Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

Thoughts on the New Year

I first started making New Year's resolutions/goals in 2004, and have made them every year since apart from 2007 & 2008. I've been pretty good about keeping to them, contrary to common perception of resolutions. At the end of 2013, I wanted to focus on finishing A Rational Arrangement, and so avoided thinking "what next?" So here it is, January 4, and I don't know what I want to do next. I've been thinking about it now, but I haven't reached any conclusions yet.


Weight/Diet/Exercise: I haven't made a resolution to get in shape or lose weight in several years, though I actually have been exercising pretty consistently since 2005.

But I have also gained about 25 pounds in the last nine years. I got 8 Minutes in the Morning last year, stuck with it for eight or ten weeks, during which I lost a total of two pounds. I lost another two pounds at some point, but I have since found them again, along with a few more pounds for company. Additionally, I haven't been exercising nearly as regularly the last few months. It's cold and dark outside when I get off work; I can't bike outside under those conditions, and I do not want to go into my dark cold miserable basement to use the exercise bike or weights. (Lut: "You know we could move it into the not-cold-dark-miserable living room that we never use, right?" Me: "..." This is totally the sensible thing to do. But the exercise bike is big and clunky and ugly and I don't really want to look at it every day as I walk through the living room. Perhaps we will do this any way.)

So. I need to eat less and exercise more.

I think I'll start this simply by tracking how much I'm exercising and eating now. Anyone know a good Android app for tracking eating/exercise habits?

Factory Reset my Smartphone: My Samsung Galaxy S has had a bug that causes the application I'm using to crash if I try to paste data. I have dealt with this for the last year plus by never using copy/paste on my phone. This is SUPER ANNOYING. It's not quite as annoying as a four-row keyboard, but it has led to my lowered use of LiveJournal. I don't want to start long posts (or comments) in a browser window because they might be lost from a glitch (glitches in posting comments/entries are common), and if I start them in Evernote or Google Docs I have to wait until I get home to post them anyway. I suspect quite often I decide "I might as well just write it when I get home" and then don't write it at all.

So I had Lut re-enable the wireless a few days ago, and just after I finished typing the first sentence of this section, I factory-reset my phone. Copy/paste works on it now! \o/ Google remembers at least some of what I had on the phone and is busy re-downloading it all. Over the next few days I get to see what it missed that I still want. I am pretty sure it'll be worth it to have copy/paste back, though.

The Business of Writing

I have been consciously ignoring the business side of writing for the last few years (as opposed to the years before that, when I thought I wanted to do writing as a business but actually didn't). I like writing as a hobby. I dunno that I want to try to make money at it. Writing is some times fun and reading what I've written is fun and satisfying. But nothing about attempting to make money off of what I have written sounds remotely fun.

Still. At least some of the steps involved in making money are not more work than the writing itself, so I ought to at least ... think about it again.

Edit/revise A Rational Arrangement into final form: I am not going to try to cut it down for the sake of making it shorter, but there are a bunch of alterations I'd like to do. This will not be particularly fun, but is probably worth doing for it's own sake because I will like the book better afterwards. I haven't started editing it yet, but I have been making notes about the kinds of changes I want to make.

Make a public serial of RA: The simple version of this is "serialize it on my LJ" (which I have been doing, for my beta readers, already). The simple version of this is probably also worth doing for its own sake, because people may comment on my writing if I serialize it and I always enjoy comments. And the simple version is not a lot of work.

Get my own website on which to serialize RA:The complex version of serializing it involves using some fancy system that will store it on my own website, echo it to LJ, and tweet links. The complex version seems to be "what all the cool kids do". But I do not care one bit about having my own website for its own sake. It's purely something I would do because professional writers are supposed to do it. I don't know if that's a good enough reason to do it. Setting up and maintaining a website is a pain in the butt for everyone I know who does it. This requires coding skills I don't have and which I could probably acquire, but do not really want to. Alternatively, I could hire someone to do it for a small fortune.

Self-publish RA as an e-book: I am more motivated on this than I am on the personal website front, mostly because having an e-book for people to buy is more obviously useful to the whole "make money" thing. E-books are also a pain to create, from everything I hear, but at least (unlike websites) the pain is 90% over once you've successfully created and uploaded it everywhere you plan to market it. This requires layout, design, and art skills I don't have and could probably fake badly. Or I could hire someone to do it, for more money than I will likely make. I am guessing this would be cheaper to outsource than a website is, though.

Self-publish RA as a print book: Because all the cool kids do it. This seems more trouble and less rewarding than the e-book step.

My tentative plan is to do the editing on RA first, serialize it (and decide whether or not the website is worth it), and partway through the serial release it as an e-book for those who want to read the whole thing at once instead of waiting for the serial to finish.

It seems reasonable that I could do all of this in 2014. The serial wouldn't finish until 2015, I'm sure, but the rest could be done this year. I don't know if I want to make it a goal or not. I should probably make at least the editing part a goal.

Not on the list of possibilities: Finding an agent or publisher for A Rational Arrangement. RA is almost twice the typical maximum length for a novel submission, and it's a polyamorous romance fantasy set on a non-Earth world. This is not an actual genre. I am sure it's not the only one of its kind but I can't even think of any other non-Earth fantasy romances that I have read, never mind polyamorous ones. Oh wait, Lois McMaster Bujold's Sharing Knife books were a non-poly non-Earth fantasy romance. There, that's three. Still. I doubt I am going to find anyone interested, and I don't feel that it's worth the time and effort to look.

For those wondering why I'm not talking about doing anything with the two previous books I finished:

I'm not going to publish Prophecy because I don't like it. I don't know that it's a bad book -- other people have told me they like it -- but I don't and it's a lot of work to do anything with a manuscript. Doesn't seem worth it for one I'm meh about.

I love Silver Scales but it ends on a cliffhanger, and I finished it seven and a half years ago but still haven't made meaningful progress on the sequel. >.< Until I am confident I will finish the sequel, I'm not doing anything with it. (Among other things, I think I may want to change details in the first book to match ultimate events in the sequel, which doesn't work well with a published book).

If you would like to annoy me, please feel free to tell me why the last two paragraphs are wrong and I should change my mind.

Lut: "Well, it's hard to argue with you on Prophecy. But on Silver Scales ... you're wrong."
Me: "..."
Lut: "Notice I didn't tell you you should change your mind! It's implicit, but I didn't tell you."


Blogging: I want to do more non-fiction posts in my LJ. Hopefully they won't all be writing-about-writing as they have been so far. I'm mostly thinking of more short posts about daily life, and the quick book reviews I was doing in the early part of last year and stopped by halfway through.

Fiction: Omigosh so many ideas.
  • Paradise (series): Paradise is the name of the world "A Rational Arrangement" is set in. RA wraps up nicely and doesn't need a sequel, but many romance series nowadays use a supporting character from one book as the protagonist in the next. I've been thinking of writing one of those. Possibly with Wisteria's brother Byron. Probably not with one of the greatcats. (Sorry, beta-readers).

  • His Angel (novella): Blurb: "Lord Justin Comfrey was not a man in the habit of molesting the help. But when his host assigns an angelic youth to attend to Comfrey's every need, that resolve is sorely tested." Prequel to "A Rational Arrangement". I need to finish up one scene in the middle and decide how to end it.

  • Eve and the Fox: Blurb: "Eve has no interest in human kings or politics, and would as soon spend her time stranded in the mortal realm healing ordinary folk. But she cannot refuse a royal summons. And all he wants is to be healed: how hard can it be?" This is another romance novel, although a standard one-man-one-woman romance this time. It's the project I most want to work on right now. I wrote an outline for it last year and I keep thinking about it. I adore the characters and they don't even remind me of the protagonists in RA.

  • Bright Eyes: Blurb: "Winter Dawn bears the mark of a demon-hunter, but the worst demon she knows is the one that hunts beside her." I wrote an outline and a few chapters for this in 2009, felt ambivalent about the setting and thought one of my protagonists needed more oomph, and abandoned it. But I find the idea still calls to me.

  • The Least of All Monsters: Blurb: "The humans of Tizhoir call them angels: beautiful, alien, human-like beings with inhuman abilities. But earthly life is not kind, and Eleonor knows her brother Aristide is more demon than angel, however much he loves her. What Rafael is -- she doesn't know at all." Another one where the characters still draw me. I started on it in 2006 and never did figure out how to fit the ideas together into a coherent narrative.

  • Birthright: This is the sequel to Silver Scales. If I loved Silver Scales less, it wouldn't be on this list. I have worked on this one, and resolved to work on it, and tried to get somewhere with it, so many times now that thinking about it just makes me think FAILURE.

  • Real: Blurb: "Rosalee Dannon is a freelance journalist in 21st century America. Rosario Chantell is a space marine fighting a losing war on unfamiliar worlds against alien invaders. Princess Rose is trying to unravel a curse at work on her family's palace. But they all share the same problem: they are all insane." I worked on the outline for this in 2011 but didn't figure out a resolution for it.

  • Tarot Stories: I did a prompt-call in 2012 and never got through all the prompts. I was about halfway through one story that was going slowly when I gave up on it and got devoured by RA instead. I'd still like to finish that story, and the others I had prompts for.

That list above is the reason I am reluctant to make all that "business of writing" stuff part of my 2014 goals. Putting time into business means time I don't spend writing new stuff. And most of those are just the old ideas that still appeal-- if I let myself think about doing something entirely new, I'm sure there'd be a bunch more.

Other Creative Stuff
koogrr is working for a few weeks at a job site 90 minutes away, and so I got to see him for New Year's. One of the things we did was go to Panera and spend some time drawing. I did three little pictures in a new sketchbook. This was almost more drawing than I did in the entirety of 2013. Not quite: in 2013 I did sketches of the three RA protagonists, plus a bunch of little cartoons that I did for various letters when I did the month-of-letters in February. But I was commenting to John that for someone who is more-or-less capable of drawing, I hardly ever do. It's no wonder I don't get any better at it.

I don't know if I care about this. I wouldn't mind doing more drawing if I feel motivated, but I don't think I want to make it a resolution. Maybe I could resolve that I'll do drawing exercises when I can't motivate myself to write. Drawing exercises have the benefit of not requiring the same kind of brainpower that writing does.


Still thinking about it.

Maybe I will make some January goals and plan to revisit them in February.
Tags: nyr, nyr 2014
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