HAPPY NEW YEAR
The time for happy new year-ing is over, you say? Well, no. Nor is the time for New Year’s resolutions. As career authors, we figure any time is the time to make a new start—our manuscripts start and stop on individual schedules, so why not our writerly resolutions?
I’m a big one for quantifiable, achievable resolutions (made throughout the year), where I can take specific steps to achieve them. So, I had to discard “write better” and “make more money” as effective resolutions. The former is too hard to quantify, and the second too broad.
Instead, I’m starting small, with “improve the dialog in my books.” (Not that my dialog isn’t good, but it can always be better, right?) My first step to accomplish that was to enroll in a Gotham writing course. (It starts in late February—I’ll keep you updated on my progress!) My second step was to find a critique partner (I haven’t had one in years) and ask her to turn her keen eye on my dialog.
Hopefully, zippier dialog will, in fact, make my writing better and lead to great sales, thus helping to accomplish my two grander goals, as well. (See how sneaky I am?)
I’d love to hear what your writing goals are, and how you plan to achieve them.
I’m one of those dedicated goal-setting, list-making, self-improving types who takes New Year’s resolutions very seriously. So seriously that I name each year in accordance with the theme I hope will inform the next 365 days of my life. I’ve had The Year of Paula (when I got divorced), The Year of Yoga (when I did my yoga teacher training), The Year of Giving (when I gave away time and energy and possessions to good causes—and received far more in return).
So even though this year got off to a wobbly start, due to the family complications both good and bad that consumed January, I’m determined to get on track in February.
Because 2018 is the year I realize a long-cherished if long-deferred ambition: The publishing of the first novel in my debut mystery series, A Borrowing of Bones. Thus, I christen this The Year of Mystery, in which I will:
1) Read more poetry (illuminating life’s riddles).
2) Re-read the Inspector Maigret novels by Georges Simenon (in French).
3) Master the art of the author selfie (a mystery to me).
I’m not one for resolutions. It’s partly that I’ve not proven effective at summoning resolve for any length of time and partly that I bristle at rules–even ones I make for myself.
But I am one for identity. For being the kind of person who …
And as I realize that I endured January’s flurry of activity more than embraced it, as I saw myself being the kind of person who kept looking ahead to an imagined simplicity once I could get past all its complications, I saw a person out of step.
So instead, as February begins I intend to find more joy in being the kind of person who, in accord with Emerson’s suggestion, “walks abreast with his days.” The kind of person serene in the moment and at peace with circumstance. A person in step.
Starting in this moment.
I will be braver sharing more personal writings with others.
(I am laughing so hard. Dana, you can see your CA colleagues have solved that particular problem.)
So. Resolutions. I feel as if I make those every day. I resolve to do my quota of words—and doesn’t it feel terrific when I do?
I resolve to master my constantly growing to-do list (which, although impossible, is better than having no to-do list at all, right?).
I resolve not to worry so much about “what will happen with my new book?”, since it doesn’t make a bit of difference in the outcome. That, I’m not so successful at accomplishing.
Does every word I write do the most work it can? That’s a constant resolution.
Are my writing skills evolving into better skills? How can I continue to work on that? How do I tell an even better, even more compelling, even more surprising story?
I resolve to say no without feeling guilty. (Still working on this one.)
I resolve—and this is an easy one—to be inspired by the generosity and true joy of Sue Grafton, who left this earth last year, but who leaves behind a treasured legacy.
How about you, authors? Do you have a resolution? Tell us about it on the Career Authors Facebook page.
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