I didn’t. I rarely do. I did when I was a kid because my parents actually sat us down and made us come up with New Year’s Resolutions. They usually had to do with improving grades. That was never an issue for me, but my poor brother… That annual ritual became something to be dreaded.
Once out on my own, I quickly dispensed with them. I suspect that was more out of a sense of independence than anything else. When I no longer had to worry about grades, I suppose I didn’t see the point.
At the end of every year, I’d do a “look back” and reflect on high points and low points for the previous year. Most of those had to do with my career or my relationship of the moment. I never wrote down these vague concepts, however.
Eventually, I moved into management and went to the requisite training. Over and over, I heard “If you write a goal down, that makes it real. It holds you accountable.” 🙄 Management responsibilities came with built-in plans and goals, and I’d achieved what I wanted. I saw no need to write personal goals or resolutions down.
Let’s fast-forward a few decades. I’m now months from retirement eligibility. I’ve been dabbling with writing fiction in my “spare” time. I’ve won a contest whose prize was a small publishing contract, my first venture into publication. I’d started a novel in 1997, but it wasn’t going anywhere. The last few years of my career, the position I was in was intense: 14- to 16-hour days, coming in on weekends, official travel. Sometimes I was home only long enough to do laundry and re-pack for the next trip.
At some point I looked at the rough draft of that novel and realized there was something to it, but it needed my full attention. No way that was happening with a full-time job, so I decided as soon as I was eligible to retire, I’d be gone.
“What will you do?” my colleagues asked.
“Write for myself,” was my reply.
The time came, I had a great retirement party, and I moved to where I am now, away from the “big city” to a place with few distractions. I bought a new computer. I was all set to write.
It turns out when you leave a high-pressure job, you need to decompress. A lot. Not that I was a slacker. I did some consulting, which I gave up because it was too much like work. I’d wanted to leave behind fulfilling other people’s deadlines. I babysat a grandchild. I got involved in local politics and a local writers group.
At the end of my first year of retirement I realized I hadn’t touched that novel manuscript at all, which had been the whole point of retirement.
So, how to alleviate that? I wrote it down on New Year’s Eve of 2010.
I went into the calendar on my iMac, which “talked” to my iPhone, and I wrote down exactly what I’d do each day regarding writing, editing, entering contests.
Resolutions, if you will.
Where am I Now?
Besides writing and editing, now that I’m a published author of a novel, several short story collections, and a couple of novellas and novelettes, I have added duties, like marketing and publicity.
Writing it down is even more important now, and I mean beyond scribbling notes in the pad I keep by the computer. I needed a plan. And since this year I intend to publish books one and two of that 1997 novel that became a tetralogy, I need to get all the needed steps down in black and white and with projected completion dates.
Ah, yes, much like my old job used to be.
I’ve never been into journaling; if I’m going to write, it’s going to be my fiction, not a “Dear Diary” thing. Don’t hate me. I never kept a diary when I was a kid because there was no safe place to hide it from my mother.
But I’ve found a combination journal/planner that fits my needs. Planning, scheduling, social media plans, all in one book. It’s even got the vision and mission thing, though, frankly, if I never have to do that again, it’ll be too soon.
I’m honestly not trying to sell you one, but take a look here and decide for yourself.
So, I still haven’t made any New Year’s Resolutions, but I have a publishing plan for 2018 down in black and white on paper. Call that a resolution, if you prefer, but this year look for two novels and a novella from me. I resolve to do that.
Where are you on the resolution timeline? Did you or didn’t you?
For a free excerpt of my novel published in 2017, click on the “Sign up for Free Excerpts” tab above.