Resolutions

Resolutions

2017 was like a smoldering car wreck which I miraculously survived intact. The first six months of last year tried the limits of my being: a close family member fell ill and jumped in and out of the hospital as I was rejected time after time for full time work. I only survived thanks to family, friends, and coworkers who helped keep me sane.

But good things happened too. I became closer to my family and learned who I could depend on in bad times. I worked as a counselor at the same summer camp where I, at 16, decided to become a professional writer— that meant a lot to me. I got my first full time job! I self-published my short story on Amazon and got a great response, and recorded an audiobook with a friend (still being edited, I’m afraid). I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first time, started it a month early, and now steadily write 25 hours a week and more.

I had two New Year’s Resolutions last year. The first was to continue writing two pages a day, every day, as I had since 2011. I’m proud to announce that has been a success once more, and that I have written seven straight years without missing a single day.

My second resolution was to type 1000 words a day, every day, without missing a single day. Why? I needed to type up all those longhand pages, and I wanted to push myself to write more. My average was. . .  947 words per day.

Which isn’t bad! I’m disappointed I didn’t make the goal, but I learned that typing like this was a bad resolution to make.

Why typing 1000 words a day was not a good goal (for me):

  • For my job, I use a computer nearly constantly. Also, I tend to write in the evening after work. I HATED plopping down in front of a computer again.
  • I started NaNoWriMo in October because I wanted to test whether I could keep up the pace for two months. I could, typing, but my eyes ached from the computer. I found that I could keep up the word counts writing longhand, and I enjoyed writing longhand more. I could “get in the flow” more easily, was not distracted by the internet, and paid attention to my language.
  • Editing, revising, research, and reading are all important to writing. I can’t produce new stuff all the time and neglect these. When I stopped trying to type everyday, I spent more time improving what I had written and ultimately produced better work.
  • Sometimes I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t have my computer, or there was a family emergency and I could only write two pages, or I was somewhere where I didn’t have wifi, or. . . some other excuse. I’m not happy admitting this. But, I always have pen and paper on me, which never need electricity and is cheaply and freely available. You can have an excuse to not have a computer sometimes, but I can’t ever think of an excuse why I would never have pen and paper.

By the end of December, I churned out a lot of new short stories, articles, and two novel drafts. I learned more about how I write and how I can structure my time to produce my best work. And I built solid habits that will carry me forward in the new year.

My New Year’s Resolutions are:

  • Submit work to at least two contests, publications, or magazines a month.
  • Write or do writing-related work 20 hours a week, 25 hours stretch goal.
  • Publish that goddamned audiobook.
  • And finally, try to achieve the New Year’s Resolution that I’ve failed every year since 2012. . . write three pages a day.

 

The future is bright! Good luck to all of you, and I hope you make your goals this year!

 

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