2016 is here. Hard to believe. I can’t explain why, but I get this feeling every time the new year starts. The feeling that at midnight, the whole world turns the page and begins a new chapter, a new book, a new anthology. I mean, essentially, that is what New Year’s Day is about: turning the page from one year to another; starting over with a blank slate. It was this time last year that I started Project Blacklight. I posted my Mission Statement and goals I wanted to accomplish in my writing career. A year, and many posts later, I have followers, discovered a community, and gained a confidence in my writing that was nonexistent for most of my adult life.
So, 2016 is here. And as with every new year, it’s time to make those resolutions. I’ve been reading blogs and tweets and Facebook posts from people about resolutions they’re making for this year. I’ve even participated in some of those discussions, though I try and stay away from the word, “resolution,” and think of them as “goals” I want to accomplish. Having goals, to me, implies having a plan in place in order to achieve that goal. Looking back at the goals I set last year, I realized I set a low standard. I wasn’t challenging myself. This year, my purpose in setting these “goals” is to push myself even further outside my comfort zone. So, in no particular order, here are my “goals” in 2016:
- Write a Novel. Anyone who follows me, be it on WordPress or Twitter, know how big this goal is for me. I’ve talked about writing a novel for nearly a year. To those who personally know me, even longer. Every time I put the dream out there, I get a boatload of encouragement. I think now is that time for that encouragement to be generated into action. It’s time to stop talking about it and actually do it. But even I know one does not simply sit down and start writing a novel. (Maybe some do, but I’m not that person.) I need a plan. I need an outline, and I think that is where things get overwhelming. As it stands, I have an idea, but no plan to execute it. So, I’ll probably use the first month or so to outline, assemble my cast, and so forth. Perhaps, this is where Scrivener would come in handy.
- Post “The Cell Games” Stories. I made a big deal about this the latter half of last year. Inspired by a fellow blogger, I decided to create a short story series based around my retail experience in the cell phone racket. I teased and teased, but nothing came to fruition. I held back because I was unsure if anyone would read my work. At the time, I was still handwriting my work. I was until one day, I decided to stop listening to my inner critic and seek out readers and CPs to look at my work and give me their honest opinions of it. Of course, that meant writing my work out on a computer. So far, they seem to be well-received. So right now, I’m trying to figure out the best way to post them. I think they’re too long for a normal post. A fellow blogger posts PDF links. This will be a trial and error thing. Again, we’ll see what develops. Speaking of stories…
- Submit or Enter a Short Story Contest. I’ve heard it said that rejection is the most important part of any writing process. I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps I’ll figure it out this year. In trying to be a better writer, I know I need to discover what my strengths are and what are areas I can improve upon. I can think of no better way than to submit stories.
- Complete the 2016 A to Z Challenge. I had my hesitations about this challenge last year with a new blog. This was a big commitment. But after some planning and encouragement, I completed the challenge. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t paste the badge onto my blog.) This year, there will be no hesitation. This will be my second year doing this challenge, but I think this year will be more difficult than last year. I’ve started thinking about new topics to discuss. Never too early to start planning.
- Write For Fifteen Minutes a Day. One goal I made last year was to write every day for a whole month. Every month, I would fall short. And soon, it came to a point where I wasn’t even going to try. This year, I feel okay with not writing every day. It works for some people; just not me. Instead, I am going to try to write for fifteen minutes a day. I figure this goal is a little more realistic, and measurable. And it’ll get me thinking outside the box. And it will force me to carve time out of my schedule to where I have to sit down and write. Whether if it’s in my One Day app, or my notebook, or my computer, I will make the commitment to put in a substantial amount of time writing.
So, there you have it. Last year, I achieved a lot and learned a lot. I believe this year will be no different. Dare I say, this will be a year where I will be tested like never before in my entire writing journey. I will need strength and encouragement of others. I will have to do research. I will need some new tools. The good thing about this year’s “resolutions” is that there will be no guarantee of success. Then again, no resolution is guaranteed success. But nothing worthwhile isn’t without putting in a little elbow grease.
Best of luck to everyone with their resolutions for this year. What are some of yours? I’d like to know so I can encourage you the same way people encouraged me.