That's my 2016 hashtag: #NewYearNewBooks. Because, yes, there will be new books. Quite a few, I'm hoping. And also because, possibly for the first time ever, I'm taking that whole resolution thing seriously.
I don't make resolutions as a rule, but last year was so busy, and I felt drained by the time we got to Christmas. So this year I'm determined to take better care of me. And I'm looking at my career in a way that is already bringing me some much-needed mental peace.
1. Workout routine: Y'all, I used to be fit. Really fit. I've always been small, but at one point, I was cleaning 20 stalls, walking six miles, toting 50 pound bags of feed, and riding multiple horses all in one day's work. When I came home, I hopped on the treadmill and ran three miles. Throw in a little stretching, pilates, walking with the dog. The last few years I've done a lot of writing, which has meant a lot of sitting, which has been a total back-killer. I've spent all of 2015 in almost-constant pain, and I'm just sick of it. I'm not just small these days, but downright frail, and that has to stop. So I'll either manage to regain some strength, or totally injure myself. We'll see.
2. More sleep: I go to bed late, get up early, and stress myself out. I NEED MORE SLEEP.
3. Sharpen my focus: It's so easy to go check your email...and end up on Pinterest, lost in the rabbit hole of Facebook. And suddenly you've wasted precious working minutes for no good reason. It happens to all of us, but it's ridiculous. For me, social media is a mood-killer and a creativity-sapper, and it makes me feel, well, bad inside. So one of my goals is to keep off the social media sites of all varieties, unless I'm specifically there to share something about my books. I'm an introvert, and I write best without outside voices in my head. And really, that's what my readers want - more books. So that's going to be my focus; please no one take it personally that I'm a little quieter for a while. I will ALWAYS respond to messages, emails, comments, etc, because I love hearing from you guys, so if you want to reach me, be sure to use one of my sites so I'll see your comments. Otherwise, the rest of the web isn't my problem from here on out.
4. F*ck That Noise: This ties in loosely with number 3. For me, being an author is 100% about love of the craft, attention to quality, and my total absorption with writing the best books I can possibly write, improving along the way. For others, this isn't always the case, and this year, I was reminded of something I've known since my childhood pony club days: If you're a little bit different, people are going to hate on you. And hate on you hard. I could handle this two ways. I could try to fit in. Or I could say "f*ck that noise" and tune everything else out. In 2016, I have zero reasons to hold back one scrap of passion or obsession. This is my journey, and no one else's, and my top priorities are my characters, and their stories. Boots on, no regrets.
5. Have a little fun. Just a little...but I need some.
On the top of my new calendar, I wrote: 2016. Go get 'em. So...let's do that.