It’s inevitable; someone always asks me what my resolutions are for the New Year. This is usually accompanied by a smug roll of the eyes, and of course, they’re making broad reference to my disgusting smoking habit. Or perhaps they believe I should give up a sacred part of the English language—my penchant for lacing my sentences with profanity. I prefer to focus on goals that I can accomplish.
It is a good time to take inventory. A yearly review of lifestyle, professional and social relationships is similar to an annual medical exam. Instead of looking at what was wrong with 2014, I focus on what was right and promise to do more of the things that brought me pleasure and a sense of accomplishment.
Writing is one of those pleasures. I belong to an on-line writing community that keeps statistics, but I rarely look at numbers—unless they’re on cheques or invoices. Before the roll-over on January 1st, when all numbers crash and turn into zero once again, I decided to look at my statistics.
Wow! I posted 151 stories and essays in 2014—and that’s just on one site. When could I have ever found the time? But of course, I know. Since my retirement, I’ve written every day—completely indulged myself in the waterfall of words. Yes, I’m obsessive.
The numbers tell me two things. The first—get a life, girl; the second—clean house. Without a doubt, some of those stories are pure crap and it’s time to get them out of my document file.
Every time I go back and read something I wrote way back when, I automatically want to edit. I’m my own worst critic, but it’s time to transfer them to memory sticks or set up file folders. In the process, I expect to delete some work and set pieces aside for a second look. Smart writers set up a storage system before they clog their Dropbox or document file—I’m not one of them.
The next step is to decide what to do with my literary gems. I don’t submit often enough, preferring to write rather than address the business of writing.
Someone who resolves to be published in 2015 would be better served to make a commitment do the research, to find publishers who are accepting submissions, and then actually send her work—yup, that’s on my list of goals for 2015. And boy do I have inventory!
Not everyone has the luxury of time as I do. There are jobs, children and families to contend with and enjoy. Once upon a time, I was that person, trying hard to juggle everything. If someone told me then that I’d write over one hundred stories in one year, I’d never have believed them, and likely would have used some colourful language in my response. But somehow, I found time to write—a little.
My New Year’s wish for all is to discover what you love and invest in your future. One day, I promise, you’ll have lots of time for editing.