Happy New Year everyone!! I want to take a moment to thank my readers for visiting, and all of the authors who posted information about their books over the New Year's Weekend! I'm confident that the 700+ hits weren't just from me checking in. I hope everyone left happy. I know I was quite pleased with the event.
Now that 2012 is underway, it's that time of year when we wake up on January 1st, wipe the sleep from tired puffy eyes, stretch, groan and prepare to face the day, and a new year.
One of the first things that probably crosses everyone's mind is that little phrase which, in recent years, has made me cringe!!
NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION!!
Or as I've come to think of it ... the first step on the road to failure!
Why so cynical you ask? Uh, how about over 40 years experience.
We set goals for ourselves and get all excited. The natural way to handle new changes in our lives, right? The first few days, or even weeks, sail by, often times, flawlessly...then the newness wears off and whatever the goals were, get tucked away in some "things to do" drawer that we somehow lose the key to.
Well, that just sucks. Plain and simple.
Why go through all the trouble to plan something, just to turn around and forget about it? Who benefits from that?
Nobody, that's who. Especially not you. Not you personally and certainly not you professionally.
So, this year I'm doing something new. I'm lowering the bar. What? Lowering the bar?
Yep, but not in the way it sounds. I'm lowering the size of the goal...you know, setting goals that are practical and easier to complete.
Let me explain my reasoning.
Last year I had TEN books release and let me tell you this...that kicked my butt and wore me out. How can I keep up that pace? I can't. That's the problem.
Because I wrote so much, so fast and spent the rest of my waking hours promoting, I burned more than brain cells... I burned up a lot of the drive and love I had for writing in general. Losing that inspirational part of me was never my intention, so when the desire to write faltered, it nearly broke my heart.
This year I'm taking back control, one goal at a time.
Here's a few of my ideas:
#1 Set Writing goals!
Decide how much time you actually have each day that can be set aside for serious, uninterrupted writing. I generally set a word goal since I know where my breaking points are. For example, I used to write 5,000 words a day...A DAY!!
An 80 K word book? No problem. But now? I learned the hard way that pushing myself that hard and that fast was burning the candle at both ends.
Half of that is a pretty decent amount. It's a bit more attainable and won't feel like a failure if I can't manage 5k anymore. Think of it as a mind trick. Our brains and emotions respond better if we feel successful, so why not give yourself a break and ensure that success can be gained.
Yes, READING! I don't read enough and any writer can tell you that reading is like studying for a pop quiz that you never know when you're going to take. Words are food.
An award winning chef can't prepare meals fit for a king unless he/she tastes what they're cooking!!
Race-car drivers can't win races unless they know how to drive on each new track.
Writers can't write unless their minds see words...and not just words from a take out menu. Real, honest-to-goodness words, in sentences and not just from the genres you write. Expand your tastes!! Try new things. You'll be glad you did.
#3 Hone your Craft
Start looking for new ways to improve your writing skills.
The internet has an infinite supply of information and much of it is free. Simply type in the words, "Writing Tips" and voila, whatever you want to know will be at your fingertips. Also, consider reading biographies of other authors, especially the great ones, and learn the steps they took to become the wonderful writers they are/were. The knowledge alone will be a reward in itself!!
The next few ideas are for anyone, not just writers.
#4 Eat Right
Don't set a goal to lose weight. Set a goal to eat right! Your body will thank you for it. Nothing can ruin really good intentions like the plateau of a diet. That time that comes...and it will come, when no matter how hard you've tried and how viciously you've starved yourself... the day will come that the pounds will cling and take root in places you didn't even know you had. Trust me, I speak from experience. But this year, I want my health to take priority and that will need to start somewhere...why not my tummy?
#4 Get plenty of sleep and relaxation!!
Yeah, well if you don't give your body and brain some time to recharge, you'll get all the sleep you need, much sooner than you wanted. What good is working yourself to death if you're not around to reap the reward.
Taking a nap when your body says your tired is nothing to feel guilty about. In fact, your kids and/or significant other may even suggest it if you get grumpy like I do. A hot relaxing bath, soaking in bath salts or bubbles can turn a toad into a prince/princess in a matter of moments.
Finally, may I suggest some quality time with the family. Let 'em go wild and savor the chaos every once on a while.
Your brain will appreciate the break from all the working and thinking.
A writer who's all work and no play is...
well, a lonely old recluse, living all alone with too damn many cats.
It doesn't matter what you do or where you are, your life depends on your mental and physical well being. So take care of every aspect, starting with turning over new leaves with the flip of the calendar.
Make January your secret weapon and work out a new plan of action to ensure success all year long!! You'll be surprised by how good it will make you feel.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!