I am a list lover from way back. Show me a scrap of paper and I’ll show you how to fill it with lists about:
- 8 tasks to do today (no more than 8, because that’s how many work hours there are in a day)
- 5 ways to kill the fly that keeps whining around your light bulb (or 6, or 3; whatever works is the most important idea here)
- 148 “things on my mind” (in other words, living with the guilt of how much I DON’T do in a day)
- 4 book titles for stories I want to write . . .
Wait. Four stories I want to write? Hmm. Is that all? Shouldn’t I, as a writer, be so full of ideas that I’d take your one scrap of paper and raise you by seven? Stories are my avocation. I will write and write until the cows come home (or in today’s lingo, until the cars come home, complete with hubbies nice enough to have brought carry-out dinner along with them, and the laundry from the dry-cleaners, and . . . well, you get the picture).
As you may have guessed, I not only love lists, but I need them. When I allow my mind to drift into “writer-land” there is no way to stay focused enough to accomplish much of anything. I think this is what my counselor calls ADHD. So lists truly help. I love the hand-written kind, as there is a physical connection between me, my aspirations, and accomplishments. I love jotting down fun items with stars or flowers, and regular to-do items with regular dashes or bullets, and frowny-faces with things I have to do, but don’t want to. I give myself extra points for getting the frowny-faces done in a day.
So what has all this to do with my 2016 resolutions? Plenty. I have found over the years that simply writing down a resolution makes it more of a TO-DO than a WISH-THIS-WERE-SO item. Now I’m going to take the brave step I’ve been putting off for the past four paragraphs (and several years) and let you know what I’m resolved to do this year in my writing life. Making resolutions public is supposed to help you accomplish them. Right now, I have butterflies in my tummy, ringing in my ears, and chills in my typing fingers. Commitment! Scary. Will you forgive me if I don’t get all these done? I hope so. Still, 2016 hasn’t started yet. I have high hopes to:
- Finish writing and submitting Pot Shots, my 3rd Daisy book
- Write 4 really short (750 words or less) mysteries
- Read 24 books, starting in January with these two titles:
- Agatha Christie Miss Marple – The Complete Short Stories: Berkley Books
- How to Argue Powerfully, Persuasively, Positively, by Jonathan Herring, Pearson Publishing
- Write 48 to 52 scintillating blog posts that will keep you coming back here
- Give my talk, “Author Platform101” to the Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America chapter in January
- Come up with 365 story ideas (one a day for each day of the year)
- Share the best writer and reader blogs I can find with you.
Have you ever noticed that when you start a bullet list, each time you hit “return” the bullet automatically appears? I feel like I have to keep going until the bullets stop. No wonder my to-do lists keep growing out of control–ooh! There’s a sci-fi story in the making. Evil bullet lists keep their victim writers typing until the writers’ fingers literally fall off. Who will stop these terrible task masters? Stay tuned, when next week the master of sloth, Inertia Girl, jabs the writers’ hands with nerve deafening Midazolam, whereupon bullets, writers’ hands and writers go to sleep, thus ending a chapter the absolutely wrong way. But hey, I never said a story idea had to be good. Now I have a jump on my 365, right?
If you want to see a really good article on making New Year’s Resolutions, be sure to check out Catherine Dilts’ blog post.
Happy New and Creative Year, everyone!