In the past, my only New Year’s resolution was not to make any resolutions, but after a couple of months spent spinning my wheels where my writing is concerned I’m starting to think that maybe I should change that.

The problem I’m having is…where do I start?  There are so many things I want to accomplish this year and I just can’t settle on the one I want to do first.  So maybe along with listing the things I need to do, I also need to make some resolutions about things I don’t want to do–a sort of anti-resolution, if you will.

Does that make sense?  Probably not, unless you’re inside my brain, swimming through the muck of everything I haven’t done in the last year.  Seriously, I feel as if 2008 passed at warp speed and left me behind, bogged down in the mire of unfulfilled goals and dreams.  So, this year, 2009, I’m going to make some resolutions…and a few anti-resolutions too.   

#1 (this one’s an anti-), no new WIPs.  Instead when I get an idea for a new story, I’ll add it to the Ideas file I already have on Word and then leave it alone until I accomplish #2 on my list…

Which is, take another look at the plethora of WIPs you’ve started, decide which ones you really want to finish and then focus all your writing energy on finishing them…one at a time.  That way, by the time 2010 rolls around, you’ll have at least a half dozen–there are more, but I’m a little embarrassed to tell you just how many–manuscripts ready for submission.  Or at least to the point where all it’ll take is a thorough edit to get them ready.

#3 – stop with the self-sabotage and lose the self-doubt, damn it!  You are a writer with three published books under your belt, so why the insecurity?  I could understand if all you’d met with in your writing was rejection after rejection after rejection, but that’s not the case here.  You’ve sold three books–one of them twice, for crying out loud–and two short stories which should come out in anthologies this year, so obviously some people out there think you can tell a story in such a way that other people want to read it.  Remember that!

#4 – set a schedule for writing and stick to it.  Pick a file–Storm Shadows would be a really good place to start.  Hint, hint!–and open it up first thing in the morning.  Ignore everything else and work on that one file for at least an hour.  Then you can take a break and check your email or play with the dogs or pet the cat or just sit out on the porch swing and figure out where you’re going next with the story.  The point is to start your day writing and by doing that, you might just finish it before another year–or twenty–passes you by.

#5 – Join a writer’s group.  You know you want to and you’ve even picked out the one you want to join.  You’ve researched them, even been to one of their meetings and they’re a great group of people, people you are comfortable with, people who seemed to be really interested in what you’re writing.  They offer critiques to their members and most of them have already been where you are now so they can guide/mentor/inspire/empathize etc., so just write the check and become a member of High Country Writers.  Who knows, one day you may be able to pay it forward to another writer who’s just starting out.

Okay, so there you have it, my five New Year’s resolutions for 2009.  Now all I have to do is just follow the words of that old Nike slogan…

Just do it!

And then maybe I’ll be able to get that song from that Christmas special out of my head; “Put one foot in front of the other…”

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