2017, I Welcome You: My Sort-Of Resolutions

The whole New Year’s resolution frenzy isn’t really my thing. How many gym memberships are bought in January, only to remain unused after the first few workouts? How many people swear they’ll learn to play an instrument, only to get bored with the learning process after a few weeks?

I’m more of a “slow and steady wins the race” guy. Making drastic changes in one’s life is a recipe for failure, since we’ll usually revert to our old state after the initial burst of determination and excitement.

That being said, I do have writerly plans for 2017, goals that I think I can attain without a “new year, new you” super-transformation that fizzles out after a few days.

Publish three novels. Publishing The Clerk took eons, but that was mainly because a) I was totally pantsing, and didn’t know how to end the story until I was three-quarters through the first draft, and b) I was new to self-publishing, and didn’t know how to do anything.

Now that I’ve accumulated some experience, I should be able to publish books much more quickly and efficiently. I’m not the kind of writer who can send an avalanche of words onto the page and finish a novel in three weeks – nor do I want to be. My writing suffers when I rush, and improves when I pull back and carefully analyze what I’m doing. The whole “flood the market with your work” mantra is not one I follow.

All that being said, I believe three published novels (or two novels and a novella) in 2017 is a reasonable goal. It’ll be a lot of work, but I think I can do it without sacrificing quality.

Read more writing guidebooks. I admit it: most writing handbooks irritate me.

Most of the irritation comes from the author’s voice. The people writing these books usually sound arrogant, thin-skinned, and unimaginative – no one I’d ever want to meet, in any situation. Their words discourage rather than enlighten or motivate.

Even more irritating is that they’ll go on for page after page explaining a “rule,” but then they’ll mention an author who “broke” that rule – but that author was a veteran, so they’re allowed to.

Still, there are good handbooks out there – somewhere! – and, like all authors, I always need to be honing the craft.

Learn more about the business and marketing side of self-publishing, and put that knowledge to use. I’m a “just let me write” guy – or so I thought. Now that I’m immersed in the indie world, I’m finding I don’t mind tinkering with Amazon keywords, hunting for reviewers, watching podcasts, interacting with other authors, blogging, designing newsletters, etc.

There’s such a variety of things to do that you can easily switch between projects to keep yourself fresh.

Still, the “just let me write” voice sometimes whispers seductively to me, and I have to resist its siren song. And despite my best efforts, I’m also not a natural businessman or marketer; many of my decisions would surely make the experts cringe.

I’ll never be the kind of guy who can sell snow to Eskimos, but I can improve, little by little.

Get out into the world – or the e-world, at least. I’m a happy loner; I like doing everything myself, unless it’s something that is absolutely beyond my physical or mental abilities, such as moving heavy furniture or designing an ebook cover.

But no one succeeds in this indie game alone. I’ve already seen numerous authors, some of them quite talented, who are sitting in their little bubbles, unnoticed, while other authors sell books and win acclaim.

I don’t want that to be me.

I want to be “out there.” Visible. Interacting with both authors and readers. Helping others when I can, and asking for help when I need it.

I’m already working on this, but the key is being constant. It has to be every day, not just the days I feel like being interactive.

So that’s it: my 2017 resolutions, or plans, or whatever you want to call them.

Anyone else want to share their resolutions? Do you have any big, sweeping changes planned, or are you like me and think setting smaller goals is more feasible?

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