Editor’s Note: Yes, I know this is ridiculously late. But I finished writing the wretched thing so I’m posting it, cool? Cool.
People are infamously flaky about New Year’s Resolutions. If your gym membership card is already gathering dust, then you know what I mean. Here’s to a fat and ice cream-filled year, eh?
But because I’m apparently a masochist who anticipates disappointment with bated breath, I made New Year’s Resolutions anyway. I have based my instruments of torture off of the “SMART” goals formula, which I hear was penned by the angel Gabriel before his promotion:
At first, I thought it might be best to give my characters resolutions, and then celebrate when they met their goals in imagined scenarios. But Eli has a nasty stink-eye, so here are my real-life authorly resolutions for 2018:
1. Read 50 Books
This one always eludes me. 2018 is the third consecutive year I have set this goal, and I’ve yet to get closer than 36. But because I’m not insane, I’m slightly changing my approach, and aiming for a book a week, which allows me to plan out how many pages I need to get through each day. This has already made a big difference – I read five books in January. And already, the habit of reading so much more is teaching me a lot about story – which will hopefully produce a slew of blog material.
2. Spend No More than 30 Minutes/Day on Social Media
Aside from the fact that I don’t want a cyborg Arnie to hunt down everyone named “John” in my friends list, there are many reasons to cut down on social media time. For one, some of that time (like, theoretically speaking, when one is on the John) can be spent reading ebooks. But also, there’s a point of diminishing returns with social media, where instead of engaging with friends and groups in meaningful ways, I’m mindlessly scrolling. Kind of like that five-year-old addicted to the iPad on the poster of every media alarmist documentary ever.
3. Finish Two Novel First Drafts
Before you ask, yes, one of these will be the third book in the Rogue series. The second project I have planned is an epic fantasy novel about Draconians (sometimes called “dragonborn,” not in the Skyrim sense, but in the Dungeons & Dragons sense). I’ve written enough books to know that my first drafts tend to be around 50k – 60k words, so this allows me to plan ahead what I need to get done each month.
4. From a Twice Weekly Exercise Habit (by March)
Speaking of flaky and torturous resolutions, here’s our obligatory exercise goal! But in all seriousness, writing is a sedimentary lifestyle. Even though I’m not yet a full-time author, my day job has me strapped to a desk as well. And as a bonus, exercise allows me to get more reading time in via audiobooks, and the happy hormones it releases helps motivate me to get things done. Things like writing.
5. Watch 10 Foreign Films & 10 Silent Films
I can just image in the foamy-mouthed “MOVIES ARE EVIL BOOKS ARE ANGELIC” responses being lobbed at saliva-splattered screens. But film, like literature, is a story-telling medium. It has something to teachw riters about the mechanics of story, especially foreign and silent films, which will force me out of my 21st century blockbuster box. This is the same reason writers should read classics, but different artforms can spread a storyteller’s wingspan as well.
And just like that, I have been sentenced. What say you? Do you have story- or writing-related resolutions?