I had a retirement photo opportunity with then-CIA Director John Brennan. He greeted me with a CIA...
You may also like
Before retiring, I took a seminar about transitioning to the private sector. All the students were...
Welcome to the website edition of the Mystery Ahead newsletter, with fresh #booknews, thrilling...
Mystery and thriller author. Retired Central Intelligence Agency intel officer. Dog mom to Hazel and Dutch. Recovering Italian handbag addict.
At our family New Year’s Eve dinner, I asked if anyone had made any resolutions. My husband had some fitness goals, while our college kids talked about GPAs, Zumba classes, getting more sleep, and internships.
Later, I realized that no one had asked me if I had made any resolutions. I pouted for a minute, until Kathy Griffin striped Anderson Cooper’s head with hair dye, leaving him look like a startled British rocker, and I forgot about the whole dinner/resolution/hey-you-forgot-mom business.
The truth is, like last year, I’m not doing resolutions in 2015.
Yes, Virginia, it’s okay not to resolve
As we all know, resolutions evaporate fairly quickly unless they stick around long enough to become a habit. (I believe gym memberships are based on this business model.)
So instead, I pick a theme for the year.
I can post the word above my desk and be reminded all year of my intention. I can give myself little checks as the weeks fly by, asking if what I’m doing is in keeping with the spirit of the theme.
This year’s theme is: MAXIMIZE
Related post: 2014–Does your year need a theme?
I’m going to maximize my year in three ways:
- Maximize my time
I waste a lot of time on social media. Sad, but true. I’m going to use automation tools for marketing purposes and be more intentional with the personal time I spend on the 3 Deadly Sins: Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.
I will also go back to working from an outline. I tried NaNoWriMo this year with a strong sense of the novel I wanted to write but no outline. Hey, pantsers do it all the time. The result? I wasted a ton of time slack-jawed in front of the screen, trying to figure out the right sequence of events for an extremely complicated mystery plot.
I will also spend more time writing longhand. I wrote almost all of THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY in notebooks, typing up a few pages at a time. Pen and paper help marshal my thoughts and I find I have less editing work later.
- Maximize my creativity
Being an author these days isn’t just about having fiction for sale on Amazon. It is about creating a connection with readers and reaching them wherever they are. To that end, I’m going to do some fun and creative things on new platforms, like Slideshare and maybe even YouTube, with the goal of maintaining the connection via the Mystery Monthly emails.
I’ll also offer a few different reader gifts besides a free copy of THE BEAST. I’ve got some surprising ideas from the work I’ve been doing for bookmarketingtools.com and a lecture I gave about crafting a mystery series. Stay tuned.
- Maximize my reach
I have had the good luck to be offered guest post opportunities and interviews on writer blogs and would like to do more. It’s great to extend my reach and I’ve also met some terrific folks. The next step is to look at syndication opportunities for this blog.
Your theme for 2015
It’s all about attitude. In my mind’s eye, I’m drawing in deep breaths, the way an athlete does before a race to maximize lung power.
How about you? What is going to be your theme this year?