2018 Writerly Resolutions, Anyone?

Jordan Dane
@JordanDane

Michael Lane – Tacoma

Happy 2018, TKZers! (Sorry for the exclamation point, John. I had to poke you after your great post on Note to Copy Editor.)

Has anyone made any new year’s resolutions for your writing?

I love the start of a new year, especially after I finished December 2017 with time off to replenish the creative well without a deadline to race against. I wanted to spend quality time with family and friends. Mission accomplished.

I have a deadline looming mid-February 2018, so I’m hunkered down with my daily word count, but the time off has done wonders for my enthusiasm.

My 5 Writing Resolutions for 2018

1.) Read Better Books – One of my 2018 resolutions is to read more books from some of my favorite authors. Well-crafted books inspire and challenge me. I love learning new things.

In 2017, I thought that since I read so much, that I should mitigate the hit to my budget by reading free e-books. I DID find some new authors I liked, but they were few and far between. For the most part, I had to stop reading many, many books (which I hate to do), due to the poor quality of the writing.

Some of the chronic problems I saw were novels with excessive passive voice, typos, missing words, rambling internal monologues, back story dumps, chatty dialogue without focus, bland characterizations, misuse of first person POV, characters I didn’t care about, and plots without structure or pace. My version of throwing the book against the wall was to delete/purge the free books off my e-reader.

To kickoff 2018, I’m reading Michael Connelly’s latest – Two Kinds of Truth – & I scored it when it was on sale. Win-Win.

2.) Dare to Try New Things – I have a partially written novel that I will finish in 2018. It involves an aspect of historical writing. It scares me to death. I’ve never taken on such an endeavor, something so daunting for me.

I’ve done my research on Victorian England (countless searches on the Internet and purchasing several research books) and need to infuse my prose with the right time period setting and dialect, without going overboard to slow the pace. It’s been a challenge on layering what I need into every scene, but so far it’s working. I’ve made a resolution to jump back on it after my Feb deadline.

3.) Stay Better Connected with my Family and Friends – This is a personal goal, but it contributes a great deal to my writing inspirations and my positive frame of mind. My close circle gives me the elixir of joy that I need to push myself to new accomplishments. The bigger challenge might be to find face time during the year, in between my deadlines, but this is important to me. It needs to happen.

4.) Add Depth to my Character Voices & Back Story – In my 2018 challenge novel, the one that will have historical elements, I have a unique character that makes me work hard to get her right. I struggle for every word out of her mouth, to make her distinctive. This has not been an easy feat.

As I write, I have my Thesaurus open and often must go back over what I had jotted down in haste, to fine tune her voice and truly listen to her as I edit. One of my pet peeves is to read a book that starts out with great care, but it gets sloppy on the character portrayal in the middle and toward the end. That feels like a cheat to me, so I am putting effort into every scene all the way through.

5.) Find a Better Balance with my Deadlines – I want to find a better balance between writing Amazon Kindle World novellas along with my full novels this year. Kindle World deadlines are totally up to me on how many I agree to write and what those deadlines might be. I will commit to fewer KWs this year (to write in more selected worlds), in order to find time for my full length novels and proposals.

 

Those are my top five resolutions. They should probably be called GOALS. In my mind they are very achievable and I’m determined to check them off my list as I get them done.

For Discussion:

What about you, TKZers? Have you made any writer resolutions for 2018?

Do you have any rituals for goal setting? How do you celebrate your achievements?

Below is my next cover for a book I haven’t started yet. I have a general idea on the plot and had a broad outline, but after playing with the cover, I’m now inspired to launch into the story. I even changed the title to make it fit.

Cover Design by: Fiona Jayde Media

Valentine & the Lotus Circle

(Novella 2 of 2)

Coming Feb, 2018

Love made him vulnerable…once

Driven by guilt and revenge over a tragic death, Braxton Valentine is coerced into being the latest recruit to the Phoenix Agency as a covert operator and a powerful psychic, but he is not a team player. To confront his rogue ways, the Agency hires a mysterious woman psychic from the ancient and mythical Lotus Circle–and she takes no prisoners.

6+
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About Jordan Dane

Bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Jordan Dane’s gritty thrillers are ripped from the headlines with vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense novels to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag, naming her debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM as Best Books of 2008. She is the author of young-adult novels written for Harlequin Teen, the Sweet Justice thriller series for HarperCollins., and the Ryker Townsend FBI psychic profiler series, Mercer's War vigilante novellas, and the upcoming Trinity LeDoux bounty hunter novels set in New Orleans. Jordan shares her Texas residence with two lucky rescue dogs. To keep up with new releases & exclusive giveaways, click HERE

25 thoughts on “2018 Writerly Resolutions, Anyone?

  1. Jordan, I love these, especially the first one. I’ve run across so many mediocre books this past year—books I don’t bother finishing—that I need to refocus my reading to become a better writer.

    I would also add this one: IGNORE. There are too many political and social distractions to wind us up, I think we need to stay strong and focus on producing great books.

    • Politics these days are hard to ignore, especially when new laws can change our lives this year.

      Even in my Michael Connelly book, the current Presidency is written into the plot (lightly & with a deft hand).

      But social media can definitely be a time suck. Good one. Thanks, Steven.

  2. Steven: yes! Ignore the social media. My 2017 resolution was to better manage my social media. I’m now only in for a single hour (starting at 8:00) each day. That includes email, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and TKS.

    In 2018, I’m now focusing on reintegrating some highly focused social media back into my life so as to find people I actually want to interact with, rather than the constant yammering that goes on. I’m looking for deep, meaningful connections.

    Beyond this, I have resolved to not read a single book on craft this year, instead focusing any learning from masters of my genre by reading their books.

    Those are the two big ones for me. I agree with you, Jordan, that while there are some diamonds in the rough, you truly do get what you pay for.

  3. Just remember that in order to succeed, you need things you can measure. “Better at Social Media” doesn’t mean as much as “I will spend 30 minutes a day on Facebook, in 3 10-minute increments.” Likewise, “I will finish writing that book I’ve been working on for thirty-seven years” won’t work, but “I will write 500 words a day” will get you there. Plus, you have the daily gratification of knowing you’ve made your goal.

  4. Great goals! One of mine is also to read more (not just for research) and I just completed a fantastic Australian crime novel – Dry by Jane Harper. Loved it’s evocation of a drought stricken rural community in Victoria (the state I grew up in).
    Best of luck on your historical fiction endeavours – if you’d like someone to be a beta reader for any or all of it I would love to do that! My era isn’t Victorian (well not at the moment anyway!) but as a lover of historical fiction, I’d love to read it:)

    • I would love a beta reader on the historical elements, Clare, especially of your caliber. Thank you. I’ll give you a heads up when I finish the historical scenes. When I send them, I’ll send you a link to the books I’m using for my period research, in case you want to dig into a new era. Thanks again.

    • Clare, I have just finished Jane Harper’s second novel, Force of Nature, and I enjoyed it as much as The Dry. It’s also set in Victoria, but in a national park and the same detective features. I thoroughly recommend it!

    • Really nice post on your goals, Dave. I love that you make the distinction between resolutions and goals. I arrived at the same conclusion. Achievable goals should be defined and measurable.

      I appreciate you including the link. Thank you.

  5. My goals are simple and concrete: ( will make slow progress until April when my seasonal job ends, then wahooo)
    1. Build and open my website (suggestions welcome)
    2. Publish first book in the series
    3. Use Sue Coletta’s instructions on marketing
    4. Finish the next three books (all are novellas at about 40k word.
    5. Breath and don’t spend much time listening to unpaid advice about my stories that the adviser hasn’t read.

  6. I need to get better about not finishing bad books. There have been a few that I stopped after a chapter (maybe a little more, maybe a little less), but I usually try to stick it out. I don’t know why; I don’t owe it to the author. (Might be an OCD thing.) But time is too valuable to keep wasting that way. I need to get better about that.

    Seems like you have a good handle on 2018. Wishing you all the best.

    • Hey Staci. I think finishing a book is out of respect for writing & how hard it is to finish. But like you said, time is too valuable to waste. Have a happy 2018!

  7. You can totally achieve your goals, Jordan! Your list forced me to think about how I might approach the new year. Number five, about finding balance with deadlines, is an area I need to work on, too.

    In 2017, I made a conscious effort to spend more quality time with family and close friends. Over the years my husband had never complained about my long hours. Well, maybe once or twice. 😉 In any case, the bottom line is, he missed me. So, in 2016, I set a schedule that allowed me to close the computer more often. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. It wasn’t until last January that I found my groove, and we ended up having a fantastic, fun year in spite of four new releases. In 2018, I’d love to find time to meet some of the friends I’ve met online, people who are important to me … like you.

  8. Hi Jordan
    Thanks for the reminder that resolutions are not all about deadlines and word counts. Time management and procrastination are issues for me, so I have decided to ban social media between the hours of 9am and 5pm and I am also going to give the Pomodoro Technique a go – starting today.
    Good luck with your goals/resolutions.
    Linda

  9. I love the new cover design, Jordan – makes me want to read the book!

    It’s not unusual for me to read four novels a week, in addition to various non-fiction books. One way that I save money on books is by making use of the public library. Sure, there are some books that I’ll buy if I want to read them more than once, and sometimes I’ll buy a book just to support a friend. However, I can get any book I want to read at my branch of the public library. Anything the local branch doesn’t have can be ordered from another branch, and I’ll have just a short wait. The bookshelves in my house are overflowing, and screening books at the library before buying them has saved me from having to buy a bigger house! The local library stocks many books by TKZers, and if anyone here wants me to snap a picture of their books on the shelves of my local library just for fun, btw, I’ll be happy to do it.

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