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A Writer's Resolution - 2016

First of all...

Before we begin, I need to be very clear about one thing. I am normally not one to make resolutions. I tend to be more apt to embrace a mantra instead of a list of things I want to do but will ultimately fail miserably at. However, for my writing life, I decided to make an exception.

Why? Because 1) I like making lists, even if I don't follow them; and 2) I'm feeling oddly optimistic about 2016.

So, my six resolutions for 2016 are as follows, but in no particular order:

1) STOP READING REVIEWS! I hate to admit it, but getting published ignited my narcissistic tendencies in ways I never dreamed. For example, I will often refer back to Goodreads to see how many new reviews I have and read the good ones, tears streaming down my face as it hits me that this reader really connected with RJ. The flip side is also true. I will read the "less than flattering" reviews and immediately assume that the reader "just didn't get what I was trying to do". In reality, it doesn't matter what the reviews think. I mean, seriously, there is nothing I can do to convince a complete stranger to love my book and by extension, me. So no more. It's time to transcend the mortal need for affirmation and make more time for whatever 2016 has in store for me.

2) Speaking of being narcissistic, there is something else I am determined to do less of: STOP GOOGLING MYSELF. (I'll wait for all you disgusting people with teenage boy mentalities to stop giggling.) In full disclosure, I am not actually googling myself, but rather It's A Wonderful Death. What I have realized is that I'm either pulling up old reviews, which would be a violation of resolution number 1 or I'm running across torrent sites offering my audio and e-book for free, which is only a little frustrating.

3) MOVE MORE. Writing is a pretty sedentary job. I literally sit for hours some nights, hammering away at the keyboard. It's not healthy. I had, for a few moments of insanity, rigging up a treadmill desk. Not for every waking moment, but at least for breaks while I watch Netflix or something. But fate intervened and showed me this video, reminding me that when it comes to coordination, I'm better off not walking on a contraption that can fling me across a room.

Still, I need to get moving. So I'm opting to try a new fad option called the Simply Fit Board. Here's a video:

No, this blog is not sponsored by Simply Fit, but does this not look like the most fun ever? Okay, probably not… the most fun ever would involve cotton candy and a snowblower, but still, for a ten-minute writing break, it's not the worst thing you can do.

4) This moving thing also plays into the next resolution in that it has something to do with time management. TURN OFF THE FACEBOOK GAMES. I can't tell you how much sleep I would get if I didn't stay up until 3 am playing games on Facebook. Sure, it's mind numbing, but the glare of the screen triggers some kind of electro-adrenaline rush that causes me to only get three or four hours of sleep a night. This is not enough sleep.

5) Okay, so the previous four resolutions have been about not doing things that, in complete honesty, have become a habit. But this next one is FUN! In fact, FUN is in the resolution. I'm going to start READING MORE FOR FUN. Okay, so it's a little-known fact that not reading for fun is an occupational hazard. It's not that reading isn't fun. It's that you begin to read like a writer. Meaning you're breaking down character arcs, critiquing style in terms of what you like and don't like in terms of your own artistic development, and you are trying to churn through so many books your friends are writing that it becomes overwhelming. So my resolution is to read 216 books in 2016. Each week I will read one picture book, one chapter book (to keep up with what my kidlets are reading), one YA novel and one "fun" book that has trappings of "need to read". It could be an audiobook with a great narrator or a book I read a long time ago or, dare I even say it, a non-YA fiction book. *gasp* I know. It's scandalous.

6) Finally, and this is particular to this blog post, I want to BLOG BETTER. This isn't to say I will blog more. No, I'm lowering my expectations to one blog post a week. If I get more in, huzzah. If I don't, it's cool. But I want to write better blogs. Ones that not only share who I am but also the things that I am experiencing on what is now my third year behind the publishing curtain.

Now, if I can keep all these resolutions, I think there is a pretty good chance that there will be oodles more time for working on the two novels that have begun to unfold in my mind.

There is one other thing I'm changing in 2016. My personal mantra. For years I have been using the phrase "BE FEARLESS" and I think this is still a great one to have. I will continue to use it to remind myself that fear doesn't have to hold me back. But from this day going forward, I will be trying to BE GENEROUS. With my time, with my friendship, with my knowledge, and with my love. So Happy New Year, everyone! Make the most of every moment!

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