but stickin' with them is a whole 'nother story!
Raise your hand...how many of you made New Year's Revolutions this year? Yes, yes, I call them Revolutions because:
Revolutions offer power.
Revolutions create change.
Revolutions unseat the unsavory.
And it all starts one step at a time.
I know the feeling. Once you've decided to do something, you want to jump in with both feet. Get right on it. See results. Right?
Wrong. FIRST, we've got to develop a plan or after a week of exuberance, all that high-octane energy is going to burn off and you'll be left with nothing but the fumes.
Think about it. You want to get in physical shape, a very common New Year's Revolution. There are many options open to you:
Diet. You've decided 10 pounds have got to go. So you've heard the new "red beet and soda water" diet melts away the pounds without any effort. After one day - maybe two - of eating nothing but beets and washing it down with water, you scrunch your nose at the nonsense and run to the nearest Cold Stone for a double scoop of chocolate fudge ice cream and chow down instant comfort. Where did the enthusiasm for instant slimming beauty get you? Probably an extra 2 pounds before your taste buds forgave you.
Better idea. FIRST, instead of overdosing on grapefruits, or floating away on Slim-Fast, why not try a sensible eating regime that not only cares for your health, but you might also find sustainable with minimum effort. Personally, I'm partial to Weight Watchers (I just re-upped my commitment), but there are many other excellent plans available that will help you reach any goal you set. You will have learned sound eating habits and developed a cooking routine that will keep you in that size-whatever, along with a huge smile on your face.
Exercise. You've had enough couch-potatoing over the holidays. It's January 1 and you've decide it's time to get up and move. You slap on your sneakers, fill a water bottle, grab your iPod and out the door you run. Five miles later, you crawl back into the house, exhausted, dehydrated, and pooped, but you finished the course. The next day, you can barely get out of bed, much less do any sneaker slapping and revisit that five miles again. Muscles sore, knees aching and heart rate jitterbugging like a 60's dancer, you've just set yourself back further on the workout chart than you started. Definitely not a pretty picture.
Better idea. FIRST, learn warm up exercises to stretch and condition those underused muscles before you sprint off down the road. Maybe consider jogging around the block for a couple of sessions and slowly expanding your distance each day or two. How about researching your options and mixing it up? Jogging 3 times a week, weight training once a week, aerobics squeezed in as able. Match your strengths and your weaknesses with a balanced program and soon you'll be in the rhythm that just comes naturally.
Okay, now that we've explored the obvious New Year's Revolutions, let's explore the Writers' Revolutions.
Niche. Can you believe all the hype over vampire novels? Oh my goodness, they're selling like wax teeth at a Halloween store. So, you're about 40,000 words into a delightful Amish - western - timetravel you're targeting for ABC Publishers...the SAME publishers contracting the hot vampire thing!! Your blood starts pumping and pulse racing. You don't want to miss this opportunity to get your book in front of an editor while the genre is hot. Your mind starts spinning. How about exchanging vampires for the H/H, relocating it to a quiet east coast town and dropping in a couple of aliens for conflict? How hard can that be? All the rest of the book can remain the same, right? You start tweaking, revising, changing, massaging what was once a perfectly good Amish-western-timetravel and what do you have to show for it? Tears, crumpled paper, a melted hard drive and frustration beyond measure.
Better idea. FIRST, never chase after markets unless you have the voice and love for it. Readers can tell. Take a deep breath. All popular genres are cyclical. If you have a love for Back To The Future Amish Style, then that's what you need to write. Write it well. Write it carefully. Write what's on your heart, not the plot-of-the-week. As you follow your heart and your voice, you'll develope style and your brand. Your heart will be your book.
Speed. Book in a Week (BIAW). National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). One thousand words in one hour (1K1HR). Can you image how many books you could pump out if you scramble all the techniques together? With the excitement generated by the New Year high of get'er done, we gobble up every opportunity to rack up those words and fill those pages. 10-20-30K in a week....and then our minds - and harddrives - explode.
Better idea. FIRST consider what each of the above challenges means to your writing. All three incentives are excellent in themselves. They are tools to help you succeed, but like every practical tool, they have a specific function to serve in order to be useful. How do you prepare to write? Think about the time you have and how your mind works and pursue the most sustainable course.
Do you like mapping out your book from beginning to end, defining your major plot points, crafting your black moment until you see HEA in sight? Then consider preparing for NaNoWriMo. You'll have the skeleton of a well thought out book in front of you and NaNo encourages a goal of 50K in a month-just enough to reward you with a nice rough draft.
Do you need to snatch time where you can find it? Check out the 1K1HR on Facebook. Spur of the moment writing...1000 words in one hour. Great for getting your creative juices flowing and immersing in your work. And I'm sensing there's a whole lot of fun going on, too : )
Want something inbetween? Book In A Week is just long enough to help you focus your efforts to write over any hump you might be stuck on.
I could go on and on, but really, you get the picture, right?
The new year brings us endless possibilities to fulfill our dreams. God planted the seed of desire to write in us while we were still in the womb, is there any doubt we will be successful? NO. But we do need to be wise in our choices, both for our physical well-being and our creative.
This is a new year...make it work for you!!
Share an over-exhuberant moment with us and then tell us how you might have prepared for it FIRST to be included in a drawing for a surprise package announced in the Weekend Edition. It can be writing related or just a fluke of life. Let's have some fun!