Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's Resolutions 2010

Beneath my Happy New Year article this year, under "You might also like" perhaps you clicked on New Year's Resolutions for Writers posted last New Year.  I had forgotten all about that one.

The great thing about a blog is I can come back here next year and see what I wrote. Will I have kept my resolutions or will I be like those people who crowd the gym every January and disappear with the first crocus?
I waited well past the first crocus and into the next year before I checked it out. So how did I do? Well, I'm still exercising regularly and eating right. Oh wait, those were things I didn't need to resolve to do. Are you getting the idea I'm hedging?

Let's see, of all those resolutions the one I have stuck to most is "submitting more." In the past year I have regularly had at least three stories circulating to several markets at a time. I can't say this has greatly improved my success rate, but it does help keep my spirits up as there are always markets out there I haven't heard from yet.

The lack of improvement in my success rate can probably be linked to the resolution I have been worst at sticking to––better researching and targeting of markets. While having several stories in my portfolio at any one time allows me to choose the one best suited for a publication I've just discovered, I still don't go deep enough into the markets I research, tending to submit after reading just one issue instead of the recommended two or three. And when it comes to print markets, sometimes submitting before the first sample issue even arrives in my mailbox. This doesn't mean I don't read more than one issue, I simply can't force myself to wait that long to submit. Also, I suspect I am just not that good at analyzing stories anyway. I know what I like, but the nuance that might attract an editor to one story over another still eludes me.

Did I spend more time reading current fiction? Yes and no. I have started alternating fiction and nonfiction or reading both together. Not simultaneously, of course, but sometimes I split my evening reading time between two books or trade off nights. Not all of that is the most current fiction, but joining the Amazon Vine program has encouraged me to read at least some new things like Lorrie Moore's newest novel. Also, while I allowed my subscription to The New Yorker to lapse, I read a friend's copy every month while working out, and as I've noted, been pleasantly surprised at the recent change in tone.

One resolution, though, hit me like a brick in the face, and perhaps it was good I read it when I did.
RESOLVED to focus most of my creativity on my writing.
In connection with that one I vowed, "each time I join a new volunteer organization I'm determined to remain only a foot soldier." I kept that resolution pretty well...until a couple of weeks ago when I began considering perhaps one of the biggest volunteer commitments of my life––a please-won't-somebody-talk-me-out-of-this kind of commitment.  Should I or shouldn't I? Circumstances will not allow me to divulge details at this point, but perhaps fate steered me to that old post for a reason.

So how did you do on last year's resolutions? Have you made any for 2010?

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