Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Year's Resolutions of a Writer and Reader

But, I hear you saying, it isn't New Year's yet. You're right, but it's not too early to think about what I mean to accomplish in 2011. And anyway, I decided to count the remaining two weeks of 2010 toward my 2011 resolutions. I'm only at work two more days this year, and I'll have all that lovely time on the plane to my in-laws' place to read and maybe even write. Plus, if the political and/or football arguments get bad enough, I may just go hide in the guest room with my books. :-)

Resolution the First:
I will finish both my current WIPs--the Waterloo novella (historical romance) and the historical fantasy--where "finish" means "ready to submit." This will be a challenge, as neither is anywhere near done and I still have that pesky full-time day job plus an April release to promote. But I'm enthusiastic about both ideas and want to put myself in a position where I can sell steadily and build up a backlist. To do that, I need more complete, polished manuscripts.

Resolution the Second:
I signed up for a Buy One Book and Read It challenge. The challenge comes in two forms: for those who rarely read, buy one book and read it over the course of the year. But for people like me who read a lot but are kinda haphazard about it, the challenge is to buy at least one book per month and actually READ those books IN 2011 instead of just leaving them in my virtual to-be-read pile forever.

The rules:
1) Books must be leisure reading. Nonfiction allowed, but only if it's read for fun.

2) Though I will buy at least one book per month, I don't have to read them in the same month, and there's nothing to stop me buying three books in January and reading one apiece in January, April, and October, as long as I also buy at least one book those other months.

3) I will blog about what books I read for the challenge, but not necessarily all the ones I buy. Since I blog as an author first and as a reader/reviewer second, I have a policy of not discussing my Do Not Finishes.

4) I will try to experiment with debut and new-to-me authors, but books by established favorites still count. For example, I can tell you right now one of my April purchases will be Julia Spencer-Fleming's One Was a Soldier and one of June's will be Naamah's Blessing, by Jacqueline Carey, because I've already pre-ordered them and can't wait for them to hit my Kindle.

Resolution the Third
I will NOT buy any more research books until I've read at least twelve of the unread ones already on my shelves.

You see, I have this impressive collection of research books in my writing office. They fill one full-sized bookshelf and are spilling onto a second, and I like to stand admiring them and feeling all erudite. But yesterday I started counting how many of them I hadn't gotten around to reading yet...and suffice it to say I felt much less erudite after that. Problem is I see a book and think, "Wow, that's a good price for something with lavish color illustrations," or, "Really, one can't have too many biographies of the Duke of Wellington, can one?" or just, "Hey, look! A used bookstore! I should wander inside and see what their history section looks like." Unfortunately, making the time to read them requires a bit more commitment.

The rules:
1) I will blog these, too.

2) At least four of them will NOT be directly relevant to the Waterloo novella or the historical fantasy, 'cuz that's how muses stay fed.

I'm toying with making a Resolution the Fourth where I vow to cook at least one recipe from each of the cookbooks on our dining room bookshelf this year, because I have that same "Oooh, shiny!" problem with cookbooks that I do with research books. However, that means committing to cooking from the Les Halles Cookbook and theFrench Laundry Cookbook, and while I'm by no means a bad cook, I don't think I'm that good.

What about you? Do you know what your resolutions will be yet?

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