Some folks make New Year’s Day resolutions. I start earlier, in the week after the holidays but before the New Year begins.
I like sitting down in a quiet space with a nice cup of coffee or a sweet milky mug of Earl Gray or Constant Comment tea and having a good think. The trick is to absolutely refuse to dwell on anything negative even to the point of silencing the steadfast inner critic’s voice in my head.
I purposefully dwell on writerly achievements since being a writer is my life’s mission statement.
I distinctly recall my first newbie foray in my writer’s life almost twenty years ago when I drove across the Hulton Bridge in Oakmont, PA, to the Mystery Lovers Bookshop. Mary Alice Gorman and Richard Goldman, the owners, must have thought that they hooked a live one when I stepped into their store, clutching 300 loose manuscript pages in my hands, and asking, “I wrote a book. What do I do next?” Thankfully, they pointed me to the Mary Roberts Rinehart chapter of Sisters in Crime, Inc. The rest, as they say, is history.
Good times. Good times.
Fast forward to 2023. What have I learned?
I’ve learned you can take your creative writing with you, wherever you go. I’ve written in airports, lakefront cottages, public libraries, the front seat of my car, and while staring at a blank brick warehouse wall.
Once you develop your daily writing habit, where you write doesn’t matter. Getting your daily 1,000 words on the page does. Even when you’re stuck, think of this. Writing one page a day gets you a 365-page book in one year. You can find the time to write one page a day, right?
Honor your creative space and the time it takes you to get there. There is some training involved in this. Not only did I need to train myself, I needed to train everyone else in my world to understand that when I’m writing, I’m working. Creative world-building isn’t something I can pick up and put down. To get to the really good stuff, I need to intently focus on the story I’m telling. Yes, it is work, but it’s the best kind of work that there is.
So, let’s look at my writerly 2023 projects. Last year, at Malice Domestic 32-33-34, Rosalie Spielman and I wrangled 14 other Writers Who Kill authors into adding their individual and additional chapters (and awesome creative talents) to “Broken Hearted Killers,” a serial novella that will start being published on this blog beginning on February 1, 2023. Yes, it took a lot of organizational work to reach the finish line. Was it worth it? I invite you to read “Broken Hearted Killers” and judge for yourself.
Next up, I wrote a short story under deadline and from scratch for “Paradise is Deadly,” the 2023 (and initial) anthology from the Florida Gulf Coast Sisters in Crime. Somehow, and additionally, I volunteered to serve as one of the anthology’s co-editors. Joking aside, I am deeply honored by this trust.
Here’s an aside: Those of you who know me know that stepping off into deep and unknown holes is my superpower, but I’ve learned to trust the universe and to try new things. Plus, I have an amazing group of writer friends who will toss me a rope if and when I need one. Besides, the great unknown is where all the fun is.
The 2023 trifecta project is my self-imposed October 2023 self-publishing date for Crescent City NOLA Mystery #2, my mystery series relating the adventures of disgraced ex-detective Jane Byrne and Gigi Pascoe, my transgender sleuth. I can’t reveal the title yet until my editing is done. It’s one of my few superstitions, but I promise to share any news ASAP.
Looking down the road then, for 2023? Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!