Editing Resolutions

Hey look, it’s New Year’s Day! Lots of people are probably making resolutions about how they’re going to spend the next year. For a lot of people this is an important tradition, it helps them focus and determine what they hope to accomplish in the next year few months day or two. And that’s great. If you recall, last year about this time I did that as well.

But what many people don’t do after putting their resolutions together is go back and look over them later to see how they’ve done. Such a thing can be pretty depressing, after all. But I’m a writer! Writers do that all the time, and in the process they tweak things in order to make them better – you’ve probably heard this called ‘editing’ and it’s an important part of the writing process. So this year, I’m not going to write a whole new set of resolutions. No, I’m going to go over last year’s and note how I did, and possibly make some tweaks. Below are my original ten resolutions, with notes and edits in italics and stuff I’m taking out of my goals for this year struck out.

  1. I will maintain this blog, doing my best to continue to post on schedule, no matter how many toothpicks I break keeping my eyelids open. This goal was pretty successful. I didn’t miss any posts except those I had planned for in advance and gave my readers notice for. I hope to do the same this year, although maybe with less toothpicks. 
  2. I will not poke myself in the eye with a toothpick. It impedes the writing process. Yeah, see my notes for point 1. No more toothpicks. It’s all around unhelpful. 
  3. I will try to read less garbage in my continuing attempts to understand what kinds of stories currently drive the writing market. Sadly, it’s hard to pinpoint all the garbage. I need to keep working on this one. 
  4. I will read more garbage with the intent to discover what makes bad writing bad and how to correct those flaws. This would be easier if reading the garbage wasn’t so painful. I’ve gotten a few lessons from what I’ve read, but I’m afraid I still need to work on this one too. 
  5. I will remember that finding ways to resolve apparent contradictions helps a person become more creative and flexible, it’s exercise for the imagination and every writer needs more of that. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but in practice takes up way too much brainpower that could be used more productively. I’ll do it when absolutely necessary, but it’s no longer something I will go out of the way to accomplish. 
  6. I will continue to offer shameless critique of people who have succeeded in an industry I have not yet broken in to, as well as people who work in industries I know little about. If they want to sell me stuff, they better make it a worthwhile product. Consciously aiming to develop a critical mind has resulted in… my being very critical of how I spend money. This has resulted in my buying less low-quality stuff overall, even if I haven’t made much progress on the publishing front. Saving money is always a worthwhile goal, however. It’s good for another year. 
  7. I will do my level best to get an e-book assembled and available for purchase from Amazon.com, so that my work can be held up for ridicule in the largest forum available. This is me being grossly ignorant of the kind of time and work I would need to put in, above and beyond what I already do to maintain this blog and my real life. I’ve made almost no progress here and that’s no one’s fault but mine. While this isn’t a bad goal to keep for this year I think that sometime in the next month or two I’ll need to try and break it down into it’s component parts to see how I plan to accomplish it this year.
  8. I will attempt to finish and publish at least two short stories this year to help build name recognition for my work that will hopefully help when book proposals start going out. This is a new and hopefully worthwhile goal.
  9. I will add as much suspense to my stories as is humanly possible, because day to day life does not contain nearly enough uncertainty. Lately I find myself craving a little more certainty in daily life. Not getting it, but craving it. Alas, I’ll have to keep going for suspense because verisimilitude is still important… 
  10. I will add more romance to my writing, because write what you know is more a loose guideline than a mandatory requirement. This remains absolutely true. 
  11. I will hire a person to stand behind me with a rolled up newspaper and periodically whack me over the head yelling, “Make with the funny!” This should keep my writing from being overly gloomy. This year my stories have included: the death of a woman, which emotionally devastated her husband, a man nearly going insane when confronted with the mind-numbing darkness of the deep ocean and a man getting frozen into a Schmidtsicle. BUT you were entertained, were you not? So probably not too gloomy! (Still, the guy with the newspaper can keep his job, it helps the economy.) 

 So there you have it! My plans for this year. If you have any suggestions or goals of your own to share, please feel free to share! And here’s hoping your year is a time to experiment, adjust and set new goals.

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