Friday, January 6, 2012

My Writing Resolutions for 2012

by Susan McBride

I used to make New Year’s resolutions annually.  Until I realized I didn’t really stick to them.  By the end of January, they were forgotten, buried under deadlines and other craziness.  This year, I’m not even going to try to pin down things in my personal life that I’d like to tackle, other than to deliver a healthy baby in June, meet all my obligations as best I can, and thoroughly enjoy every day as much as humanly possible.

Instead, I decided to make a few resolutions regarding my writing that I want to strive for in 2012 and each year after.  Since this is the perfect place to share them (so you all can check on me later and see how I’m doing!), here they are:

**To boldly go where no man has gone before!  (Well, at least where this woman hasn't gone before!) Yes, like the opening sequence in “Star Trek,” I want to tackle new galaxies in my writing life.  I want to keep trying new things and writing books that I haven’t written before (or even read in some cases).  It’s always scary taking on a path that isn’t familiar.  But I’m finding that I thrive on it.  It’s a risk, yes, and I realize I’m taking a gamble with every novel I write that isn’t a series or that encroaches on new turf, but it gets my blood pumping.  I get excited just thinking about stretching my creativity and seeing how far I can push myself.

**To stop worrying about reviews.  I want to stop feeling compelled to check Amazon and other places, only to break out in hives because someone gave my latest literary baby one-star and said it’s the worst piece of crap they’ve ever seen. I write because I can’t imagine doing anything else.  It feeds me.  It drives me.  I would write even if Ed and my mom were the only ones reading.  Knowing that a hunk of the book-buying population will never warm to me does not affect how I work.  I don’t think about it when I’m composing, not one bit (although I know authors who do—one who even told me he considers readers’ suggestions about how he should approach characters and plotlines while he’s writing).  All bad reviews do is make me feel lousy personally. So I need to follow in the footsteps of Laura Spinella and Maggie Barbieri who make a point to avoid reading reviews. If I can wean myself in 2012, that will be a very good thing.

**To do a better job at setting my deadlines so that I’m not working on two projects at once in tandem with a new book release and a million other things.  It’s amazing how much I feel like Superwoman when events on my schedule are a year away.  But once life starts happening—say, you get pregnant!—and other book-related demands crop up, suddenly there’s not enough time in the world.  I have always prided myself on getting things done on time, if not early.  So it’s been a challenge this past year, juggling everything and making sacrifices.  I need time for my real life and my book life…and a few moments to breathe in between.

I feel so fortunate to be doing what I love every day of my life.  I just want to make the experience better and better in every way possible.  Oh, yeah, and did I mention I need to work on stressing out less?  I’m definitely better than I was at that a year or two ago, but I’m still not close to achieving my black belt in Zen.

Happy New Year, everyone!  Any resolutions you want to share?


  1. Your resolutions sound right on target. I always set goals like "write 500 words per day" but stringent rules like that never seem to pan out. So, I stick to "don't read reviews" and "write the best book possible"--more open ended resolutions--and that seems to work better for me. Great post! Maggie

  2. Good luck sticking to all those resolutions, and best wishes for the baby in June. There is never any more important thing than that!

  3. I'm tempted to copy and paste this list into my computer for myself. They are all great. I need to work extra hard on your third one--learning to pace myself better.

  4. I hope I can follow in your "don't read reviews" footsteps, Maggie! I've been working on it, but I'm not there yet!

    Thanks, yellowrose! You're so right about the baby! Its definitely become the highest priority!

    Laura, I keep thinking I'll get better at scheduling, and I guess I have gotten things a lot more under control than when I was first published. But I feel like I've still got a ways to go before I've mastered The Art of Giving Myself Enough Time. It's a tricky thing indeed.

  5. Susan, once little peapod arrives your focus and your life will change drastically--magically.


  6. One of my resolutions is to live a little more by that old canard-To control what I can, accept what I can't, and the wisdom to know the difference, and it isn't always my fault :) And to relish every positive moment I have. You have such good stuff coming, and you must ignore the negative reviews. People love to get their grungies out on the internet.

  7. I think Peapod has changed my life already, Marilyn! Although I know it's just the beginning! :-)

  8. Lil, that's exactly how I'm trying to live my life, too. And, yes, relish the positive moments! Once I can give up reading reviews online (well, particularly the bad ones!), I'll be at a better place in my head, that's for sure. Let's hope 2012 gives us all a little more Zen in our lives!

  9. My resolution is to trust that I can handle what I've taken on and to not worry. Deadlines will be made. Worrying about hitting them won't get me any closer to writing the books. So, I will worry as little as possible and enjoy the ride.

    Congrats again on Peapod! 2012 is going to be an amazing year:)

  10. Joelle, that's the spirit! (And thanks re. Peapod. He or she has already made 2012 very exciting! :->)