Start Your New Year’s Resolution Today

Any goal of significance takes a lot of planning. It matters and therefore making it the best ____ means we must plan well, consider, honestly, how we might accomplish it day to day, and why we are doing it.

Now is the time when I begin to reflect on the past year.

Did I accomplish my goals? If so, cheers.Calendar

If not, why didn’t I complete a particular goal?

Usually it is because of three things.

  1. I failed to plan properly
  2. It was poorly executed
  3. In the end I realized it was not important.

Now is also the time when I begin planning for the next year. I don’t do well with halfhearted attempts at anything. They almost always result in failure. How about you, do you plan to run a 25K? Write a book? Travel to another country?

If you have goals don’t wait to begin the planning process until 2015. Plan right now. Gain some momentum and excitement about whatever it is you want to do so are ready to go when the calendar turns to the New Year.

Cheers,

Bob

 

The #1 Trick to Keep up with Your Blog

There is a poster than hangs in the bathroom at my in-laws house. It’s a comic of a man on the toilet. He looks dejected and stares longingly at the toilet paper dispenser. There is nothing left but a piece of circular cardboard. Written above him is the simple phrase – Plan Ahead.

Poor soul.

Though I struggle to keep the balance between my writing projects and my blog, I know that the surest way for me to keep blogging is to plan write ahead. The posts for this week were written nearly two weeks ago. I have the pressure to write to keep pace, but not the panic of a last minute cobbled-together post.

Need another reason to write ahead? Because life happens. You want to be consistent for your audience and at some point you will have a family crisis, a work crisis, or computer meltdown.

Until recently, I kept thinking – okay, my words for my book are in, now to a blog post for tomorrow. Many times this thought came at midnight after a long day which made me dread my blog and thus, no blog the next day.

Keep blogging (ahead) and connecting. It’s what keeps us writer’s sane.

Cheers,

Bob

Doing Not Comsuming

Earlier this week I wrote about my televisional escapade when, I was spectacularly unsuccessful at chasing my dream of publication.

Part of me was okay with unplugging for a bit. This is the busiest time of the year for me at work. These next eight weeks make or break my sales year. Also, I work with two computer screens in my face for at least eight hours each day and I need to relax, right?

Yes and no. I need inspiration but I know the point when I have watched an unhealthy amount of television or not. The same can be said for eating or shopping. We know when we are merely consuming things and not doing things.

For me, there is nothing more I would rather do with my scant free time than write. It relaxes, fulfills, and challenges. When the television stays off the night moves slowly and there is even time for conversation, straightening up the house, reading a book, playing a game, and more writing. I find myself doing something and the stress of activity is soothing. I feel a sense of accomplishment, that I’ve spent my time well.

I despise mindlessness, where a week or days are used up and we wonder where our time has gone and what we did with it. I am thoroughly guilty of this. I hope that as the waves and currents of the Christmas and New Year holidays come that I live intentionally.

I want to be satisfied with what I’ve done, not looking back wistfully.

We only have one life.

Cheers,

Bob

Writing As Play

The very first error I made with my novel was thinking it was a linear process. Write one scene and the next until finished. This may be true for the first draft, but not the rest of them.

Part of the fun of writing a novel is seeing what lay down the road of each possibility. What if the character didn’t follow when they should have? What if they were killed? How can this portion be even more gut wrenching? – and then writing that scene to see where it goes.

Many of these pieces will never be read by anyone but the author and may be considered by some to be wasted time and energy. Not I. This is part of the joy and play of writing.

As writers we must turn over every stone, make the road long and necessarily weary, before we can stand confidently on our finished book. Through the struggle I admit I lose some of the fun and playfulness. There should be joy and it is work. For me, they are intermingled and confused all too often.

Every now and again my kids remind me of this. They have so much joy in what they do where I take things too seriously. It is a refreshing reminder to pull my head out of the ground and see the sun. I love my children for this and so much more.

Cheers,

Bob

 

Not Making Plans Is Still Making Plans

Last week I made no plans to write, I just knew I was going to do it.

You know what I did, don’t you?Television

I watched three NHL games, a documentary on Oak Island (seriously cool), and one on Native American giants. Of course I didn’t watch all of these in one sitting, but the fact is I didn’t make plans to write, so that is exactly what I did. I squandered my free time. It was out there in some nebulous, free flowing time slot which was never filled and I felt miserable for it.

If you’ve wanted to complete a project around your house and just have not gotten around to it, I am sure you can relate. If we don’t make plans, whatever it is we long to do or need to do won’t happen.

Today? I made a mental note. I was going to write before I went to bed. No matter how tired or mentally drained I was, it was going to happen and here we are.

This blog is nothing monumental, but it is. Commitment is one thing. Planning and following through on our commitments another.

If you are a writer and have not written this week, take a moment and schedule some time.

There. Now keep that appointment.

Cheers,

Bob

Re-Vision Not Redraft

Lowry’s Books and More in Three Rivers Michigan is my favorite bookstore in the entire world. This is not because it is in my hometown, though that was convenient growing up, but because you can get lost in it. Imagine the wand shop in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets but with endless scores of books.Bookshelf 2

While there last weekend, I picked up a book by Isaac and Janet Asimov – How to Enjoy Writing: A Book of Aid and Comfort. The cover is atrociously outdated but the content rich and filling.

One porting discusses the thrill of the revision process. Isaac explained that while writing a letter on his word processor the word ‘revision’ (alteration, correction) was hyphened to the next line and became re-vision meaning, to see anew.

This part of the book has been cemented in my mind while I consider revising one of novels. Not simply to redraft and revise which sounds arduous and monotonous but to see it anew. I write for the thrill of the thing not to bore myself out of my mind.

I plan to use this approach on my next draft. Ask what ifs of each scene and each chapter. Take a different road for a bit and see where that takes my characters.

This stirs excitement. I suppose writing is all how you look at it, just like anything in life. On my next draft, I am going to look at my book anew and have fun playing with it and, in other words, take joy in the process.

How about you? How do you see your books anew during your editing process?

Cheers,

Bob