To say that 2014 whipped by at a breakneck pace is probably a bit of an understatement. Regardless, it's hard to believe that another year has almost gone by and a new one is right on the horizon. It has definitely been a year of highs and lows, both inside and out of my "writing world." So it's probably a good time to pause, reflect, toss out what isn't working and give something new a shot and see where everything lands. More than just a New Year's resolution (because those "always" work out so well), this is probably the best time to plan some goals for 2015. Granted, of course I'd like to lose a few pounds (don't judge), even so I'll keep the following short and on the point of writing and striking a writing/life balance:
R.Q. Garcia's Goals for 2015:
1. Read more: Many authors suggest that the best way to sharpen your pen is to increase your own library and never stop reading. There are plenty of lessons to be learned from other writers and it's a great way to help prevent yourself from re-plowing old fields.
2. Ask more questions: Some truly great stories were born from asking "what if." You'll likely recognize a few familiar examples here: what if dinosaurs could be brought back to life today; what if an artificially intelligent super computer became self-aware; what if a boy, made an orphan by raiders, was raised as a gladiator?
3. Ask for criticism before asking for praise: Some of my best revisions have come from some pretty scathing critiques. Likewise, sometimes there can be hidden gems in what some might consider a snide remark. It just makes sense to develop a thick hide during the drafting and beta reader stage to weather the highs and lows of feedback on the finished product.
4. Make the most of my writing time: Time is precious and there's never enough of it. I've learned that what used to inspire me to write for hours at a time just doesn't work anymore and ends up wasting time I don't have. New minimum and maximums: 30 to 90 minute intervals, as time permits. It's not about word counts and quantity.
5. Make writing my passion, family my priority: The quest for literary success is a slippery slope unless and until you define what "success" is to you. Honestly, I am still unsure about how I define it for myself. This leads to a lot of time chasing after one thing or another, usually with little to show for the effort. Ultimately, this is time that is better spent (a) writing, or (b) with the people who mean everything to me. That said, family should always come first. Follow that concept and you'll be amazed at how much more supportive your significant other and/or children become when it comes to following your passion.
6. Finalize the print version to "Of Murder and Monsters."
7. Finish and publish the sequel and prequel to "Of Murder and Monsters." Yeah, I might be biting off more than I can chew. Better to try and fail than to have never tried at all.
8. Write the very best damn book(s) I possibly can, because that's what the readers deserve.
Needless to say, I'm excited to see what 2015 will bring. What are your goals and how do you plan on reaching them in the New Year.