Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The 2013 Pledge to Start and Finish a Book

Happy New Year! I'll bet you have a great New Year's resolution that you plan to keep!

The last time I made a resolution was in 2000. I figured that it was a monumental year with the changing over to a new millennium, and that deserved a kick-ass resolution.

So I resolved to conquer a real fear. I sat and thought hard ... what was a real fear that I could tackle and have results to show for it?

I decided that one fear was horses.

I took horseback riding lessons for the first four months of 2000. For the first month, I was so frightened that my instructor literally held the horse's bit and led me around and around a pen, like I was 5 years old.

By the last month, I had progressed to trotting and even staying on the back of the horse when it reared its legs. I'll never be an expert, because truthfully, I never took to it like some people do. But I did cross that resolution off my list as a "mission accomplished."

I haven't made a resolution since then .... until this year, 2013.

I came to a difficult realization that I was spending much too much time on Twitter. It was time to rock the boat.

So I have resolved this:

Every time I feel the nudge to tweet or spend an inordinate amount of time perusing tweets, I will work on writing my book. I'm going to keep an open Word doc on my computer so that I can go straight to it and just write until the urge is gone. I haven't even started this book. But that's the point. I thought to myself, "I'll bet I spent so much time on Twitter in 2012, that I could have finished a book in the time that I was tweeting."

Will it sell?

At this point, I don't really care.

I just want to be able to say ... in my life, I was a newspaper reporter, I was an AP wire service reporter, I was a newspaper editor, I was a magazine freelance writer .... AND I WROTE A BOOK.

Just one book.

Let's see if I can get it done this year. It doesn't mean I'll shelve Twitter completely, but I do need to get my life back in balance.


  1. Best wishes on your goal. I often get caught up in what I consider OPF (Other People's Fiction) and then don't work on my own. It takes discipline to focus on a higher priority. Good luck.

    1. Thanks, Beverly!

      Well I have an appointment next week with a firm that is going to help me visualize marketing potential for this thing. It may sound like putting the cart before the horse (one word has not been written yet), but if I have a firm idea of how to sell it, this gives me further motivation to put this together.

      I'll keep everybody posted!


  2. Hi Heidi,

    I am also busy with my first book, we all have one in us, but whether we have the courage to do the work, word by word, sentence by sentence, and page by page, that is the big test. I have 10's of hundreds of how-to writing books on giving you the information on structure, tools, dialogue and everything you will need, and after reading these hundreds of books, I found Jane Smiley's (Pulitzer prize winner for her book, A Thousand Acres) book on the technicalities one of the best in the how-to genre.
    Tip: Write each 'episode' as a scene, lay out a timeline for your plot, start with a hook, and one scene at a time builds pages. Never second guess yourself, to write it fresh on the page carry on, do not revise as you go along, get your first draft out out unedited, that way you will have a completed manuscript. Be true to yourself, and aim to share your experience with the reader. PS: Have a theme running through your book, an injustice in society you are angry about, work it into your book.
    And lastly Good Luck,

  3. These are great tips, and thank you so much for the info about Smiley's book. I have not been making as much progress as I'd hoped. My freelance magazine business has taken off unexpectedly, and when I get engrossed in money-making writing, all else falls to the wayside. I need to get my act in gear.

    Really appreciate your comment!