I’ve never been a fan of New Year resolutions, nor the general paraphernalia peddled by the Cult of Fresh Beginnings during the post-Christmas downtime. This sort of humbuggery (that sounded better in my head) has nothing to do with my attempts to ban Christmas in my home a few years ago (in a gallant effort to live up to Oliver Cromwell’s noble ideals. These days, in bouts of supreme irony, I confine my Christmas to just buying loads of Cromwell stuff as the photo of my latest haul attests). I just don’t understand why people wait until a specific day of the year – regardless of whether it is the first or the last – to set themselves goals.
Want to lose weight? Start now. Want to quit smoking? Start now. Want to seize nuclear launch codes in a bid to attain world domination? Start now. The only thing making people hold out until New Year is the psychological aspect, and if you require a crutch like that to help you then, sorry, chances are you’re not strong enough to actually meet those resolutions when crunch time comes a-callin’ anyway.
Having said all that, New Year is a handy time to take stock. Creating overarching themes to slog towards throughout the forthcoming 365 days can help to focus the mind, provided the detail isn’t overly specific – that’s what’ll trip you. At the start of 2011 I resolved to get my first piece of writing published, and I succeeded with Heavenbloom in May. In 2012 I resolved to get my first piece of writing in print, and I succeeded with The Devil’s Own in an anthology by Pill Hill Press. For 2013 the objective is to get my first novel accepted. Agented, big or small press, I care not. Note too that the objective is “accepted,” not published, ‘cause as any of my writerly brethren reading this will know, there’s at least a year between acceptance and the work actually hitting the shelves. The novel in question could be any of the several I’ve got semi-prepared, of course Covenanted is on point at the moment (though facing a name change to Crucible of Faith), but good old Saint Claus rendered up a number of historical texts containing such intriguing subject matter that plans are afoot to historical-fictionise them too. Preliminary notes on the 1762 siege of Havana are coming along nicely.
The secondary objective is to finish my 13th short story. I’ve currently got 8 published in one form or another, and 4 more in consideration at the time of writing. Why 13? Well, when it comes to pitching my novel it means I can say I’ve had “over a dozen” shorts published, and then I can list the best-paying ones. It has nothing to do with it being the year 2013 at all. Nope, definitely not. Should I be viewing my shorts as something more than just a stepping stone upon which to bait bigger fish? Probably, but what can I say, I’m a commercialist.
2012 has been very good to me. I’ve still got my health, my family, my writing, a girlfriend and all my old amigos. 2013 will inevitably bring change, but the key is not to resent it. It’s to ride the wave, and channel it towards your overarching goal. I’ll let you know how that goes in about a year’s time.
Happy New Year!