Karen Brichoux

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"Draws the reader into the story and never lets go." --RT Bookclub
"Brichoux reminds the reader how powerfully the landscape of 'home' can define a person." -- High Country News
Previously Released
"An exceptional novel." --Melissa Senate, author of The Solomon Sisters Wise Up
"A coup. Warm, smart, and original." --Kirkus Reviews


Goals and Resolutions

January 11, 2005

January 2005 Newsletter from the desk of Karen Brichoux


*Article: “Goals and Resolutions”
*What I’m Reading


January 21 (Friday) from 12 noon to 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, I will be taking part in a “live e-mail exchange” with NAL Assistant Editor Kerry Donovan on the NAL Bulletin Board. The link to the exchange is:
Next week, Kerry will set up a thread for the exchange as “Live Chat With ________.” You must be registered to post e-mail during the exchange. There is a purple/blue button marked “register” at the top of the above screen that will take you through the steps (registration is free). Please stop by and join in the conversation! (If you can’t be there during the actual hour, you may post your questions or comments before or after the exchange.)

Article: “Goals and Resolutions”

For some reason, January 1 is special. Setting aside all pondering over why an arbitrary date is special (as opposed to say, cycles of the moon or sun or whatever), I must admit that January brings with it a feeling of new beginnings. Part of that is the fact that the days are (finally) getting longer, but part of it is also my own way of keeping track of my career.

As a writer, it’s difficult to keep track of growth and changes both to myself and to my writing; to my business and to my creativity. Here’s my way of keeping track of the changes.

Each January, I go back through my journal entries and business mail, and jot down everything that happened during the last year. This includes everything from nebulous worries to cold, hard facts about print run and sales numbers. I then open a special file that I created the first week of January in the previous year. In this file are all of my goals and dreams for, in the latest case, 2004. I then go through and see how those goals were met.

Goals are often not met in the way I thought they would be met when I first articulated them. Early goals in my career tended to revolve more around keeping everyone happy and proud of me--being the “good little shaver.” Later career goals have been more about how I can get what I want and what my career needs in order to grow. I’ve often been surprised to find out how different I have become in the space of a single year. But the changes are usually subtle, enough so that I would never have noticed if I hadn’t had last year’s goals staring me in the face. There’s a tremendous sense of satisfaction to be gained by the knowledge that you have changed, your writing has changed, and/or your goals from the previous January have been met or were exceeded. There’s also a lot of learning to be done by looking at goals which were not met. Why did I fail to meet the goal? Was it something I could have done differently or was it something out of my control?

After the goals, I often create a wish list. This list isn’t grounded in reality--at least not in the reality of January 1, 2005! I keep this wish list because it’s a list of dreams and hopes for the future. I’d like a million dollars so I could pay off that pesky student loan debt. I’d like to be #1 on the New York Times best seller list. I’d like a stone house in northern France or a cottage in England. I’m unlikely to get any of these wishes--at least in the near or even distant future--but there’s something magical about articulating a wish.

Here’s hoping all your dreams and goals become reality in the new year.

What I’m Reading:


THE FORTUNE OF WAR by Patrick O’Brian


THE CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens



HERE ON EARTH by Alice Hoffman