New Year's Resolutions

Help! Vocab and Best wishes.

Taking My Name In Vain

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Paul Whybrow

Full Member
Jun 20, 2015
Cornwall, UK
As a new year heaves into sight, how are you going to tackle your writing in the next twelve months?

I'm happy with what I accomplished in 2018, completing the fifth novel in my Cornish Detective series, then editing it and the preceding stories into a state fit to query with. I also tidied twenty novellas and short stories written in 2013-2016.

Strangely, I feel like I'm where I thought I'd be when I looked forward in the summer of 2014. I'd been writing for a year, and at that point had some experience of self-publishing and making submissions to literary agents.

Barring unexpected good fortune with querying, I anticipated several years of hard grind. I wanted to improve my writing skills, acquire a better understanding of how the book world works and learn how to promote myself.

One tactic to aid success, that I took to heart, after seeing it recommended by writing gurus, was to write a series of books featuring the same characters. I already had plans to do so, for I like reading crime series and getting involved with the story arcs of the protagonists created by authors such as James Lee Burke, Michael Connelly, John Connolly and Dennis Lehane. It makes sense then, that the reading public also favour series by unknown authors over standalone novels. They want to get to know that fictional world, and by extension, the author themselves.

I'd always intended to build up a supply of completed work, so that I could time the novels' publication to best effect. I wanted to avoid a situation where, say, if the first book took off commercially, it would put me under pressure to write a sequel. This has happened to several debut writers, who cursed themselves for not having any backup. Thus, the difficult second novel phenomenon is born.

For me, 2019 will be a year of self-promotion. I'm not entirely happy about this New Year's resolution, but it's how the commercial world works these days—thanks to the internet everyone sees it as their right to pry into the lives of anyone, especially those putting themselves out there with an entertainment of some takes a while for a writer to appreciate that they're a part of show business.

I'll resurrect my blog soon, seeing if I can rescue the posts that mysteriously disappeared off my Paul Pens WordPress site. I may even run two blogs: one on the creative process, the other about my Cornish Detective, murder, forensics and places where my fictional crimes take place.

I'm going to be entering a world where bloggers back one another's efforts, doing stuff like guest posts and book reviews. 'Friends,' followers and contacts on Facebook business pages, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter will become part of my marketing campaign. I don't know what I'm doing, but apart from an innate ability to be able to tell a story, I never have known what was what. I've just plugged away, until things worked.

I miss the buzz of creative writing, but there's little point in writing stories that no one reads, so I'll be blowing my own trumpet for the foreseeable future.

I'm going to try to enjoy it!

What's your master plan for 2019?

I wish you a very happy, busy and rewarding year in 2019, Paul.

As for my master plan. I'll let you know when I do.

Not thinking about it just now.

I will or I won't
I'll do or I'll don't.
(and how ungrammatical is that?)

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Good luck on the self-promotion, @Paul Whybrow! I intended to improve my promo/marketing in 2018 and failed miserably at it.

I was sitting down to my quarterly plan for Jan-April 2019 yesterday, and struggling with what goals to set. I'll be working at least part time (hopefully) starting in February, and I'll be building a house (while maintaining and gardening two properties). Something tells me my writing accomplishments will be slim! But I have two draft novels finished and in the revision stages, so I should be able to keep those moving along. I need to go back to my hyper-efficient habits, and that's going to be the challenge for the year. In the past couple of years, I've allowed myself to relax and read a book or play a game after dinner, or while waiting for the kids at extracurricular activities--that's going to have to end so I can fit everything into my days. Time to go back to making use of every spare minute. I know I can do it, because I was like that for 45 years, but I will miss the down-time. And speaking of which ... no time like the present ...
Good luck Paul in 2019!

I have no plans, I'm not great at such dastardly things, but I do set intentions which are looser I feel. I've nothing specific but am very happy and content most of the time, our health is all good and I am creating as much as I possibly can, so I hope that continues :)
Always like to sit down and have a ponder on this question on this, the last day of the year. Had a nice cup of tea and listened to some soothing music along with contemplating the highs and lows of the previous 12 months but I always end up settling back on the tried and tested. So 2019 will be, much like 2018 and stretching back for as long as I have been capable of making such resolutions with both sound mind and adult judgment this...

To crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and to hear the lamentation of their women!

Have a smashing one !
I like Rainbird's idea of intentions rather than resolutions. I'm adopting it. :)

I feel a strong need to work on craft. I reached my goal of having an outline and a working first draft completed by the end of 2018. I now need to work on the nuts and bolts of the text and scenes that I wrote.

On the periphery of my writing I want to focus more. The world is undergoing lots of dramatic changes. I don't set aside time to immerse myself in...anything, really, that isn't writing-related (self-help books, author memoirs, etc.). I have my favorite cable news pundits and I subscribe to many (maybe too many) media sources, literary magazines, longform journalism magazines, and social commentary but I realized that I don't do more than listen as background noise while I do something else or skim the print to get the gist of the topic. In order to create what I'm expecting to create I need to actually READ and digest what's on the page, to think about opposing points of view beyond "He thinks that and she doesn't". To explore the initial causes and the whys, the nuances that drive decisions. I had a double major in college, one of them being philosophy and I did this all the time. Somewhere along the way to now I allowed my life to get too busy to satisfy the curiosity I had back when all I had to do was study big thinkers and figure out who I was.

All this will begin after the New Year's Eve festivities wear off, of course.
I woke up a few days ago and realized I hadn't written anything new for a few years now- that's the kind of awareness being involved with a group of writers like the Litopians gets you. Then a timely @Paul Whybrow jogs you to come up with a New Year's Resolution which although at the back of my mind had no priority at all. But in effect I had been working on this new year's resolution for a day or two now, again I ascribe this to being in a writing community because that's what writers do to each other, make you not only think about writing but actually doing the writing itself. And that's how I now find myself typing up all those notes I wrote on my WIP which I have carried around in my head for a year or two. So the natural outcome for 2019 New Year Resolution is type up all the notes, chop them up, order them and re order them to form a chronological order, there I have my bare bones, so as not to say skeleton, of my new novel and even if it does sound reductive, but in the bat of an eyelid, "The Devil's Whore", will be writ. Wish me luck.

Ah yes, another New Year's Resolution, which is a remnant from 2018 is to find an Agent- and glancing at Twitter there's quite a few of them making a stir and some are also brand new. ;):):D
I hope that 2019 proves to be a year in which we all make useful progress in our writing careers.

As folklorist and writer Zora Neale Hurston said: "There are years that ask questions and years that answer."

Also, this quote popped up in my Passive Voice newsletter last night, a timely reminder to keep my nose to the grindstone:

"Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed."

~ Cavett Robert

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Help! Vocab and Best wishes.

Taking My Name In Vain