Reading – In 2013, I discovered how easy it is to become mired in a long list of books I think I should read, or feel obligated to read, or have promised someone I’ll read. Result: very little reading at all. The stories I want to read are buried under the pile of should-ought-musts, and one day, the joy of reading finds itself abandoned at a gas station 40 miles west of Salina, Kansas, scrubbing its tear-stained face and cuddling its scruffy teddy bear, wondering where I’ve gone.
Time for a 2014 U-turn on the freeway of life to recover the little guy. Thanks to a timely Christmas gift from my brother, I’ve kickstarted my e-reader with a stack of books I want to read. I’m keeping the books I’ve promised to read and review on my list (and several of those are want-to-reads), but the shoulds and oughts are going back on the shelf. Bottom line, More reading this year, but more reading for the joy of it.
Writing – I suppose my biggest writing regret for 2013 was that I didn’t write enough, or at least enough of what I needed to be writing. I felt blocked most of the year, and as anyone who knows me can verify, when I block, I block big-time. I even wrote a novel about it.
Perhaps its a measure of my growth as a writer that I didn’t shut down completely, as I’ve done in the past, for years at a stretch. Rather than trying to force what wasn’t working, I shifted gears and wrote what was familiar and came easily to me. I blogged a lot. I dashed off microfiction episodes for Avenir Eclectia. I wrote a connecting narrative for a forthcoming Splashdown Books anthology. I produced exactly one short story that was accepted for publication, and even that began by goofing around with a joke that had been rolling around inside my head for a long time.
So, for 2014, more writing. I plan to get back on the short story publication train, but my focus for this year is to finish the manuscript of my third novel (I can hear Grace Bridges rejoicing all the way from New Zealand). This week, I solved the scope problem that’s bedeviled me since I began this project and figured out how to tie the beginning to the end. There’s still a good bit of in-between to work out, but I have a road map now.
To my family, friends, and anyone else who happens by, may God bless you in the coming year and grant you good health, much joy, and success in all your endeavors.