On New Year’s Day 2008, I jotted down some writing resolutions. One of them I met in spades: “I will blog, on average, once a week.” That’s at least 52 entries. By my count, I wrote about 250 entries. Yeah, I met that resolution.
My blog was the biggest change for my writing career in 2008. As the year progressed, it evolved into a review site, a place where I could share my self-education into crime and mystery fiction. Along the way, I discussed music, history, films, and a few other things that shot into my head. But, by and large, I kept the focus of this blog on books, authors, and the writing process. I don’t envision that I’ll change the focus of this blog in the future...but, then again, I didn’t think my blog would have exploded the way it did.
I met a second resolution: submitting a book review to my local Ft. Bend Writer’s Guild conference. Ironic, isn’t it, that on 1 January 2008, I wanted to write only one book review. I’ve written dozens (?). I’ll count later. And I won for that review. It was my review of The Dawn Patrol by Don Winslow.
The biggest deficit in the resolutions column is my second novel. I wanted to finish it. It had other plans. It’s not that I didn’t have the ideas or the story arc. I found it. But it took me too long to find that middle section. When I did, I failed to carve out the time and get that first draft written. And I bet too many chips on the manuscript being well received at the October writing conference. The judges didn’t like all that I had done and it knocked me off-track. But that reeks of an excuse. Can’t really blame anything other than my focus on reading crime fiction, reviewing it, and then repeating. The bad news is that I still don’t have a first draft of Book #2. The good news is that all I have learned in 2008 will go to make Book #2 that much better.
The second deficit I discovered only this month, when David Cranmer launched his new pulp e-zine, Beat to a Pulp: I don’t have any short stories in the drawer. I do have some; they just suck. With all the reading I did this past year, I cringe at reading my older work. I guess we all do. Shows we’re progressing as writers. But I realized that my lack of short stories just waiting to be submitted to Beat to a Pulp or any other venue meant that I wasn’t taking that part of a writing career seriously. I was too focused on writing my second novel. I need to do that which I read about everywhere: always have something out there.
That stops in 2009 (more in my 2009 Resolutions blog entry).
In summary, I didn’t meet all my 2008 writing goals. Fact. But I read a lot, wrote a lot, and learned a lot, much more more than I ever expected. Patti Abbott asked a question on her blog that I like: what's to like about 2008. You can read my extended answer over at her blog but what I’ll say here is this: I’ll miss reading classic authors for the first time. More often than not, when I posted a review of a classic book or author, the folks in the comments section would write that they envied me my “new” discovery, a discovery they made years or decades ago. Now, the number of New-to-Me authors has dwindled. But there are so much more.
For all that I read and learned, I’ll be a better writer and reviewer.
But more than anything, I developed regular readers to this blog. I developed friendships with a number of fellow bloggers around the country and across the oceans. You all know who y’all are. I love all the back-and-forths we do on each others blogs, seeing what y’all are reading or listening to or watching. The Friday Forgotten Books Project just makes my Friday. Ditto for Bruce Grossman’s Bullets, Broads, Blackmail, and Bombs column every Wednesday over at Bookgasm.com. I love the old movie trailers Bill Crider unearths. I discovered The Louis L’amour Project just as I started to read westerns. The good folks at The Rap Sheet continue to be my go-to source for all things relating to literary crime fiction. (And I’m still new enough on the scene to be jazzed when Jeff Pierce picks up one of my reviews and links to my site. Thanks!) On a non-crime fiction note, SF Signal is still my go-to source for all things SF/F/H. And, now, Beat to a Pulp has set a high standard of excellent stories.
So, a BIG Texas-sized Thank You to all my regular readers and blog friends. Y’all help make my day better. May the new year bring us all continued blessings and flat-out fun as we read, learn, live, and enjoy each other’s online company.