Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Those Pesky New Year's Resolutions

Procrastination is my favorite hobby. You can tell because I'm writing this on January 8th instead of January 1st.  When it comes to writing I tell myself I'm mulling things over. That's probably ten percent true.  Maybe even twenty five; I was never great with math.

I have long since figured out that I delay starting or working on a longer project simply because it seems daunting.  When it comes to house or yard work I have learned to do a little at a time and it's better to start before the dust balls hide the cats or the ground is too frozen to plant tulip bulbs. Why not some writing projects?

There are files in my drawer with writing ideas going back to the 1980s.  I read through some of them a few weeks ago and they are so old I cannot remember writing the first few pages or short outlines--and I like them.

Nonfiction?  No problem, especially if it's a paid project. But even then, there is one I have worked on for years (it talks about worrying less and has an appealing title) and it looks as if this will be the year it will get done.  Not because I thought 2013 would be  the best year to release it.  Because I have finally parked my tailbone in the chair and said I can't get up for an hour.  And I do this at least a couple of times each day. So, maybe...

There is a final incentive to overcoming the I'm-not-sure-I'm-ready-to-tackle-that-project perspective. Money. You can actually publish something yourself and people will buy it--assuming it's good. That has not always been the case.  Publishers are good gatekeepers for readers. There is a lot of really bad writing that has never shown up in a book store. Now it may be on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  But guess what?  No one has to buy it! Readers can assess your book or article and decide whether to add to their electronic or paper pile and procrastinate about reading it. They can even return ebooks with the click of a mouse and get their money back.

This is wonderful.  My long-term career as a government analyst or congressional aide has merged with my fiction career--it's democracy in action.  The idea that I can write what I want and see a financial reward in a reasonable time means I should probably chain my tailbone to that chair.

So, in 2013 you will see a greater mix of fiction and nonfiction projects.  I hope people will want to read them.  Last year, 8,500 people bought my books.  Bestseller status?  Nope.  Does it make me happy?  Yep.  Fulfilling New Year's resolutions can bring you joy.  Especially if you don't wait.
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