Morning Coffee: New Year’s Resolutions

ChristmasEvery year I, like many of you, admit it, make a list of resolutions for the coming year that rarely, if ever, succeed. Top of the list is the popular eat healthy / exercise / lose weight. It lasts for a while because by January I’m tired of all the sweets and rich foods that surrounded the previous holiday months, but then it ultimately fails. By the end of the now not-so-new year I’m back where I started, if not a little worse off, thus leading to a renewal of that same old resolution to eat healthy / exercise / lose weight.

This year I’m trying a different approach. Instead of calling them New Year’s Resolutions (almost guaranteeing failure), I’m calling it my Author’s Business Plan. The leader of my local chapter of Wisconsin Romance Writers of America (WisRWA) gave us a 4-page questionnaire to direct our thoughts as we determine our goals and how we plan to achieve them over the coming year. At the end it asks for our exit plan; that is, what is our plan should we not succeed in reaching one or all of our goals.

I already have a favorable start on one of mine, to reach 100+ followers for this blog. I’m up to 92 so it seems a reasonable assumption I can gain at least eight more over the next twelve months. But another goal (I listed six total) is going to be a tough one. I plan to have the revisions on my novel, “Mary Bishop”, completed by the end of February. You see, by that time my part-time day job will go full-time for a couple months while I fill in for a co-worker on maternity leave, making it the best time to have my manuscript out to Beta readers for further comments. Unfortunately, the holidays made writing almost impossible. So, here it is the end of December and I’m not where I wanted to be by now and my day job hours are already increasing as I train for my added responsibilities. Does this mean I throw up my hands and give up? It’s tempting, but I keep reminding myself I still have two months and the revisions for the first two-thirds of my novel are all hand-written so a solid couple of days of typing and tweaking should accomplish that step. The final third needs a much more thorough re-write to expand the current chapters and add some new ones in order to fill-in holes my critique group outlined.

Can I achieve that goal? Not if I decide it’s already hopeless. However, two months (8 weeks, 60 days) is a long enough time if I stick to it. Of course, my co-worker could easily go into labor early, or end up on mandatory bed rest. I will no doubt start my full-time schedule at some point in the last week or two of February, and very possibly with little notice. If that happens and I’m not done with my revisions I will just have to keep plugging along with what free time I do have. (Consider how much time we waste every day worrying about how we don’t have enough time.) And what better incentive than to write it down on paper and then share it with eight other women who are cheering for my success.

My ultimate goal for 2016 is, of course, a signed publishing contract. Or, at the very least, a publisher interested enough to want to read the entire manuscript and discuss a possible contract. Can I get there? Yes! Experts in how to be successful say believing in yourself, being able to visualize your own success, is a necessary part of achieving that success. My exit plan? Keep trying, obviously. Who knows what 2017 will bring? Hopefully a second book contract.

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