December 30, 2014
New Year’s Resolutions 2015
I know New Year’s resolutions are bunk. Why not make a resolution on April 4th? Why not yesterday? Better yourself all the time, self! You don’t need an arbitrary calendar date to do it!
And yet there is something in the tradition that is more effective than a spontaneous declaration of intent, the way a cup of tea somehow tastes better on a snowy evening. A year is always longer than I think it is, and when I allow myself to go back and open the time-capsule that was last year’s resolutions, I am always pleased to see how much more I have accomplished than I thought. So I will make them, so I will look back on them.
This year’s resolutions were staring me in the face anyway. After reflecting on 2014, it is clear what I need to do in 2015.
Although 2014 was a banner year in sales & exposure for me, I didn’t actually write much more to tide me over into 2015. I completed three short stories, one of which is already spoken for. Of the remaining two, one is a very long short – almost a novelette. This will be a hard sell. If I want to publish more work in 2015, I need to write more.
In 2015, I want to write one short story per non-hectic month. I will round it off to 10 stories. In number terms, I’d like this to represent about 5,000 words a month, or 60,000 for the year – double what I wrote in 2014.
I have been bellyaching about the need to read more here since 2010. Back then, I lamented falling short of a goal of 50 books a year. Oh my God. I would kill to read 50 books a year now. Last year I read fewer than 10 novels – though I read hundreds of short stories. This doesn’t help me keep up with the lit scenes, it doesn’t help me critically, and it doesn’t help me as a bookseller. I need to read more.
This year I will set the target at a modest 12 novels for the year – one per month. Surely I can read 12 novels in a year.
I feel so busy. I have freelance obligations, editing clients, a short story contest to run and non-profits to volunteer with. Oh, and a full-time job and two young children. How on earth am I supposed to ramp up my writing and reading?
I love the internet, I really do. And for someone like me, who has trouble navigating real-life social situations, social media is critically important to my mental health. But there is truly no good reason I should have to check Submission Grinder twenty times per day. Or be unable to close all the tabs for a solid, focused hour. Or have all my Dragonvale notifications come up as push alerts. *ahem*
In concrete terms, I resolve in 2015 to spend at least one uninterrupted hour a day disconnected. Close the tabs, put the phone in a drawer, write or read. More than one hour a day would be brilliant – but I don’t want to make promises I may be unable to keep. Let’s shoot for an hour.
That’s it. The key to achieving your goals is to set achievable goals, right? Go forth into 2015, self. You can do this.