2014 Jan’s New Year’s Resolutions: A Review

2016 is upon us.  For the coming year, I have made the resolution to get back into running.  A 5k my work is hosting is motivation for me to get in shape for it.  This time last year, in the waning moments of 2014, I made two related resolutions.  One was that I was going to read more and the other one was writing more.   Let’s see how I did.

Reading

I set a goal to read a dozen books this year.  I’m a slow reader but I am also an easily distracted one.  I figured I would read when I wasn’t on my phone or watching Netflix.  I started off the year with Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice.  I read one of his books (Crying of Lot 49) and was baffled that someone could make a movie based on the dude’s books.  I then learned of Pynchon-lite novels and soon after picked up his most recent book, Bleeding Edge.   I hit March assuming I would slightly surpass my goal.  I was expected to read about 15 books by this time, but then something clicked.  I devoured Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets.  After that, I read Stephen King’s memoir On Writing in two days.  I went on my phone less at night and hardly watched Netflix.  I am currently reading A Scanner Darkly, my 35th book of the year; a light read after spending a month reading DFW’s Infinite Jest, a book I can’t recommend enough without being annoying.  For Christmas I received a dozen books and plan on tearing through them by Valentine’s Day.  This is my first true year of active reading, and I’m happy I have something to say when someone asks me “Oh you’re an English major?  What are you reading?”  besides “You know, I can’t even remember.”

Writing

When I made my resolution, I wanted to do two things with it: I wanted to write more poetry and I wanted to start a blog.  I’ve written maybe three or four completed poems this year.  I have hundreds of first lines that were either trashed or saved for another day.  It took me until February to finally start my blog and, while I don’t have a set theme, I almost always have something in my life going on or something I find funny to write about.  I’ve posted nearly every Tuesday since, save for a couple weeks where I had no material/had other things going on.  This blog has a dedicated following of Facebook friends and intrepid WordPressers daring enough to hit that follow button.  I want to thank all of you for reading and can’t wait to see what the blogosphere holds for 2016.

Even though my poetry resolution fell through, I have put my spare creative writing time to good use.  I started writing a book in March.  I got about 22 to 25000 words in and thought the draft was terrible and not going anywhere.  I restarted in the summer, hot of constant reading and knowing more than I did in March, and I am now about 35000 words into a draft that I believe is significantly better and more readable.  I work full time now and I was worried I would lose interest, but I find myself annoyed every day I can’t work on it.  I plan to use my spare time to churn out a finished draft so I can begin the daunting task of editing.  I hope to have a beta-readable product by summer.

 

This will be the last Tuesdays With Jan until 2016.  I hope everyone has a good New Year’s and an excellent New Year.  I also implore all of you to hit anybody who earnestly says “See you next year!!”

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