

Who will I meet?

How will I handle what comes of this?

It's exciting! That nervous, scary, potentially awesome exciting we all know—anticipation. I used to hate anticipation, but now I've learned enough to know that things have a way of working out. Never in the way you imagine, but they do. Actually, it usually turns out cooler and crazier than you thought.

With the coming New Year, I've been thinking a lot about fresh starts, and I've decided it's time for another. New agent, new seems right to start with a new manuscript as well. As hard as it is to set a book aside after so much work, it's time. I feel really good about it, actually. Not that I'm super excited to begin the submission process anew—I certainly don't have rosy dreams of it anymore—but it's nice to have a blank slate, of sorts.

So here's to fresh starts and all the good and bad they bring.


  1. Oh, Carmen, where the heck was she anyway? Great post, very inspiring! I'm going into the new year with a fresh start in mind, as well. Good luck to both of us :)

  2. Good luck with your new manuscript! There is definitely something to be said for fresh starts. It can sometimes be a real motivator.

  3. I love that we get to start over on New Year's day. Good luck with the new manuscript. I'm hoping 2011 is your year!

  4. Huzzah for fresh starts! I always look forward to the New Year and resolutions myself.

    (P.S. I read your first kiss story. Sounds a lot like mine too: kiss-chase, fast runner, tomboy, everything. Except the boy who stole mine was named Adam.)

  5. "I used to hate anticipation, but now I've learned enough to know that things have a way of working out. Never in the way you imagine, but they do. Actually, it usually turns out cooler and crazier than you thought."

    Hehe, so true, so true.

    I've got a New Year's resolution in mind, but it's more of a "finish what I started" spree than a fresh start. But I have that same excited, "feels right" feeling that you're talking about, and I think that's the key.

    Good luck with the new manuscript! I can't wait to read more about it. :)

  6. Very exciting! Are you keeping your current manuscript on submission while you forge ahead with the other?

  7. Cheers to fresh starts!

    I loved me some Where in the World is Carmen San Diego (still know the theme song...)

    And who could forget OREGON TRAIL!

    Happy Fresh Start, Natalie! Just think - 2011 is the year you get to write that BOOK DEAL blog post! I know it! =)

  8. what about sim city?

    good luck to you with your fresh starts. I'm kind of feeling like I need one too.

  9. There's nothing quite like a fresh, new manuscript, is there? It's like falling in love with writing all over again. Good luck with yours!!

  10. Best of luck. It's scary to start over, but I've heard so many authors say they had written several books before their first book was published.

  11. We moved to a new state about five years ago, and it's taken me until about now to realize what a good thing it was...I guess sometimes fresh starts aren't so obvious.

    Best of luck with the new manuscript! Hope everything turns out amazingly.

  12. Thanks for this. I seem to be experiencing a lot of fresh starts lately, and not all of them have felt good, but you are right. Starting over leaves many good opportunities open and who knows what might happen if you're willing to embrace the change. :)

  13. Great post and hurray for fresh starts! As a Navy brat, I've survived many!

    Loved your telling of your stollen first kiss.

  14. I love fresh starts. As a school teacher, getting a new batch of students each year is like a fresh start. Some years go better than others.

  15. Me thinks there is a message for me in there somewhere...

    Ah, you're right. Moving on CAN be good. It's just...scary as hell too.


  16. Fresh starts can be wonderful, a lot of times. Good luck with your new manuscritp!

  17. I love fresh starts. Even spring cleaning makes me feel better :)

  18. Carmen San Diego! I LOVED that game! I'd forgotten about that. I also wish I could forget my first kiss; like you, I believe that my first kiss doesn't count. I believe that because it was so awful that thinking about it makes me cringe.

  19. Thanks for such an awesome and encouraging post, Natalie. I'm about to go through a whole bunch of 'fresh starts' of my own, and have a tendency to dread this kind of thing - but your post is exactly what I needed to change my perspective. You're right; lots of good things come with fresh starts too.

    Thanks :)

  20. Sounds great. I've been working on a manuscript for a long time now too. I know it needs one more revision but I think I'll start on something new too.

  21. Yay for 2011 and fresh starts! It will definitely be the year of new beginnings...I'm pretty scared about it but excited at the same time. I keep bouncing back and forth between the two. :P

    I'm wondering if I should keep working on my one novel (the one that's been in progress for years...) or start my failed NaNo novel again. Either way, I need get a draft done before the baby that gives me six months. :P