Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Writer's Resolution

A Writer’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year again. Time to take stock of accomplishments, of progress on your goals for the year, and to look forward with great expectations to the new year ahead. First and foremost, my wish for all my friends, family, and readers is for enough of everything, and lack of nothing. I am so grateful for my wife, my son and daughter, my extended family, all my friends and you, the readers. I am truly blessed.

So I sat down to write out my goals for the coming year, and tried to be realistic about them. I thought I would share them with you all for two main reasons. First, nothing happens without a plan. It helps to set out a map if you want to get somewhere, and goals can work like that. They clarify your intent, and give you a place to work toward as you progress in your writing. Goals can be interval, marking progress over 3 months, 6 months, whatever you choose. They can also be longer term, but they need to be concrete and measureable in order to be truly effective.

Second, I have realized over time if you set a goal, and make it public, you are engaging a whole lot of people in the act of helping you stick to it. Don’t believe me? Try announcing your new weight loss goals toyour friends and family, and count the number of times they ask how your diet is going. So here is my list of literary goals for the new year:

1. Read more. I know that sounds a little contradictory, but that is how I learn the rhythm, the pacing and the overall feel I want toput in my stories. And it isn’t that I want to read just mysteries. I learnedover time that any well written story will do, because there is always
something to be learned.

2. Write 2-5 pages a day, every day. Sounds like a lot? Well, it is the same pace my daughter set for herself as she participated in the local middle school’s NaNoWriMo exercise and at the end she had a 10,000 word story. If my 13 year old daughter can show that much discipline, so can I. Also, at this point, I have three works in progress, including a new Joe Banks novel. I’m sure I can find something to write about.

3. Regularly contribute to Murder by 4. Self serving, maybe. But my day job has been so demanding that I have not been able to hold up my regularly scheduled day for participation with some of the most talented writers I know. It is another simple way to hone the blade, as it were, and continue to write for an audience. Also, in researching some of the articles I’ve written, I’ve learned more about the craft and business of writing. I am happy to share that with you.

4. Save the hard edits to the end. Nothing slows my progress like re-editing in the middle of the first draft. I know from all the really successful writers I’ve read that you do the major edits at the end, and you sort the wheat from the chaff and fine tune your work. But I can’t help it, I still do it. So this year I promise to save the clean-up to the end, and will use that period to send a more complete story to my publisher.

It’s a short list, but manageable. I hope this helps you set some goals for your writing, and I wish you all the success, love and luck to make you happy in the next twelve months. Now if I can only do something about losing those extra pounds...


Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Hi, Ron. It's so nice to have you back! Thanks for sharing your list with us. I often advise writers to do just what you mentioned in #4. Overthinking kills the creative drive. That's what I mean when I always so, "Write like the wind." Just let it out of you, and come back later to analyze and edit like heck. ;o)

Happy New Year to you and your family, and here's hoping the demands of the day job become more manageable in the near future. ;o)


Ron Adams said...

Thanks, good to be back. It's part of my above mentioned resolutions, so no time like the present to get back in the swing. Work is work, and the day job is going to be a fact of life...so be it. But the hardest part for me is to get up to 2-5 pages per day. But that's my goal and as I said if my daughter Katie can do it, then I can, too. I hope you and yours had a merry and a happy, and all the best in the year to come!

Jenny Milchman said...

Good resolutions--especially #4--best of luck with them!