New Year’s Eve has never been one of my favorite holidays. Maybe because I’m usually all partied out by the time it rolls around. Or perhaps it’s because I’m not wild about looking back at the past year, and I’m not fond of New Year’s Resolutions, either. In the past, it’s always felt as though everyone I knew, myself included, would set these fantastical and unrealistic goals for themselves, only to flounder partway through February back into old ways.
I think there are a couple of reasons for this. First, most of us have used the holiday season as an excuse to seriously over-indulge in many ways: food, spirits, shopping… A part of us really does want to buckle down and clean up our act. We sign up for gym memberships we’ll never use. We swear off certain foods, and resolve to organize our filing cabinet, or donate all our old clothing to Goodwill. We set worthy goals for ourselves, or rather, the person we’d like to be, the fitter, slimmer, smarter, more productive, volunteers-at-a-homeless-shelter-in-her-spare-time person we just know we could be if we just put our minds to it. Unfortunately, I tend to over-estimate how much I can do, and then am disappointed when I don’t even come close.
I suspect the other reason we fail at keeping resolutions is because we’re not specific enough. You can’t just announce “I’m going to lose weight, spend more time with the kids, and put more money into savings.” All good choices, but they’re not goals. A goal is a specific task or milestone met. “I’m going to put $20 a week in savings,” or “I’m going to commit to walking 30 minutes every day barring illness” or “I’m going to Bora Bora in July.” I’m not going to Bora Bora, by the way, but it sounded nice, didn’t it? Goals are something you work toward and if you don’t have a set standard, how will you know when you achieve it?
I find myself looking forward to 2016 this year, though. 2015 was a bit rough, to be perfectly honest, and for once I am glad to see the arrival of New Year’s Eve. For the past several years (okay, more like the past ten years), I’ve been very Grinch-like about Christmas for a variety of reasons, but this year I made the effort to get into the holiday spirit and it paid off. You get out of the holidays what you put into them. With all of this in mind, I’ve chosen to make some resolutions this year.
1. I will write at least two novels this year. I think this is a doable goal for me, given the time constraints of my day job. If I get more written, yay for me (and you, too!) but two is the minimum goal. That means I’ll write the next installment of the Sixth Sense series, and will probably finish my Regency romance. I’ll be starting the long-planned sequel to Crying for the Moon, so fingers crossed you’ll see that too. Given the nature of my work, I probably won’t be doing much self-publishing, so I might not get more than two stories published in 2016, but two is the goal.
2. Despite wanting to go to ALL the cons, I only get so much vacation time per year. I’m planning to go to Animazement in Raleigh, NC in May, and am going to do my best to get into the Writer’s Police Academy in August. Nothing else has been decided until I determine if I get accepted into WPA. It’s not just enough to go have fun—these conventions/conferences have to benefit me in other ways, too.
3. ‘Write more, talk less.’ Though I love my online interactions, I recognize I was more productive before I got involved on so many social platforms. It doesn’t mean I won’t be around—but it does mean I’m going to limit my time on these sites. The goal is a half hour morning and evening, unless I have something specific I’m promoting.
4. Less promo, more writing. Another vague goal, but it seems to me I spend several months before and after the release of a new story completely focused on that story and getting the word out about it. I’d like to cut that time to a couple of weeks surrounding the release and get back to the most important thing I can do—tell the next story.
5. Stop taking my health for granted. I’ve been blessed most of my life with reasonably good health, but in the last few years, issues and injuries have cropped up. My inability to deal with these things stems in part from my immense resentment at no longer being able to run myself into the ground and being able to keep on going despite everything. So this means turning off the electronics an hour before sleep, and going to bed at 10:30ish, and eliminating the foods that make me feel like crap, and setting 30 minutes aside every day for some sort of exercise, be it yoga, or walking, or stretching, or whatever. Because I got a good hard look at my future when I visited my mother over the holidays, and there is more to life than work. This isn’t just about losing weight. I write better when I feel better, bottom line. It all comes down to that in the end for me—what will allow me to be a better writer?
So I hope I haven’t discouraged you from making your own resolutions! Or maybe I’ve helped you set more realistic goals for yourself! Either way, tell me what you’d like to achieve in 2016. I’ll choose a winner at random from the comments (be sure to leave your email if you want to be included) to get a free e-copy of my latest release, The Boys of Summer. Winner announced one week from today!
David McIntyre has been enjoying the heck out of his current assignment: touring the Hawaiian Islands in search of the ideal shooting locations for a series of film-company projects. What’s not to like? Stunning scenery, great food, sunny beaches… and Rick Sutton, the hot, ex-Air Force pilot who is flying him around.
Everything changes when a tropical storm and engine failure force a crash landing on a deserted atoll with a WWII listening post. Rick’s injuries and a lack of food and water mean David has to step up to the plate and play hero. While his days are spent fighting for survival, and his nights are filled with worrying about Rick, the two men grow closer. David’s research for his next movie becomes intertwined with his worst fears, and events on the island result in a vivid dream about the Battle of Britain. On waking, David realizes Rick is more than just a pilot to him. The obstacles that prevented a happy ending in 1940 aren’t present today, and David vows that if they survive this stranding, he will tell Rick how he feels.
The second edition is now available for pre-order from Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7221
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The first edition of The Boys of Summer was a Finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards. Nominated Best Historical in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards. Selected as a Best Read in 2013 by Jessewave. Winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Re-release date December 21, 2015.
Sarah Madison was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards and is the winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards for The Boys of Summer. The Sixth Sense series was awarded 2nd place for Best M/M Mystery Series in the 2014 PRG’s Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Walk a Mile (Sixth Sense series Book 2) was a finalist in the 2015 Rainbow Awards.
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