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Resolutions, pantyhose, and getting published.

by Robin Covington 9 December 2010 30 Comments

I just finished putting my order in for my 2011 office calendars. I order mine from Despair, Inc. (http://www.despair.com/) and they are full of motivational tidbits such as:

“Wishes:  When you wish upon a falling star, your dreams can come true. Unless it’s really a meteorite hurtling to the Earth which will destroy all life. Then you’re pretty much hosed no matter what you wish for. Unless it’s death by meteor.”

Aaahhh.  Inspiration.

Well, all of this happy time has got me thinking about what I want to change in the New Year.  Now, don’t cringe – I don’t make personal resolutions anymore. I gave them up when I turned 30 and also gave up wearing pantyhose.  Why make a resolution and then kick myself later when I fail because I wasn’t really committed in the first place?  I know mw -when I’m really tired of having “fat pants”, I’ll lose the weight.  ‘Nuff said.

I’m a cynic at heart and it’s a commonly accepted fact that I will always think of a way for things to go wrong.  This suits my day job just fine. I’m an attorney for the Department of the Navy and I spend most of my time creating back-up plans, alternative options, and new strategies for when things go wrong in the multi-billion dollar contracts I negotiate.  It’s my job to think of the pitfalls and then think of clever ways to avoid them and keep our uniformed heroes out of danger. When I resolve at work to do something – it happens.

I love my job – but it isn’t what feeds my soul. That’s my writing.

So, if I want to be a published author someday (which I do) I also need to approach my writing job with the same tenacity that apply to solving the Navy’s issues.  Treat it like a job and make it a priority.  And, I haven’t been consistent in that approach.  Which is crazy – because this writing gig is awesome! So, for the first time since 2000, I’m going to make a few resolutions:

  1. Write everyday.  Even if it’s just 100 words, I will put new words down on paper.  I’ve even joined a writing loop that will help me remain accountable.
  2. Plan my workshops and other educational pursuits. I love a good workshop but I need to be more selective and pick out ones that target my needs.  Every workshop takes time to do properly and that cuts into my writing time.
  3. Read.  I came to this as a lover of books and I need to continue reading in order that to satisfy that need.
  4. Regulate my internet time.  I call the internet “legalized crack” and that’s exactly what it is. Social networking is necessary and fun, but I get sucked in and suddenly I’ve lost hours.
  5. Give back.  I’m still an unpublished newbie at this whole publishing thing but I have received countless help, advice and support from my WRW, RWA, and GIAM friends.  So, I have selectively picked two activities to support – RWA’s PRO-Ed committee and the GIAM.
  6. 2011 will be my year.  You heard me say it. Now, I resolve to make it happen.

What are your resolutions?  Are they personal or focused on writing? Did you also give them up along with wearing pantyhose?

As a Christmas gift from me to you, I will pick a comment randomly and send you a 2011 Demotivator calendar from Despair, Inc.

From my heart I wish you a happy holiday season with those you love. See you in 2011!

30 Comments »

  • Emma Leigh Reed said:

    Great blog. I don’t always make resolutions, but this year is a good year to get back to it — along with my writing.

    My goals — write every day, continue blogging regularly, see my first book in print (already offered a contract).

    Happy holidays!

  • Amber Stults said:

    Normally I don’t make resolutions. But I’m thinking this year I might. If you’re in a rut like I am, then it’s time to do something different!

  • Greta said:

    I LOVE Despair, Inc.!

    For the new year, I want to come up with a writing schedule that works to reach my goals and keep up with my other obligations.

  • Kimberle said:

    What Robin said: 2011 will be my year. And I’ll be cheering you on @ GIAM, Robin!

  • Mona Risk said:

    Robin, I like your non-resolutions a lot. Write every day if only 500 words. I did that last year and will continue. Mingle with writers a couple hours a day, and read to improve your writing, to have fun and to help your author-friends.

  • Robin Covington (author) said:

    Emma: Congrats on the contract and good luck with your other resolutions! Thanks for stopping by!

    Amber: Yep – sometimes you need to jumpstart your energy a bit. All the best!

    Greta: Isn’t Depair, Inc. great? I got my husband one of their TSA t-shirts for Christmas. I think a schedule is a great idea – maybe I’ll do that as well.

    Kimberle: Right back at ya! See at GIAM!

    Mona: non-resolutions . . . I like that! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Carol Ericson said:

    I love making resolutions! Every new year feels like a new start, a clean slate, an opportunity to correct all my bad habits. I will be making resolutions this year, as usual, and many of those resolutions will involve writing. I don’t worry too much or get down on myself when I fail to meet my resolutions because there’s always next year!

  • Cheryl said:

    Robin, my husband works at Despair, Inc., and came up with the meteorite saying.

    Right, accountability is crucial. Stephen King writes between 1,000 and 2,000 words every day, and Nora Roberts has gone through three dozen secretaries who still can’t type as fast as she dictates. They even drank a tanker-equivalent of espresso and Red Bull and still couldn’t keep up with Nora. When I read of these literary juggernauts, I think, “Sheesh, if I can write a dozen words in an e-mail, it’s an accomplishment.” But even if it’s just that — a dozen words, a hundred, anything, keeping track of word count and editing time is essential.

    Oh, I couldn’t agree more that social networking, while fun, is a huge time-drain. I struggle with ADD and goals are extremely hard for me, as is – just keeping my posterior region affixed to my ergonomic chair and actually writing. I do think attention spans are at risk with heavy-duty computer and gadget use. Initial research is proving that, (excellent book called “The Shallows” addresses it), but I think so many of us are convinced we are multi-tasking machines. The acting of reading a stationary book, as opposed to scrolling down a page and cruising the Internet, does much to strengthen the ability to focus, and shoot, we need to concentrate in order to dream, think, invent, engineer. Einstein couldn’t devise his theories answering e-mails, instant messaging and posting on Facebook. If I’m jacked-up on gadgetry, (channeling Vince Vaughn here), I can’t coherently write.

    Good literature makes me a better writer. Raises the bar.

    Nice post, Robin! You’re definitely on your way to a successful 2011 with all your splendid 2010 triumphs.

  • Rebecca Zanetti said:

    Great blog post – and your resolutions are excellent. I wish you all the best in 2011! :)

  • Jane L said:

    I am pretty good at making resolutions and sticking to them. I think it comes from making small daily goals and then a monthly one and of course working my way up. This year my focus is WRITING everyday and visiting new blogs, like yours! Thanks for the invite from the SAVVY Yahoo group!

  • Robin Covington (author) said:

    Carol: Great attitude! I have a friend who makes quarterly resolutions and then reviews them and adjusts her goals accordingly,

    Cheryl: That is awesome! I have lots of their t-shirts as well. tell him that I love his stuff!

    Love your insight about all of our distractions these days. I am frequently trying to do 3 things at one time and none of them very well. My frequent internal mantra is “slow down.” Thanks for stopping by!

  • Robin Covington (author) said:

    Rebecca: Thanks for stopping by and saying hi! I wish you a great 2011 as well!

    Jane: I think that with Savvy as one of my supports, I’ll have that accountability that I need. And I like your suggestion of small daily goals. Happy New Year!

  • Laurie Ryan said:

    Okay, I had to beat feet over to Despair.com to check it out. I’ve never seen that site before. I’m back now, and your blog is very timely for me. I feel like I’ve slacked off on my writing this year and am in process of setting some goals for 2011, starting off with a friendly challenge in January similar to NaNo. So your ideas are good motivators. Thanks!

  • Robin Covington (author) said:

    Laurie – Did you buy anything? Glad my blog post helped! Happy New Year.

  • Gin said:

    This year, I’m going to write no less than 2 books, and 3 novellas or shorts!

    I’m going to stop waiting around for things to happen and make them happen.

    I’m going to keep up with my small press publications while my agent submits my work for print.

    And I’m going to travel and do things I’ve never done to keep my mind open to the constant flow of ideas.

    Great post, Robin. Thanks for letting us in your head for a little while.

    All my best,
    Gin

  • Robin Covington (author) said:

    Gin: Wow – those are precise, doable, trackable goals. Sounds like a plan!

  • Silver James said:

    Robin, what a timely post! And man, do I hear you on the pantyhose! I gave up high heels, too! And such excellent goals. I’m jealous – lol. I don’t do resolutions as I know they’ll be broken by about noon on January 1st.

    As for my writing, I’m shifting into new head space there since I just signed with a wonderful agent. While she works her “magic”, I’m going to concentrate on my real life for a bit. I have a daughter getting married in January, a house I’ve neglected for a very long time, and a husband who needs some attention. I’m going to be a person for a month or so. Then I’m going to pull out some “pet projects” I pushed to the back burner and I’m going to work on them until such time as my agent makes a sale, at which time I’ll shift gears (as she is pitching a series 😀 ). I am a creature of habit, though, so I start my day with email, blogs, a bit of twitter, and then I at least look over a WIP before writing my personal blog for the following day. I don’t feel quite right unless I add some new words or fix some old ones. Once a writer, always a writer.

    May we all have a busy and prosperous New Year!

  • Robin Covington (author) said:

    Silver: Congratulations on being mother of the bride! It sounds like you derve your break. Best of luck on the series! Happy New Year.

  • Joan Leacott said:

    Nice blog, Robin. You opening quote eminded me of when my son was around eight or ten and he made up the following rhyme: “Welcome to Sleepy Town, population you, where all you dreams and fantasies may or may not come true. Results may vary from person to person.” Talk about falling down laughing!

    Quarterly goals–good idea. Thank your friend for me.

    I’ll have to come up with some goals to post on GIAM5.

  • Lavada Dee said:

    Wow, great response to this blog. A lot of us must be in the same boat. I do annual goals and then forget to drag them out to look and see how I’m doing. Got to stop that. I also have accountability partners and we post weekly goals back and forth. Don’t know where I’d be without them.

    Okay, off to look at Despair.com

  • Robin Covington (author) said:

    Joan: That is hilarious! See you at GIAMx5. Thanks for commenting!

    Lavada: I can’t claim my post as the reason for the traffic – I have awesome friends at GIAM and SavvyAuthors who are all stopping by. Check out the TSA t-shirts at Despair.com. Funny!

  • Jill James said:

    I still haven’t given up pantyhose, can’t with year-round Winter White legs. LOL I don’t do resolutions as much as planning and organizing what I want to accomplish each year. My plan for 2010 was to put myself out there more; send queries, more social networking, etc. Getting published was an awesome side affect of that goal.

  • Robin Covington (author) said:

    Jill: I’m blessed with dark skin – so going without pantyhose is easier for me. I’m hoping that this planning will also lead to my getting “the call”this year! Take care!

  • Cheri LaClaire said:

    This year: read more, and focus on genres which are actually seeking new talent!

  • Robin Covington (author) said:

    Cheri: Best of luck with your goals! Thank you for stopping by!

  • Debra S said:

    Great post. I haven’t been making resolutions the past few years and I can now see that may not have been a good idea. One of my resolutions will be to complete the revision I started on my RS months ago. I want to find a way to meet with other writers on a regular basis. I want to set a writing schedule so that I’m producing new work even if it’s just a hundred words a day. I want to submit a short story I wrote a couple of years ago (and shoved into a file drawer) to an anthology that publishes local authors. I think it’s time for me to stop being anti-resolutions and embrace the concept. After all, what do I have to lose?

    Debra S.

  • Robin Covington (author) said:

    Debra: Those are fantastic goals! You don’t have anything to lose and tons to gain. Go for it!

  • Morgan said:

    Hi Robin,
    Great blog, I applaud you giving up pantyhose. I try whenever possible. My new goal is to move to a warmer state. It’s always been my retirement goal, but why wait twenty years. Besides I might not live that long.:) It also works into my plan not to wear pantyhose.
    Morgan

  • Cheri LaClaire said:

    And I have to mention, the What Not to Wear folks say that pantyhose date you. Girls born after 1990 never wear pantyhose unless it’s deliberate–dark opaque or patterned. You’re not just liberated–you’re modern!!

  • Robin Covington (author) said:

    Morgan and Cherie: I’m lucky. I have dark skin so that I can get away with it even in my conservative lawyer environment. It is bliss . . . but I do wear colored or opaque tights with the right outfit.

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