Welcome (belatedly) to 2019!

Holy smokes. Has it really been six months since I last posted? Wow. I knew it had been a while, but I did not think it had been that long. Well, I’m back, so let’s get back to business.

So it’s a new year. Time for new projects, new resolutions, new ideas. So what are my guiding ideas for 2019?

Well, last December, I read The Excellence Dividend by Tom Peters. One chapter stood out to me. Chapter nine in fact: “Whoever tries the most stuff wins.” Peters writes in a sort of shorthand, combining quotes with anecdotes, studies, commentary. And Chapter nine (abbreviated WTTMSW) had a ton of great quotes.

The Quotes

“On s’engage et puis on voit! (One jumps into the fray, then figures out what to do next!)” Napoleon

In his essay “Creation Myth,” Malcolm Gladwell quotes psychologist Dean Simonton: “Quality is a probabilistic function of creativity.”

Bloomberg Businessweek‘s #1 strategy for success was “experiment fearlessly.”

“Relentless trial and error” was cited by The Wall Street Journal as the most effective approach to adjusting company portfolios in the face of changing and uncertain global economic conditions.

“Fail faster, succeed sooner.” David Kelley

“Fail. Forward. Fast.” One of Peters’s seminar participants.

“No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett (and the inspiration for the motto at the header of this blog)

The Plan

So what does this mean? I want my 2019 to be the year of experimentation. The year of trying new things with my writing. Yes, I want to ultimately end up writing novels, but I have noticed that my characters are weak and my voice is undefined. Therefore, to fix that, I want to focus on writing shorter pieces. At least one a month.

That seems like a more than generous pace to produce something new and different. It also gives me time to do a bit of self-examination, studying what I like and why. Let’s start with imitation and add a bit of experimentation, and let’s see where we end up.

I will also cut back on my reading. Not only to make more time for writing, but also to slow down my reading so I can study what I’m reading. This is something I continually struggle with: I read like a fan, not like a writer. I need to read more actively, examining the mechanics behind the story.

Also, I’ve backed a few short story magazines so I can read more short stories instead of novels. If I’m going to write short stories, I need to get back into this style.

More importantly, not only will 2019 be the year of experimenting with my writing, it’s also the year I get back into submitting. I’ve been holding onto too much stuff. I need to send it out in the world. Last time I was a submitting machine, I managed to get an honorable mention and some personalized feedback in my rejections. I’m close. Time to cross that finish line.

Let’s do this.

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