Happy New Year.
If you’re like me, or many of my writer friends, New Year’s Day makes you think of New Year’s Resolutions. Do you make some every year? I do. That is, I make the same one - only one, mind you - every year. It’s to write a new book. Naturally, the book is different every time, but the resolution is the same.
Some years ago, I belonged to a critique group which required its members to write down between one and five New Year’s Resolutions, tell no one what they were, and seal them in an envelope. The envelopes were kept by the woman who hosted the meetings. Then, at our first critique meeting of the new year, she’d pull out the envelopes, hand them to the writers whose names were on the outside, and ask us to read what we’d written inside. Usually, we had forgotten what we wrote, especially since an entire year had gone by since writing it. So the reading provoked a lot of gasping or laughter. Plus a few sad sighs.
I soon learned that some resolutions, most of them, actually, were more wishful thinking than genuine resolutions. A resolution should be a Goal, not a fantasy. For instance, how can you resolve to sell a book to a publisher? You have no control over what any publisher will do. That’s a dream, a wish or a fantasy. Especially if the mythical sale involves a major book publisher and you add that your book becomes a New York Times Best Seller or wins the Pulitzer Prize.
No. You can’t control what others do. However, you could write that you intend to query a certain number of publishers or agents. Plus, in these days of self-publishing, you can have a goal of putting a particular book that you’ve written up for sale on Amazon and maybe a reader or two will buy a copy.
Depending on where you are in your writing career, you can make other goals into resolutions. For instance, if you haven’t finished your first novel yet, that could be your resolution. When that’s done, you might make resolutions such as, “Hire an editor to improve my book,” or “Hire a proofreader to go over my manuscript.” Or “Hire a cover artist to design my book cover.” Those are all within your power.
So my one and only resolution for 2015 is going to be “Finish writing A DEATH IN PHOENIX and send it to a Beta Reader to get some feedback.” I think I can do that.