Personal Pages: New Year’s Resolutions
Last post was the year-in-review for 2009, a few days late. Today, and a few days later, some resolutions on the general writing theme — listed, even, though not in very small or compact bullet points (a previously-mentioned handicap of mine). Bear with me; this will, I promise, be the last New Years-themed post.
Write Daily — This is always the goal; unlike other resolutions, it’s also one that I’m largely achieving already as well. But I’d like to improve on the process, and hold myself to a stricter 1,000 words per day than I’m currently managing, with the added codicil that they need to be a thousand at least vaguely acceptable words, read over and tweaked at least once, rather than dashed off in a blurry-eyed haze at 3:00 AM. Overall, that should still only be an hour or two of work each day, which isn’t so very bad for a thing that’s theoretically becoming a real job, here.
Exceed Quota — So if Resolution #1 up there establishes a hard-and-fast minimum, which I need, Resolution #2 is to stop treating that minimum as the sum total of the writing I should be doing. It’s what’s got to happen, but whenever I can scrounge up free time, I’d like to make more than that happen. I’m not ashamed of a day that produces the requisite thousand words, but if there’s more empty time in the day, I want to use that for writing (or editing, or sending out manuscripts, or whatever) rather than for kicking around aimlessly on the internet or whatever. The hard part there is going to be turning odd little scraps of time — waiting for a part of supper to cook for half an hour, or what have you — into Writing Time, which up to now has largely been massive, isolated blocks that I set aside for that specific purpose. I don’t know how well that’s going to go, but I aim to find out.
Blog Better — I don’t expect you’ll see any real improvement in content, as such (my life is still the same boring life), but I’m at least going to try to have a functional, edited draft ready to post by the end of Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, so that there’s a post up first thing in the morning M-W-F instead of whenever-I-get-to-it (like this lunchtime special). Hopefully, that starts Friday. Check early and see if I’ve kept this one or not.
Re-submit Faster — For all by high words (see Interpreting Rejection – About the Form Letter) I’ve been bad about getting rejected stories back out lately. Part of that’s just a lot of publications closing to submissions for a month or two at the end of the year, and part of it’s being lazy about printing and mailing to publications with no electronic submission method, but either way, it’s a horse worth getting back on again.
Read — All right, I do that one a lot already. But life ain’t getting any longer here, and I’ve already got The Wall Street Journal daily and The New Yorker weekly to take up a good chunk of my leisure-reading time, so the triage needs to cut old favorites entirely for a while, and focus a little more heavily on some contemporary fiction. A lot of the new (to me) works I’ve read lately have been old works, nineteenth century or even further back, which — while interesting — aren’t quite as finger-on-the-pulse helpful as reading last year’s bestsellers and prize-winners (it won’t be this year’s because I’m too poor for bookstores and the library has year-long wait lists for anything famous).
And that’s plenty of Writerly Resolutions for one year — I told you my lists just wind up looking like collections of paragraphs with bad transitions. We probably won’t revisit this whole New Year’s theme until December of next year, unless one of the resolutions gets broken in some spectacular and noteworthy way, so tune back in (early) on Friday for a look at something completely different!