|Calvin & Hobbes on Resolutions|
I have a confession to make: I am a huge fan of New Year's Eve, Resolutions, Goal Setting, and Planning in general.
In fact, I can generally be found preparing for the New Year when I'm only halfway through the year before. I have an ongoing obsession with planners, a marginally-disturbing menagerie of time management and achievement books, and a compulsive need to create "To-Do" lists.
Why? Because for the first time in my writing career, I actually can just do it.
In 2011 I learned that my young adult novel, Maid of Secrets, would be published in 2013. Up to that point, I'd been a part-time fiction writer and full-time something else. Well, in 2012, after months of (you guessed it!) planning, I'm finally committed to being a full-time fiction writer and part-time something else (in my case, freelance writer). And now that the New Year is here, it's time to "Just Do It".
My Writing Resolutions therefore are pretty straightforward, and come down to these four cornerstones:
1. Be a Fiction Writer First
In my freelance work, I do a lot of marketing and advertising writing -- and I am a member of multiple blogs, loops, forums and other random internet groups that can often be colossally distracting from the real work of the writer... which is actually writing FICTION. But to be a professional fiction writer, the fiction writing has to come first. This for me means writing (or editing) every day, working on developing new ideas, and hitting deadlines (both real and self-imposed). Yes, I'm hopeful to have lots of fun promo for Maid of Secrets to do eventually... but for long term success, I will always need to put the fiction writing first!
2. Read Good Books (and watch Good Movies)
There are plenty of books and movies out there we take in for sheer entertainment value, curiosity, or to stay current with the latest market trends. But there are also many extraordinary books and movies that can stretch us as writers, open us up to true excellence in the craft, and flat out make us better at what we do. My goal is to seek those out and welcome the lessons they bring.
3. Commit to being a Healthy Writer
"Healthy" means different things to different people, and balance is one of those ephemeral states that doesn't really match up with my often-extremist lifestyle. But if I can't achieve balance, then at least I will strive for harmony - going all out in one area, then refilling the well with equal enthusiasm. Being healthy to me also means I will regain my former levels of fitness (which I most definitely lost in the back-to-back writing blitzes of 2011!) and will take better care of my health. I've got a lot I want to do in this life!
4. Develop and Maintain Positive Connections
Writing can be an isolating existence, even in today's highly-wired world. Making positive, meaningful connections and building on real relationships in person and online (vs. just racking up followers and living on the fringes of social media) can help us all navigate both the good and the more-challenging experiences that life brings. I tend to be more of a loner, but in 2012, I hope to venture a bit further out to make new friendships - and deepen others.
What about you? What are your New Year's Writing Resolutions for 2012?
Jennifer McGowan has been writing fiction since well before she knew any better. A past Romance Writers of America Golden Heart winner and 2011 Golden Heart finalist, Jenn is represented by agent extraordinaire Alexandra Machinist, of Janklow & Nesbit.
Jenn's debut novel, MAID OF SECRETS, will be published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in Spring, 2013. You can find Jenn online and on twitter.