* Finish the novel. (I am really close)
* Get PRO pin. (once I finish the book, I can start down this path)
* Sell 6 Trues. (I sold 10)
* Get in shape. (well…)
As I’ve been contemplating the goals I set last year and the ones I should set for 2009, I’ve seen a remarkable connection between them and the gifts I received for Christmas.
Santa (AKA Mr. Playground Monitor) was quite generous. The first gift I saw when I went into the great room on Christmas morning was a brand new Dyson Ball vacuum cleaner. How thrilling, you say. Well, I did need a new vac. Mine is about 15 years old, is making noises and has been discontinued so I can’t buy replacement filters and parts for it anymore. I’d mentioned to the DH we were going to need a new vac and that I’d LOVE to have a Dyson, since it’s the Rolls Royce of vacuum cleaners.
Apparently he test drove one at the store and was impressed as I, so now I have one. But there’s a very interesting tale here. The story of its inventor, James Dyson, is a lesson in hard work, struggles and ultimate victory. He’s the kind of guy who likes to make things work better. He’s Tim the Toolman Taylor without the grunting, blown fuses and over-engineering.
One of his first inventions was a wheelbarrow with a large ball instead of a wheel. In the factory that manufactured these, he noticed the air filter clogged constantly with powder from the paint. To combat this, he built a cyclone tower that used centrifugal force to remove particles from the air. Five years and 5000+ prototypes later, he’d invented the first bagless vacuum cleaner.
The vacuum cleaner industry wasn’t interested, though, because vacuum cleaner bags were a £250 million a year industry. They turned him away, but he took the design to Japan, the home of all things high tech, and the bright pink G-Force vac caught on. It sold for £2000 and was considered a status symbol. Dyson used the royalties from this machine to manufacture another one under his own name. Through the years he skirted the edge of bankruptcy to keep his patents current and even successfully fought a major US manufacturer in court over patent infringement. Many companies try to copy his design, but the Dyson still remains the benchmark against which all bagless cyclone vacs are measured.
Another item under my tree was a pewter paperweight from my sister. The engraving on it reads “Most things are difficult before they are easy.” Truer words were never spoken. In the process of almost finishing the novel this year, I learned that what I once considered an insurmountable task, is possible. I don’t think writing a novel will ever be easy, but little by little, through practice and perseverance it becomes a little less difficult.
I’m sure James Dyson felt that way too when he was being turned down by major corporations and then later fighting them when they tried to steal the very technology they said wouldn’t work.
So what’s going to be on the paper I put in the box for 2009?
* Finish the novel for real. Close only counts in horseshoes.
* Get my PRO pin.
* Pitch the novel at the RWA conference in July.
* Write more Trues to help fund my way to said conference.
* Start another novel.
* Get in shape. Really.
Every time I suck up dust bunnies and tracked-in dirt, I’m going to remember the man who never gave up. And when I see the paperweight on my desk, I’ll remember not only its message, but my sister who was my biggest cheerleader during NaNoWriMo.
I had another gift under the tree too – a FrothXpress. I’m not aware of any special story behind it and it’s not engraved with any motivational saying. But it sure does make a great latte, and I’ve found that a latte fuels my brain wonderfully when I’m writing. :-)
Tell us about a special gift under your tree – either this year or in years past. What made it special to you? And have you figured out yet what your New Year's resolutions are?
One lucky commenter will be selected to win a copy of the Bylines 2009 Writer’s Desk Calendar that features me on the first full week in January with a short article about – setting goals! Then you can be like Problem Child and me and chronicle your life in a calendar.