New Year's Resolutions
I’d waited to pop this up on the blog because I’ve never made a New Year’s resolution—not that I can remember, maybe when I was a little kid?—and I wanted to feel pretty firm on likely success. I guess in that way it’s not really a resolution, just more of the same but with my blogging about it for accountability. Plus I want to keep myself focused on the first ever long-game goal I’d ever really considered (thought of it a few months ago and deemed it doable, so I'll go for it).
Ray Bradbury published about 600 short stories. He lived in a time when people read sometimes. Read because a couple TV stations ain’t Netflix. Read because attention spans (even with flash stories) stretched beyond TikTok clips. Read because the general public hadn’t forgotten how much entertainment comes from the written word. (Bradbury cheated a bit, making chapters of novels standalone, or get close enough to standalone, but that’s beside the point.) So I’d like to publish more 600 shorts in my life.
In horror, so long as I don’t undervalue my work too far, I can maybe manage ten short story sales a year (I don’t foresee ever getting into the IN crowd, but I no longer care about impressing the horror establishment surrounding shorts, turns out there’s no great benefit…few more bucks, but it doesn't appear to turn into any kind of career success), meaning I’ll have to self-publish collections. Doesn’t bother me to do so, since, by my estimation, I can do a passable job of book production and artwork.
So here we reach my first goals for 2020:
Write thirty short stories
Publish at least two collections
Write more the 250,000 words total
Next, we get to longer fiction. Over the last few years, I’ve written as many novels as novellas. I’ve sold one novel and five novellas. I have nine passable novel manuscripts finished (probably some could use dusting off and tightening up) and another five that would need a total overhaul before I’d even show one of my cats (I’ve dragged two finished manuscripts to the trash icon as well, practice words). I am going to try my damndest to keep from writing a novel in 2020. Maybe that sounds backward, like novel writing is supposed to be difficult, and it is, if you haven’t done it before. But what’s a thousand words a day once you’ve figured it out? An hour and a half of work? I know not finishing things is a sickness many face, and for some it becomes beneficial to their goals, but I don’t understand it at…where was I?
Oh yeah, goals. No new novels in 2020, if I can keep the big ideas from visiting, but I’ll still want books out, lots of them.
So for the next goal:
Write four novellas
The next point is only vaguely writing/editing/arting related. I have two round parents. Over the years, I’ve gone up and down in weight, pretty drastically at times. Lately, it’s only been up—think maybe age is starting to get to my ability to burn. Also, Unnerving has me sitting at my desk more than ever.
In December, a 24-hour gym opened in my town and I joined, decided I liked it, and have gone for an hour or more every day since December 6th. It’s done a fairly good job of fighting the roundness, so far.
Hit the gym at least 336 times in 2020 (that’s taking a whole month off! Leap year!)
Now, there’s also the things out of my control, things people often mistake for goals (I know that because I used to; out of your control, not a goal, it’s a hope). I’d like to keep selling stories. I’d like to make a better effort at pushing my books in meaningful ways (a hope, because I have to figure out what increases sales without spending a ton; the simplest, seemingly obvious, done to death answers don’t actually work). Stay off Twitter a bit, talk about wasting time, but maybe blog more. Focus on the things I like, ignore the shit I don’t. Try to keeping helping down (easy to help up when it feels like something might come back), but somehow avoid those who don’t deserve my time. Last year I worked 357 days, this year I’m going to try to take more than ten days off, do nothing at all those days. I’d like to read more books than last year (103). I’d like to hit the road and do something in-person (hopefully Trump hasn’t gone full dictator by the end of the year and the people show the necessary will to correct the issue that is him, and I can again visit America again, where the cons are).
Think that’s it.
Am I missing something? Have some ideas for me to try?