Lessons Learned

I’m not really one for New Year’s Resolutions, since others rarely seem to pay attention to them after January 3rd, and I am pretty goal-oriented as it is, so a semi-arbitrary date doesn’t mean much for goal setting. But for whatever reason, the end of 2013 has made me reflective on this past year, and what I want to accomplish in the next. Here’s a sampling of what I learned from last year, and what I want from 2014:

Write Every Day: Not literally- I’ve talked about how that might not be best, despite the common advice along those lines- but writing is best when it’s a habit. It can be a hard train to get rolling, and starting and stopping don’t help matters. I got away from it the last couple months, and after a year plus of sitting down and cranking out a couple thousand words a night, it got easier to get distracted by other things, especially as my efforts had to shift to marketing, etc. I’ve talked about it a bit already, but I think it’s important to re-focus on what matters- writing, regularly and well.

Drink More got that covered.

Read More: In ’13, I read less than in nearly any year of my life (excepting the fist couple). I read my standards, a couple good indie books and a bunch of crap that made me question the validity of the written word. Self-publishing, and being even vaguely notable in the field, has lead to a lot of people sending me their books. Not that this is always bad; there’s been some really good stuff, but I felt bogged down by a lot of it. In the coming year, I want to read more, focus on the positives, regardless of publishing method and review some good books and help the quality authors out there move some books if I can, as well as get back to reading for reading’s sake.

Take a Damn Vacation: I haven’t had one since… I’m not really sure, to be honest. I think it was DC in 2010, watching the Redskins lose to the stupid $@#ing Cowboys. So, yeah, four years is long enough without a vacation.

Be More Than Self-Published: Some may take umbrage with this, and I’ll talk more about it as the year(s) progress, but I never really cared for the self v traditional debate or labels. I’ve gotten a bit mired down in it, mostly- or at least, partially- out of necessity, but I want to step away from that and focus on the words on the page. Over the last year, the reasons I had to self-publish- while still there, to be sure- have… morphed. The things I thought about- creative control, picking cover art, editing, etc- have taken a bit of a backseat to the idea of reach and not having to worry about things like creative control, picking cover art and editing, especially if it helps me, ya know, sell more books. Not that I don’t care about those things, I do, and greatly, but my goal is for this to be my profession. This doesn’t mean I’ll pursue another route, or won’t self-publish again (I will), but as I’ve said before, I think there is a happier middle ground.

There’s much more, and I’ll expand on each of these, but those are my major thoughts headed into 2014.

I typed 2013 there, so I’m really looking forward to doing that for like three months.

DESR

PS Read Jason Cantrell’s post along similar lines, except with bonus depression (and dealing with it) thrown in. It’s a great post.

PPS Kickstarter launches later this week! EEEEP!

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