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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...)


Jude-Marie Green said...

Good essay, MEHub!

Anonymous said...

Yes, giving oneself challenges works better than making resolutions.

If you don't have at least the first draft of your wonderful, fabulous, exciting, deeply moving novel done by November, participate in NaNoWriMo.