This is the year I want to focus on being a productive writer and reach my goal of publishing my first novel by the end of 2013. I’ve made my living as an artisan jeweler and gemologist for the past two decades. I am well used to the lifestyle of traveling to venues to sell my work alternated with creating my product in my home studio. I want to transition into making my income with my writing instead of via my jewelry this year. If there is one thing that I’ve learned from starting a small business, it is that you need to not only have a main goal to work toward, but you also need to think about the steps you need to do in order to reach that goal.
Below are the following habits that I’m going to work on for 2013, call them my New Year Resolutions. I’m sure that other writers have similar goals depending on where they are in their careers.
- I will set aside three days a week where I focus on my novel and write at least 2000 words each writing session. I will make a point to take my Alphasmart Neo or laptop and go out of my studio to write. This will develop the habit of knowing that when I leave my studio, it is to work on my novel. The local library, coffeehouses, or the park are all on the list as alternate writing locations. I also have a group of writers that I join occasionally to write with.
- I will write everyday. In the age of the Internet, we all tend to write something each day even if it is simply posts to our Facebook pages. One of the reasons that I started No Wasted Ink last year was to push myself into writing stories and articles every day. A habit of action that will sharpen my skills as a writer and help me develop a backlog of work for my portfolio. I used to track my word count for the day in my writing filofax, but I’ve since dropped that habit once I realized that I was putting in well over 1000 words a day on all the various projects that I maintain. My writing everyday habit is established and it is one that intend to continue in 2013.
- I will begin an art journal to sharpen my drawing and handwriting skills. One of the goals I have for my trilogy is to produce my own book covers and possibly to create an illustrated version as a special edition. While I am not certain if my artwork will be up to my standards of quality, I find that if one doesn’t practice art, you do not improve. I purchased a Strathmore watercolor journal toward this goal. While I don’t believe I will sketch everyday, I hope to relax with drawing at least a few times a week and see where it progresses.
- I will make an effort to read at least one book a week. I tend to read classics, science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction. One of the reasons that I decided to write book reviews of classic literature was to learn more about these famous authors and what made them tick. I’ve been pleased to discover that what drove them to write is similar to what drives us as modern age authors. For a long time, I had given up reading books due to font size in printed books, but with the advent of the ereader and the ability to make the font of any novel a size I can see comfortably, I am rediscovering my love of books. Reading fuels my desire to write.
- I will submit at least 4 short stories for publication during 2013, aiming to publish at least one per quarter. I also want to use one short story to open up my author pages on various sites such as Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble. This short story or novella will allow me to have all my publishing sites open and in place so that I do not have to scramble to do it along with publishing my first novel. If it earns a little income, that would be a plus.
- I will limit my use of social media and/or non-essential Internet. This includes games, reading forums and blogs. I tend to do this more than I should and much of it is not related to the online marketing that I do for my jewelry and writing. I need to continue the online marketing, but I am hoping to limit my playing on the Internet. Combining this goal with the alternative writing locations that are Internet free should help me with this problem.
- I will improve my home studio to make it a better writing space. In 2012, I purchased a new desk with a return and am in the process of reorganizing my writing space to make it more productive. I am looking into new drawers and boxes to hold office supplies, putting my jewelry supplies out of sight, decorating with a new color scheme, and keeping my desk more tidy. I find that I am more creative when I am not surrounded by clutter. Therefore, the clutter and unnecessary items need to go.
- I will take at least one writing course during 2013. Most of the time, I enjoy taking online classes since they are convenient to my schedule, however I feel that taking one at the local community college is also beneficial. It would allow meeting like minded people and keep me more accountable with my writing. The classes I’ve taken in the past two years have been a refresher grammar class, a refresher class about punctuation, and a class that helped with navigating through the process of Nanowrimo. This coming year I have my eye on a second punctuation class and I might consider a creative writing course at the local community college via their adult education program.
- I will have chapters and short stories to submit to a writing critique group. I am in the process of forming up a writer’s critique group with GLAWS, The Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society. We will meet either monthly or bi-weekly. I intend to start putting my writing through the critique process before submitting it to be published. I have been avoiding this part of the writing process for quite some time, but I am seeing that it would be of benefit to me to get more involved with my fellow writers in my local area.
- I will make a point to exercise on a regular basis. As an artisan jeweler, I found that my work was physical enough to have health benefits. It is an unfortunate fact of life that a writer generally sits in a chair all day as they work. I want to start to counterbalance this sedentary lifestyle with more movement. I am considering starting a fitness journal to track my weight and exercise progress and plan on adding walking and cycling on a more regular basis to my general lifestyle. Walking is a great way to work out story plot holes as you take in fresh air and get your heart working.
These are my New Year’s Resolutions. What are yours?