I make resolutions all the time. Some don’t last as long as it takes for hot french fries to cool. A few take hold and stick. Some (like get healthie) are so big and vague that they are doomed for failure. Organizing my work area is transient, an ephemeral as lasting as a morning fog. The tricky part is making good ones, meaningful ones, that lead to gradual improvement.I start off every year hoping to grab aspects of my life that are both important and doable. The ones that last longer are ones I want to do. “Shoulds” never last, and in fact rarely have any impact. Forcing improvements, just creates stress, disappointment, and inadequacy… then no matter how noble the improvement it dies in bitter dregs of failure. The change, the resolution, needs some tangible benefit to become self-sustaining. One long term resolution I renew every November: to write more steadily again and finish story drafts.
The problem is that writing original stories doesn’t result in as many tangible payoffs as writing fanfiction. Fully original stories have so little payback for the effort. Professional editing and marketing costs way more than I have the resources for. The stories I have released have not generated commentary or sales, which are the only feedback you get. Fanfic can easily track hits, subscriptions, likes, and comments. I’ve gotten more of all four metrics for a single short story fanfic I posted two weeks ago than dozens of originals I’ve put for sale or released for publicity. I can resolve every year to do more original stories, but there just isn’t any payoff for the time and effort.
But yet again I’ve resolved to work on that rewrite of my novel draft this year. I made some changes last time I started the revision, but I really have to stop trying a major new effort in the holidays. I still love the concept and have a good character or two, but the nitty-gritty of deep revision is like writing from a detailed outline and my muse chokes.
I don’t know how to fix that and so I’ve set some simpler resolutions, some are non-writing and some are not very significant but boost confidence, like crossposting a well-received story to another site. (that’s turning out not as helpful as it’s just not generating much feedback compared to the first place– confirming that changing sites when I did had been a good move) On the good side, NaNo crazy resulted in eleven posted stories, which has also boosted hits on older stories. But now I have like six unfinished stories with recent chapters and a challenge I really want to post. There just are not enough hours in the day to have more than two active stories.
Send help, or at least a cookie!