The start of a new year is traditionally a time for looking back and finding lessons in hindsight, then vowing changes for improvement. I’ve done my share of making the usual promises to myself: eat better, exercise more, be more patient, etc.
The usual stuff.
I still do that, but after too many years of grand promises and not-so-grand failures, I’ve learned something. Those grand resolutions are impossible to keep. Partly because they’re usually so vague you don’t know whether you’ve kept them or not, partly because they’re too easy to fudge, and partly because the changes demanded are too big.
I’ve learned that resolutions work better when you make your promises small things and very specific. Instead of vowing to lose weight, I said there would be no more late night raids on the Doritos bag. If I had to have a snack after supper, it would be fruit.
That one I’ve kept.
And instead of exercising more, I said I’d try to walk half an hour three times a week. I’ve discovered I enjoy it so much, I actually do it most days.
I also make resolutions related to my writing life. I have limited writing time because I have a web design and development business that pays the bills. Most of my day is taken up with that business, but I try to keep at least an hour a day for writing. Some days, it never happens, though. But I’m not going to resolve to make more time for writing. I plan something more specific.
This is what I’m resolving for the coming year.
- Try to write a sentence on the work in progress every day. One sentence doesn’t sound too overwhelming, but it should at least keep the current book top of my mind. If I can manage one sentence I should be able to do a lot more, but I’m not insisting on it. Just one sentence a day.
- Finish at least one of the several unfinished manuscripts sitting on my hard drive (even if I have to do it one sentence at a time).
- Read at least one book about the craft. I think it’s going to be Story by Robert McKee. I have a copy that’s been sitting on my shelf for a while. Even though I’ve been writing for almost 30 years, I still feel like I have a lot to learn.
- I admit this one breaks all my guidelines for small, specific things, but it’s something I need to do. I’ve got to figure out a system for integrating promo into my schedule without spending hours a week on it.
So… What are your writing resolutions for 2013?
Karen McCullough is the author of a dozen published novels and novellas in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres and has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy. She’s also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She has three children, three grandchildren and lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.
When Catherine Bennett agrees to attend an important party as a favor for her boss, she knows she won't enjoy it, but she doesn't expect to end up holding a dying man in her arms. Nor did she anticipate she’d become the recipient of his last message about the location of evidence that would prove his brother innocent of murder. Now the killers are after her to get that information. She’ll need the help of attorney Peter Lowell, as well as the victim’s difficult, prickly younger brother and a handsome private detective to help her find the evidence before the killers do.