Drinking From The Skulls of My Enemies: My New Year's Resolutions
I probably pitch a resolutions piece every year. I like the idea that we used twelve months (or they used us) and now we get a new 12-pack. I believe we can use a "new" year to convince ourselves we have a new opportunity, even if the world is still burning and the pandemic isn't over.
It's sad that the gym gets packed the first two weeks of January and then most of those people vanish. We call them resolutioners. The ones that stay lose the name and earn respect because they keep working and eventually achieve their goals. Yeah, it's that simple. Now, if you want to start giving me bullshit about time being a construct and telling me nothing is going to change just because 2020 becomes 2021, fuck off and go watch a movie or something because I don't need your negativity. You see, time is indeed a construct, much like race, but it's easier to operate when we use it and, just like race, it seems to be inevitable in many instances. That's why we have things like deadlines, anniversaries, etcetera.
In any case, a resolution isn't just a silly wish; it's something you want to achieve and are planning on putting the work into. Most people keep their resolutions to themselves, which is fine, but I like putting mine out into the world because that's enough to make me dig deeper when I'm not feeling great and start thinking about dropping one. That's why I'm sharing some of them with you now. Feel free to drop me a line and keep me true to my word. Here we go.
- I will sell the new novel
I'm serious. It's done. I'm almost finished with the second round of edits. In 2021, I will sell it. I want a press that will give me great distribution. It's taking me long enough to get it done, but if any good will come out of me losing my main source of income in 2020, it's that I finished the book. Now it's time to share it with readers.
- I will write the next novel
I'm the slowest writer in the world. It usually takes me two years or more to get a book done. No more. I will get a novel done this year. I have more time now, so I will use it wisely. Sure, life pushed me down, but it also gave me a little gift, and I will turn that gift into another book.
- I will develop more workshops and lower the prices on every workshop I offer
In terms of workshops, 2020 was amazing. Besides doing my own thing, and meeting and talking to a bunch of great writers in the process, I offered workshops though the Texas Writers' League, Hub City Press, Stories on Stage Sacramento, Lighthouse Writers Workshops, the Las Vegas Writers Lounge, and other places. I want to develop more workshops and make them all $20 when I offer them myself. That way they will be even more affordable than they are now, which means they will help more writers.
- I will drink from the skulls of my enemies
This is not exactly what it sounds like, but saying it like this makes it sound awesome. Anyway, I've spent the last couple of years trying to reframe my way of thinking and trying to be a positive agent of change. It's okay to scream about diversity in fiction, but it's better to scream while also offering a workshop titled Otherness in Fiction: Getting it Right, writing about it every chance you get, giving talks and keynotes about it, and mentoring in programs that serve underrepresented voices. The big surprise in all that? Folks who used to be my friends suddenly vanished or stopped supporting the things I do. I've received messages showing me conversations about me behind my back. I've randomly listened to podcasts when suddenly my name pops us and folks I've supported, drank with, and reviewed starting talking shit about me. I see them. I don't care. You know how I will drink from their skulls? By ignoring them and hustling.
- I will get 25k followers on Twitter
One of the workshops I teach is Book Marketing With No Budget. I talk a lot about Twitter and other social media platforms during the second session. Why? Because the size of your platform more or less determines your reach, and your reach is often crucial in terms of accomplishing the things you want. I've met great writers, learned of new books, found opportunities, and made amazing friends on Twitter. If I get to 25k followers, many more eyes will fall on all the books we share during #FridayReads, more readers will check out my book reviews and discover new writers, and I'll be able to make much more noise about the things I care about, including my own work and fighting bigotry and stupidity.
- I will read and review outside of my comfort zone
I read and reviewed some YA horror and some nonfiction books that were outside of my regular interests. I will do more of that next year. No, that doesn't mean I will start reading and reviewing romance, so please don't start mailing me romance novels.
- I will do more to pay it forward
This year I wrote a few introductions and many blurbs. I will do more of that. In this gig, we should look up to those who've achieved what we want to achieve while also helping others take whichever steps we've already taken. We can never do too much of that.
Now tell me what you plan on making happen in 2021!
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