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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Resolution, Shmesolution

Yay! A guest blogger!

Welcome my friend Mary Ellen Martin, the author of two short stories in A Shaker of Margaritas anthologies (Bad Hair Day and Cougars on the Prowl), a humorous blog about writing and life (A Wandering Writer), among other things.


Resolution, Shmesolution
by Mary Ellen Martin

Okay, show of hands: how many of us have already failed our New Year’s resolutions? Don’t tell me it’s just me. Come on, there has to be a twelve step group for this! “Hi, I’m Mary Ellen.” (Hi, Mary Ellen.) “I made my resolution to write more this year, but my journal has only seen me once this week..."

Wouldn’t it be great if society got on board with your resolution? Hey, you want to lose weight? Okay, you eat healthy, and we’ll get rid of all the junk food in the stores, and lose the unrealistic body images seen in the media today. Then you will lose weight, and never have to pay money for Jenny Craig, or Weight Watchers, or diet supplements...

Imagine the societal and economic chaos that would result just from the loss of that industry. Being a writer is no better. If society went hand in hand with that resolution, another economic domino would fall—the Internet. Hey, you want to write more? Okay, we’ll lose the Internet, so you can’t shop, or play games, chat, etc., and you have allll the time in the world to write.

Good Lord, it would be full on Thunder Dome.

I made a resolution: to write more. Okay, I say that every year. But this year, I didn’t just make a resolution, I made a goal. My goal is to sell twice as many items as last year. This may sound easy, because I only published two pieces: a fiction story to Mozark Press, and an article in the May 2012 issue of Idaho Magazine.

So now, I have an actual, tangible number. Four. This is my goal. Not very much, but I believe it is an attainable goal. Four short stories or articles, all while working on my crappy novel. That’s my other (secret) goal. I’ve been working on a larger story for about three years now. Hey, I’m a mom, and I don’t write in the bathroom. Sue me. So my goal for that is to finish it. Well, a draft, anyway. 50,000 words of pure aneurism-causing bad fiction.

Now, I’ll be fair. Considering how long it’s taken me to get where I am in my novel, I wouldn’t be surprised if it took another three years just to finish it. So having some small goals in conjunction with a larger goal may seem like a Trojan Horse, accomplishing the little things while the biggie wallows on my computer. But having an attainable goal can only boost your enthusiasm when it is achieved. And, while riding high on that feeling of success, maybe I’ll be more motivated to tackle my novel. Which may or may not see the light of day.

What writing resolutions and goals did you make this year? When the resolution quietly falls to the side, the goals will still be there. Waiting for you.

Just don’t ask me to resolve to clean my house. That will never happen.


Thanks, Mary Ellen! (and I wanna hear more about your novel-in-progress sometime...)

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Message to Myself

"I'd rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are; because a could-be is a maybe who is reaching for a star. I'd rather be a has-been than a might-have-been, by far; for a might have-been has never been, but a has was once an are."—Milton Berle

You know what’s interesting about blogging? Especially sporadically as I do (despite my best intentions). I can go back and read old posts and be inspired by my own words, as if they had come from someone else. Someone with a depth of knowledge and wealth of experience to draw from. Was it the Muse talking? Was I channeling a motivational speaker?

So I write this knowing I will need to hear these words this summer or maybe next winter.

Truth is, I probably spend so much time telling myself I should do better, try harder, be more consistent, not fall down, not stumble, that I start to think I’m a good-for-nothing sloth. The side effect of that is the more down on myself I am, the less effective I am in reaching for my goals.

The success is not in achieving success (I’ve heard from enough published authors that it never feels like a solid success so much as being one flop away from failure), the success is in continually _reaching_ for your goals. Success isn’t not falling down. “Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall.” – Oliver Goldsmith. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”—William Edward Hickson. Good quotes, but I think Milton Berle’s is the best by far.

Now go on, keep reaching for that star!