January is a good month to evaluate and re-evaluate. I don’t know about you, but the cadence of falling snow helps me think. Not that my mountain rural community has had much … yet. Snow or no, I’ve never been one to make resolutions. Deviating from convention, my system of doing things has always been a little different. Even the process I use to write my books sways away from the norm.
As I fill out this year’s calendar, I am finding that not everything I did last year will fit. The things that I need to accomplish are taking me down a different path than the one on which I currently stand.
- Read as much as possible. I tend to read books that strike my fancy in cover and description. The majority of the books I pick up are fantasy of some kind, but I like to read most genres. What keeps me going to the very end are good, solid characters. Without them, the plot is lost, and so I am.
- Have 3 books published. Yes, I said three. The specific three are the fourth installment of my fantasy series, a contemporary fantasy, and the continuation of the short story that is begging to be urban paranormal. Whispers, The World In-between book 4, is coming along. Check back during the year for updates and perhaps an excerpt or two. My contemporary fantasy is staying under wraps for now, but I can divulge that it has plenty of magic, action, and romance. The short story, The Hunt, is being continued in Hunted—ghosts, ghost hunters, and a city where humans are clueless of the battle between hunters and the hunted.
- Get 2 others almost finished. Those two are the fifth book in the series and the sequel to my space opera. Although Whispers has first priority, I am writing book five concurrently with book four. My pen has just begun to scribble the space opera sequel. The Space Pirates deal with a new threat tied to the old.
- Accomplish some significant distance in other genres. Besides the detective story I’m writing, I have a folder of story concepts waiting for the pen. I’d like to get a couple started to diversify my repertoire.
- Pursue personal endeavors.When I am not writing, reading, or thinking about writing, I cook and bake, garden, and enjoy the arts. Cooking and baking are great outlets for me. I love trying new recipes as well as making family favorites. Food grown in my yard is always tastier than grown elsewhere. I already have my graph paper ready for planning this year’s small crop of yummies. Once upon a time, I used to perform in musicals and plays and paint. Now, I’m a happy spectator either at the theater or the museum if I have the time.
- Renew my subscription to Scribd.
I love reading ebooks and being able to choose what to read via a book subscription. I’ll read best-sellers, well-known authors, unknown authors, and indie titles. Depending on the book, it takes me a little under a week to consume a book on my smart phone. Want to know what I’m reading, what I’ve read, and what I couldn’t finish? Seek me out on Goodreads. I update my status as much as possible.
- Start the first edit of the beginning while I’m writing the middle and the end.
My biggest hurdle is typing. I have yet to find a decent alternative to transcribe my scrawl to times new roman. The best thing to do is plod along the keys, trying to minimize typos while making the best use of autocorrect.
- Set aside dedicated writing time for each title.
Wordsmithing is more than just a collection of words on a page. Word choice, word order, and word variation are deliberate processes. Scratching out, arrows, and asterisks or numbers collect on the page. For me to make the best use of my pen, I need relative solitude without distractions beyond barely audible music playing in the background. My mind needs to be focused on the story in front of me. I can’t be thinking of another story line, either mine or another’s (I also edit others’ work—authors, businesses, and students).
- Limit social media.
Now, my social media footprint is relatively tiny. However, it still creates a black hole for my time. For every good article I come across on social media, there are tons of cat photos, cute gifs, and mindless rants. Pointed research, while eating the same amount of time, brings more worthwhile results.
- Reclaim my free time.
Because work has gotten busier, I am walking away from activities, some of which I have been involved with for a few years or more. Sometimes, in order to move forward, we need to let go of what keeps us static. Paths diverge. We must take the one that best suits our needs. New opportunities call.
I am looking forward to what may come. A year full of adventures awaits me. As Robert Frost wrote, “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”