Funny how people can get emotional about New Year’s Resolutions.
I asked friends on Facebook if they had thought about New Year’s Resolutions for 2011, and I got several responses, almost all of them negative. “Don’t do it,” one said. “They never work.”
I beg to differ.
A New Year is marked because it signals a chance for a new start, and when we say that nothing ever changes, well, that pretty much deflates the whole idea of a new start doesn’t it? It’s kind of like when I was bumped off a jury because I said as a Christian I believed that anyone can change, even child molesters. There are no guarantees that because it’s a new year, you won’t fall into the life patterns that you have followed up to that point. Chances are, you will.
But we can hope. To me, a New Year’s Resolution helps me because it calls for me to focus my life, figure out my priorities, and make a commitment to myself. So here’s my commitment.
I am going to get serious about my writing during the new year.
That’s not to say I haven’t been writing. Fact is, I have done a lot of writing in the past few years. I have two completed book manuscripts, a three-book series that is almost past the rough-draft stage, and two short stories that are done. Where I need to get serious is the next step, the business part of being a writer. You know; the part I hate.
So here’s what I am going to do.
1. Launch my own professional website. I have a Twitter site and a Facebook site and two blog sites. But I have nowhere to promote my books, and I need a central location to draw the other sites together. So I need to put something together that will do that.
2. Increase my presence through social networks. My day job–a University professor–has involved learning about how social networks are changing the way we do business and the expectations of readers/buyers. And I am learning from my students, as all good professors do. I need to write more online (see #3 below), tweet more, and develop a following on Facebook and Twitter. In fact, authors developing a following is pretty much expected by book publishers any more.
3. Write a daily blog. This is going to be the major challenge. I need a daily, dependable presence online through my blog. It doesn’t have to be long or profound. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee the latter. But readers need to get used to seeing my name every day. So despite my own inclinations, I need to do this. <sigh>
4. Sell the books and stories I have. To me, it’s a lot more fun to come up with creative ideas and bring characters and ideas to life than it is to sell said characters and ideas. But if I am going to write for anyone other than myself, it’s a necessary evil. The challenge here is just finding the time to do it, or at least carving out the time. This year has been tough, schedule wise, but as my old friend Randy Maxwell told me, “If you are serious about writing, you find the time.” So how’s that next book coming, Randy?
5. Finish the Champion series. This is my 3-book series that I have been working on for four years. I am especially proud of it, and feel like God has something to say through this series. But it’s within a few chapters of being completed (maybe that’s Freudian; if I don’t finish it, people won’t judge it too harshly!) and I need to do that–soon. Then it needs a good edit and an author brave enough to sell it in a cruel market.
6. Write another book. I have tons of ideas in the back of my head. I just have to pick one and start writing. LOL…right. The reality is that you have to have more than a kernel of an idea. You have to develop it to the point of visualizing it in your head. Then you can begin writing, with ideally enough time, creative energy and ideas to complete the book.
So there you have it. My resolution’s not like losing weight or committing to exercising more, although I am doing both of those as well. But a lot of my opinion of myself has to do with my writing. Who knows? Maybe 2011 will be the year everything comes together for me as a writer. These are all things I need to do from this point forward anyway. It’s just easier to view it as a one-year commitment than a commitment for the rest of my life.