01 January 2011

No Resolutions--A 'To Accomplish' List Instead


It's that time again--the perfunctory resolutions that look good on paper but which slowly fade as time and reality creep into the fibers.

So, my resolution is to make no resolutions.

Instead, I'm making a 'To Accomplish' List.I've read some writers are putting "Get Published in 2011" on their resolution lists.

Really? I wish getting published were that easy.

My 'To Accomplish' list doesn't have "Get Published in 2011".

Oh, I'm going to do all the right things to better my chances of getting published, but, ultimately, I know that actually getting published requires that a House somewhere out there wants to publish me. I'll make myself presentable, lovable, approachable, workable, amenable, punctual, and just down right adorable.

My job as a writer isn't "To Get Published". My job as a writer is to tell stories. Getting published is the reward for well-written tales and hard work, research, resolution, and stamina--not wishing.

If a writer is burning to get published, there are plenty of vanity and POD "houses" itching for such a writer's business. Hell, Tate Publishing needs another $4,000 from some publish-me-hungry writer.

My 'To Accomplish' includes finishing three novels I've been working on the past year, each with its own self-imposed deadline as well as two anthologies of short stories each based on a common theme. Sounds like an overload. Each task, though, is at the near completion stage, and I've been procrastinating about finishing any of them.

Entering writing contests is another "To Accomplish" goal. I've shied away from them--not because I was afraid of not winning, but because I was afraid to simply enter. It's like a runner who has talent and speed but is just too afraid to toe up to the starting line, or a talented surgeon who sweats bullets to make that very first cut.

Attending more writer meetings is on my 'To Accomplish' list as well. Living in Southwest Oklahoma is a bit like living on Mars, and if it weren't for email and the Internet, I wouldn't know what the hay was going on with the groups to which I belong. But, the Ethernet doesn't replace flesh and blood, and I not only want but need to be around other writers of like mind.

I started a writers group in SW-OK but with vacations and conferences, we only had two meetings. I've also got a creative writing club going at Altus High School with about 20 student members.

The more I'm around other writers, neophyte and professional, the more I want to write.

One way "To Accomplish" my goals is to actually Be A Writer. I read Carolyn See's "Making a Literary Life" a few years ago. I need to read it two or three times a year. So, I've started reading it again. I met Carolyn many years ago at a writers conference, and we've exchanged a few post cards since. The theme I get out of "Making a Literary Life" is that to Be A Writer I Must Live Like A Writer.

And that brings me to my next "To Accomplish" objective--read more. I teach high school English. I read constantly--student work, the works of the writers we're studying, reports, essays, research papers. By the time I get some time to myself, my eyes are crossed, my synapses have snapped, and my soul is exhausted.

I've found over the past few years that I have gotten away from reading just for the sake of reading. I read a few books this past year, but not near the number I want to read. Reading what others have published is to a writer what viewing game film of the opposing team is to an athlete. Read, read, read. That's what I tell my creative writing students. Good advice for me, too.

That's it.

I'm not actually making a list.

These "To Accomplish" objectives won't do me any good on a list. I've never been a "list" kind of guy. I prefer to mull and meditate so that what ever I have to accomplish becomes imbued with my heart and soul.

Putting these objectives on a list and posting them to the wall in front of my writing desk won't do me any good. After a while, the list will be absorbed by the wall and disappear, along with all the other lists and notes I have posted on the wall in front of my writing desk.

Kyleigh GarmonOh, yeah: I'm raising two of my Grandchildren for the next 12 to 14 months while their father is deployed to Korea.

See you on the bookshelf.

Larry Mike

No comments:

Post a Comment