New Year Resolutions

Happy New Year everybody! It does not seem that long ago since I was writing one of these posts but already a year has gone by and it’s time to talk about resolutions  again. I’m not going to try anything as madly ambitious as trying to post every day this year, but I do have some things planned.

1 Reduce Internet Use

I’ve been reading Cal Newport’s excellent book Deep Work, and I have decided to implement some of its strategies. I’m disconnecting myself from the internet as much as possible and using old fashioned analog tools where I can. The idea is to stop me from being distracted by the constant lure of the internet and get some work done.

I’ve stopped checking my email through the day. Instead, I’m reserving a block of time for this and other internet stuff after my day’s work has been done. This will mean it takes a little bit longer to get an email response from me. It also means I have long uninterrupted blocks of time to get some work done.

It seems to be working. So far this week, I have been averaging around 3000-4000 words per day. And this despite having a doctor’s appointment, illness in the family and all manner of post-New Year distractions. I have even been editing the previous couple of days work as I go along. We’ll have to see whether I can keep this up, but so far I am hopeful.

2 Release New Books

I plan to release a new indie book every couple of months this year. This is not quite so ambitious as it sounds. I already have the first drafts of Extinction Event and a couple of Kormak novels written along with a new fantasy novel. They just need editing and covers and all the other little things that go into making books publishable. I believe that in combination with my new internet-reduced work habits I have a decent chance of keeping to this schedule.

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3 Walk Ten Thousand Steps A Day

I want to get back into my old habit of walking at least ten thousand steps every day. This is the worst time of year for trying this in Prague since it has just gotten snowy and the ground can be slippery. A chill wind blows as I walk along the river, but so far I am managing.

4 Stop Planning To Be More Productive and Actually Be Productive

Like a lot of people, I have a terrible habit of searching the net and devouring articles about how to be more productive. I read all of them I can find, and I occasionally implement the ideas in them. For the most part, my brain seems to think that reading the articles is enough. This year I am picking a few simple strategies and implementing them. Resolution 1 is helping me avoid the productivity porn and get stuff done.

As a corollary of this, I am planning on giving up reading books about writing. I have bought and read hundreds of them over the past decade, mostly as a way of avoiding actual writing. Since ninety per cent of these books teach variants on the Three Act Structure, I won’t be missing much. I also hope that after thirty years in the business of actual writing, I know enough to be getting on with.

Mostly what these resolutions are about is focussing on doing a few things well, rather than a lot of things badly. They are about making the best use of my time and energy and getting as much done as I can in the time available.

How about you? What are your resolutions for the New Year?


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