Friday, January 1, 2016

Resolutions -- delusions or solutions?

Happy New Year! For this New Year I have no resolution. The last time I had a resolution was 2013 and I was able to stick with the resolution. That however was only because I made the resolution achievable by having set goals.

For years prior I had no resolution because I thought setting resolutions was setting oneself up for failure.  In 2013 I decided to give it a try. My resolution then was the very vague resolution of getting out of my comfort zone and trying somethings I had never tried before. It was a broad enough resolution that guaranteed failure, except for one thing: I had a plan.

I set goals. My first goal was to write and publish in a genre I had never before attempted. My second goal was to put myself out there and be more active in promoting my books. The third goal was to open my mind to alternative publishers. My books before had been published traditionally by large publishers. I stayed away from Indie publishing, vanity presses and small publishers with almost elitist disdain. 

The opportunity came for me to write and publish in a new genre when I was recruited for the launch of the Amazon Kindle Worlds and decided to write in the Pretty Little Liars universe. Before then, I hadn’t even heard of Pretty Little Liars. In one month I had to read a ton of books in the series, binge watch the television series and write and edit a 25 000 word novella using the existing characters. I did and published “Indiscretion” a YA mystery/suspense novella—a far cry from the romance I normally write. 

That gave me the courage to try my third goal: consider alternative publishers. I dusted off my children’s manuscript that my daughter Lynelle and I wrote when she was 8 and went into a partnership with CaribbeanReads publishing, a small publishing house. It was a partnership that gave me creative control over just about everything with the book. Before that I had never done anything illustrated. The result was “Zapped! Danger in the Cell” published in 2014. The experience was so good with the small publisher that I decided to stay on with them for my other romance “Hurricane of the Heart”, the first romance published by CaribbeanReads.

With the shift in publishing came the second goal and all the things I dreaded: putting myself out there. Since I made the resolution, I have done so many things I never thought I had the guts to do. I have held workshops at Port Discovery Children’s museum converting a room into a living cell. I raised funds via a gofundme page for it. I have done radio, blog talk radio and television interviews. I have done school presentations and launch parties. I have made contacts in the board of education curriculum development, I have gone to conferences, things I was afraid to do in my quest for anonymity as an author. I have done so many things outside my comfort zone all because of a resolution I made in 2013.

The take home message: don’t be skeptical about making resolutions.  Resolutions can work, if there are specific goals and a plan to achieve the resolution. And they can change your life.

So why didn’t I make a resolution this year? Well I’m still working on the one from 2013 because the resolution that I made was not a onetime resolution but a life time change. It’s still a work in progress.

So when you make your broad sweeping New Year’s resolution, do you have a plan of action?


Charles Gramlich said...

I set some general goals, but no specific resolutions.

Marissa Monteilh said...

I resolved to keep writing, and I'm gonna try my best to stick w/that. And of course, lose weight . . . again, lol!!!

Liane Spicer said...

lol, Marissa. That weight loss goal is eternally on my resolution radar.

I tried making a three-month plan at the start of October last year that broke down my writing/publishing goals week by week. It worked! I exceeded my word counts and managed to slip an entire series in that wasn't even on the list. So yes, breaking down resolutions into achievable goals can work. (Need to apply that to the weight loss goal...)

Jewel, I know all about that elitist disdain thing. I had to work to overcome it, and it's still a work in progress. The industry changes, the market changes, and sometimes we also have to make some uncomfortable changes that take us out of our comfort zone--as you have!