A Writer’s New Year Resolutions

happy-new-year-champagne

Oh, my poor neglected blog. How have you been? I haven’t written much in you, especially lately. I do my best to get you visitors from Twitter, but I know you’re probably lonely and under-fed. Let’s see if we can change that in 2017, yeah? Would you like that, boy?

Readers, you can’t see from here, but blog’s eyes just lit up and his tail is wagging.

Seriously, though, I don’t usually do the resolution thing, but the #WriterResolutions hashtag has been kicking around Twitter, and I decided to join in with some modest but sincere expectations of myself for the next twelve months. And blogging more is first on the list. I started this blog as part of my fledgling attempt to build an author platform in my quest to publish fiction. I started off strong—a couple of introductory posts, newly written flash fiction, installments of a work-in-progress, and a month-long song challenge. But it’s trailed off recently, so I want to make an effort to post new content more regularly. Prepare yourselves!

Second resolution: to finish the first draft of, and begin editing, book 2 in my planned time-travel science-fiction trilogy, the first book of which I’m actively querying to literary agents (see below). I’d say book 2 is 75% complete, if not more, so I think finishing and editing are reasonable goals.

Third resolution: to continue querying book 1. Querying has been an eye-opening experience. I’ve queried 19 agents since May, no requests, one enthusiastic personalized response with a suggestion to rewrite the opening chapter. No response when I sent the rewrite to said agent, and I’ve even rewritten the first chapter again since then. Overall I think the opening is much stronger than the original version. I’ve also solicited professional critiques of my query letter and rewritten it accordingly, and will continue to do so in the new year. It’s an ongoing process, and while it isn’t always fun (especially when a form rejection comes in), it’s educational, and it’s a main route into traditional publishing. So I’ll keep at it, and I’ll keep participating in Twitter pitch parties as well.

I made resolutions that I think I can actually achieve, instead of the typical grandiose pledges that will be forgotten after a few weeks. They’re also goals that are entirely my responsibility. I’ve seen a lot of resolutions on Twitter in the vein of “I will publish two books this year!” or “I will get an agent in 2017!” I’ll admit, I would love either of these to happen for myself, too. Here’s to hoping, gang. But, barring the self-publishing route (which, perhaps, the Twitter resolutions were referring to), those goals are subject to so much beyond a writer’s control. The changing preferences of literary agents, the shifting landscape of the publishing industry, current and projected readership trends—my ability to write a polished, compelling manuscript and query letter is only the beginning. It doesn’t guarantee anything. I set goals for myself that are my responsibility and depend only on me: continuing to build my social media presence as a writer, finishing and revising what I’ve started writing, and putting my work out there as I seek representation.

What about all of you? What are you hoping to accomplish in the coming year?