Nathan Bransford, Author

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What Are Your New Year's Resolutions?

Another year dawns, and it's time to make our personal improvement project goals! Unless of course you're resolving not to resolve. No judging here.

I personally like the whole New Year's Resolution tradition because I like to think things can keep improving in the world, and the only way that can happen is one person at a time. The truth is, we can all be better than we are currently, and I like that we begin each year with that thought in mind. Even if our diets are then promptly felled by Mr. Burrito.

Mr. Burrito, why must you be so delicious?? Your accomplices Chips & Guac are not helping matters.

My resolutions for 2011 are (in varying degrees of seriousness):

- No more random gray hairs. Seriously scalp, you have your instructions, get it in gear.
- Happier dog
- Moving it up to level 4 on the exercise bike. Watch out, people.
- Continue to resist computer games. No time. No.... ok just one more round of Civilization.
- Be a better writer and exorcise my writerly tics like the demons they are.
- Finally use one of those tire pressure thingies
- Find three good new bands. No more post-early-20's-musical-discovering-laziness.
- A more perfect harmony between work, writing, relationships, and fun. My fellow writers, is that not the dream?

What about you?


adamo said...

Don't do it! Telling people your goals has been shown to make you less likely to accomplish them.

Write them down, and in the words of Gandalf, "Keep it secret, keep it safe."

Heidi said...

To write a page a day. And yes, that bit about harmony sounds lovely too. :)

As for the musical findings, may I suggest Sondre Lerche?

A.M Hudson said...

I like to think that I don't need to wait for the new year to make the changes I desire. I'm one of those no resolution people.

I think it's great if you have them, but I don't need them.

I will, by the end of this year, at least be a better writer...but that will come ultimately from the practice.

Happy new year.

JG said...

To stop being distracted by other people's blogs

adamo said...

Nate - what bands do you like now? I work at Berklee and I'm pretty plugged in, so I might be able to help you find some new bands you'll dig.

You're on your own with the hair, though.

Andrea said...

To be nice I'll give you three bands to check out that I think are amazing (if you haven't already): Jason Webley, Jared Mees & the Grown Children, and The Petrojvic Blasting Company.

My resolutions are simple; to write more, to learn more, to be kinder (or to try to be kind in every situation) & to not eat anything fried.

Have a fantastic new year!

Ruthy said...

One of my resolutions is to write at least one letter a week. Heck, I may even mail them. That stationery I bought on clearance isn't getting any fresher. Besides, I hear the U.S.P.S. could use the work.

Tom M Franklin said...

instead of resolutions, i follow blogger Christine Kane's lead in choosing a Word for the Year that embodies what i want to work on for the year.

This year's Word for the Year for me is BELIEF.

-- Tom

nona said...

to crawl out of my own head long enough to make things happen in the real world (ie sell that screenplay). uttered while watching roger hodgson sing "dreamer."

Mattyd said...

Don't mean to seem annoyingly self promotional, but I have 21 resolutions for the year (5 more than last year), and a handful are actually writing related and all are measurable.

They are listed on my blog:

And I find that sharing them makes it more likely for me to complete them. There is actually research on both sides of this argument, so it's quite inconclusive.

I am, however, normally inclined to believe anything Gandalf says.

Matthew Dicks
Read about my writing career and life at
Become a fan on Facebook at
Follow me on Twitter at

KM Fawcett said...

Great goals Nathan! Here are mine:

1) Write five days a week.
2) Practice kata 3 times a week.
3) P90X (Day 3 completed today)

I wrote about realistic, measurable goals at Attacking The Page (a blog about martial arts and writing action) if you're interested.

Happy New Year!

Rick said...

2010 was the year I finally stopped making resolutions, and it was the first year that I actually got everything I needed (and a lot of things I wanted) to get done, done.

So in that vein, the only resolution I may from hereon out is the same every year:

Don't quit and don't die.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Nathan, I love this post.

Here's to more balance, more exercise, better writing, and new music.

And my personal goal, better discipline, and more submitting. No more writerly crazies for me. At least, I won't let them stop me from subbing my work.

C Scott Morris said...

Blog once a week.
Write one short story a week.
Finally build my trebuchet.
The first one should be easy. It's the second that will be a killer. But I have found that the best way for me to get motivated on my longer projects(book 2 has stalled halfway through and book 3 cant get past outline), is to work on other, shorter projects. So far so good, I have my short story for this week already in the can.
And as for the trebuchet, well, who doesn't want a trebuchet? What can I say, I'm a PunkinChunkin fan, and a carpenter, so I have the will, and the skills.
This year, I will chunck a punkin.

Anita Saxena said...

I plan to be positive and slow down life. 2010 was too much. Just too much.

Tracey Neithercott said...

My New Year's resolutions were going to be to write this idea that's been nagging me. But then I jumped the gun and did it. So I'm going to say: get that story so polished up I'm ready to query.

Mike Koch - Protect The Risen said...

I only made one this year; complete book two of my series.

Laura Campbell said...

My resolution this year is to get published. My article for MetroKids Magazine will be out in the February print/web issue. But I would like my fiction to gain the same notoriety. Writing down your resolutions and goals makes them more likely to become reality.

Music? My sister gave me The XX: XX for Christmas. I'm really digging them. Or check out Placebo: Without You I'm Nothing.

Anonymous said...

I should really resolve to lose about 20 pounds. Instead my New Years resolution is to learn how to juggle, not metaphorically but with balls.

A. Lockwood said...

Someone special to me recently said he lies to people a lot. My goal this year is to help him be more honest by being more honest myself.

dwkazzie said...

No resolution, Nathan, but I can help you with your Mr. Burrito problem -- I started passing on the sour cream and cheese, and you knock out more than 300 calories (and minimal effect on taste). Go super light on the rice, and you save another 100 calories or so.

File this one in most ueless bit of advice you get today.

J. T. Shea said...

Amen, Nathan! One person at a time is the only way.

Burritos and Chihuahuas are part of Montezuma’s Revenge, gringo! Except they’re not best eaten cold. I think. I’ve never actually eaten a burrito. Or a burro. I like Chihuahuas and probably COULD eat a whole one, but I haven’t yet.

Your exercise bike actually goes places? Wonders never cease. Tire pressure thingies? For the exercise bike?

C. Scott Morris, yes! EVERYONE should build at least two trebuchets. And hurl rotting diseased corpses at any neighbor who complains. THAT’S my New Year’s Resolution.

Teralyn Rose Pilgrim said...

I'm going to read twice as many books as last year (so I'm going to read 44 books). I'm not going to write every day or do dishes every day or exercise every day, because I refuse to make a resolution I have no intention of keeping. I'm going to have an attainable goal this year.

Caroline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caroline said...

I'm a big proponent of making resolutions that I can keep...also not making typos in my comments, so that's why I deleted my previous one.

My resolutions are to lose another 20 lbs (since the first 20 were relatively easy to lose), start querying my manuscript, and work on the important relationships in my life.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the computer games. I uninstalled all my games (except one) at the new year so I could get more done. They are evil and my biggest time sink to getting things accomplished!

Robena Grant said...

I use the New Year break to set my writing goals. These days I make sure they are a stretch, yet achievable. No more wishing and hoping for the unnattainable. My goals must show by years end that I have grown in some way...and not just around the middle.
My critique partner and I exchange them in the hope of keeping each other honest. That reminds me she hasn't sent hers yet. Hmmmm? said...

I blogged about my resolutions, but the basic gist is Do It All...with Calm. Easy! :)

Do you really want NOT-random gray hairs?

Happy New Year. c

M.A.Leslie said...

1. Stop talking about finishing the revisions on MS 1 and just do it.

2. Write a query letter that acts as a query letter and not as a written on napkin.

3. Try my best to stifle the blogging addiction that I am finding myself suffering from and allow for time with resolution #1.

Mark Terry said...

I have 11, and I prefer to call them goals, thanks you.1. Lose 12 pounds

2. Earn $80,000+ with my writing

3. Finish SINS OF THE FATHERS and get a contract for it.

4. Finish A PLAGUE OF STARS and start to market it


6. Make all my current e-books available on PubIt and in paper.

7. Finish CHINA FIRE and begin marketing.

8. Get at least one more book contract signed.

9. Get a ghostwriting gig.

10. Write a nonfiction book proposal.

11. Run a 5K

Cheryl said...

Suggestion in your band search:

The Avett Brothers

MJR said...

my husband uses that tire pressure thingy a lot and he's not too mechanical...


query novel #3 and see what happens...

lose 25 lbs--but I'm going to try and be creative this year with my cardio--maybe ice skate my way to slimness

try to balance writing and friends/family, ie I need to get out more

start a new project...maybe learn to play the ukelele or something...

Becky Mushko said...

Posted 'em on my blog:

Sonia said...

To write, submit and finish the novel.

Samantha G said...

Mine are:

-To be a kinder person in general
-Get that book finished and stop daydreaming about endless success i.e stop being so much of a dreamer and actually DO something about my dreams. Basically stop procastinating- is that even possible?

Nathan, surely you don't have to worry about procastinating? You seem to get a LOT done and seem to love writing/blogging/your job. What are your tips?

Stephanie@thecrackedslipper said...

Get my blog on (hence my two posts on your blog in two days-- whoo hoo!). Avoid exercise injuries. Eat fewer chocolate covered almonds. Oh, and finish books two and three in series by June. Will be a challenge without chocolate sustenance.

Mira said...

Nathan, you're so funny. I love your resolutions, especially the tire pressure thingy.

I also think you are WAY too young for grey hairs. So, you are right - put your foot down and stand firm. We have to show our hair who's the boss.

I don't have resolutions this year so much as a pitbull goal where I latch on and refuse to let go. I have two more quarters of this grad program to survive, and survive them I will. I will, I will, I will, and then it will be DONE. I shall SHALL TRIUMPH, and then I will have a little piece of paper with intials on it that I can show people.


And then my other goal is that I want to floss on a daily basis.

And after that, I'll look toward my own writing. But that's after this final lap, so I must focus for now.

Btw, it's wonderful to have you back to daily posting. I hope it's not too much work for you. And I hope everyone's resolutions are accomplished and deeply satisfying.

Kristi Helvig said...

I'm not really into resolutions, but that probably explains why I'm still on Level 1 on my exercise bike. :)

Happy 2011!

Ann Best said...

I know what I want to accomplish, so I just keep doing the best I can!

Good resolutions. Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

Actually, Mira, I was kinda partial to Nathan's less regular posting/s, mostly due to the fact that they made you so despondent - the expressions of which were FREAKING HILARIOUS. Sorry, I don't want you to be despondent, not at all, and I much prefer daily Nathan posts as well. It's just that you were so funny.

No, no, in all seriousness, I agree with you, Mira, it's nice to have the day-to-day.

D.G. Hudson said...

New Year's resolutions are something I do every year, just as if I'm in control. My writing resolutions I posted on my blog - did that last year too. The result was I improved on some of the goals, but life always get factored in, sometimes to the detriment of goals. It's a simple mantra -- write, write more and write better. I may also attend a writing conference this year in my area. It usually attracts a few agents that are well-known.

One personal goal for me would be to acquire more patience, but there is a limited time for that, since I'm not an immortal.

I plan to give the KOBO a test drive after hubby does his own assessment. It's the deluxe model, but much cheaper than multi-function readers. New year - new things to learn.

Good luck to all of us who do resolve to improve. We might just get there.

Anna said...

When you find your three new bands, will you share them with us? I need some new music too.

My goals: read and write one hour every day (each). It shouldn't be too difficult and already I'm off to a great start. Also: be a better blogger. Not sure exactly about the game plan, but I'm working on it!

Matthew Rush said...

Sounds like you've been going through some similar new music deprivation to what I have. I haven't bought a new album since 2003 or so.

Rachael W said...

Nathan, I've been reading your blog off and on for a while, and have been poring through your "writing essentials" posts over the last few days because I'm just beginning to query agents. (NB: I was sad to discover that you are no longer with CB LTD.)

My resolutions are as follows:
1. Find an agent to represent my current novel.
2. Begin work on my new novel.
3. Get into graduate school.
4. Try lots of new things while spending time with friends.

Thank you so much for your wonderfully insightful, upbeat, and informative blog!

abc said...

Does your dog need prozac? I had my cat on it for awhile.

I resolve to learn to bake bread, spend less money on things I don't need, get to 50,000 in Doodle Jump, blog more often, write more often, eat less high fructose corn syrup, figure out a better sleep schedule, take my vitamins, swim, finish my license (already!), and take a cool trip.

I second the Avette Brothers recommendation, also Allo Darlin, Deerhoof, Beach House, and my husband says I would like Freelance Whales so maybe you would too.

Mira said...

Anon 11:57.

Ah, you jest, but I am seriously addicted to this blog. It's a terrible, terrible problem, and I'm going to get right on it after I accomplish a few of my other goals, like daily flossing.

I'm thinking of starting a 12-step program for it. I was going to call it N.A. (Nathan Anonymous) but I heard those initials were taken. So, instead I'm going to call it N.B.A. (Nathan Brandford Anonmyous) I don't think anyone important is using those initials, so there you are.

You're welcome to join us. I'm going to serve cookies.

Deb said...

I don't need to lose weight, but my house does. I commit to spending 10 minutes every day purging/filing/donating.

The hard part will be getting my husband and three kids to part with their crap. But I'm alone in the house often, so maybe it won't be that hard!

Josin L. McQuein said...

To finish the books that are so close to being finished they'd be finished if I'd just finish them.

Query one, get an agent, make said agent love said one, then make said agent love the other 2.

Get paid for any one of the 3 (or all of them)


Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

Mine are here, for anyone interested. I think there would have to be four, perhaps five, of me to actually accomplish everything.

Final resolution: invent cloning machine for maximum time efficiency.

Cheryl said...

@Josin - I don't think you need to worry about any of them. I saw you're $h*t-hot query on QS, you'll have requests for fulls coming out of your patooty!

Chuck H. said...

I'm with Rick on the "don't quit and don't die" thing, though I must admit to being closer to the end than to the beginning (unless I can manage to live to be 130+). And, Mr. Bransford, I gave up on the hair a long time ago. I still have plenty but it's almost all white. So I try to live by the addage:
Rule One. Don't sweat the small stuff.
Rule Two. It's all small stuff.


Anonymous said...

Mira -

I understand your addiction. Nathan has really created a thing into itself here, it's like a virtual Cheers.

Aside from joining you in wanting to floss daily, I'd also like to kindly suggest you 86 the 12-stepper in favor of a new movement. Call us the Bransfordians.

Nathan's really gonna love this, he said sarcastically.

dan radke said...

To help with your band resolution, check out Sleigh Bells. They're kinda like Arcade Fire. If Arcade were cheerleaders and they got a hold of acid and an eight ball.

Lauren said...

Recently stumbled upon this blog when realizing that I should probably join the new millenium by spending less time at the beach to have a sustained virtual life, too. If someone named Mira loves the blog, and this is a Cheers-esque community, well then it seems like a nice place to start. Can I be Carla?

I'm thinking my resolution will be to become a NBB addict as well.

So that the other addictions don't get jealous, though, I'm heading out for a good dirty chile relleno with extra guacamole right now. Good luck everyone, and Nathan: Level 4...I don't know...I've heard it's pretty fierce.

G said...

I have two 100% non-breakable resolutions.

1) write at least 99% original content for my blog(s).

2) polish up my synopsis so that I can get off my 45 year old, slightly fat and completely bald butt, and jump in feet first into that vast ocean called "querying".

Chris Eboch said...

Over at The Spectacle (a group blog on speculative fiction -- science fiction, fantasy, paranormal etc. -- for young people), we’ve started the new year with a five-part roundtable discussion of New Year’s Resolutions as they relate to writing.

M.J.B. said...

1) Keep trying to get an agent!

2) Discover the concept of portion control to see if my abs capable of becoming more than vague outlines. This isn't so much a result of vanity as it is of curiosity! But I do like health and fitness, so that's part of it.

3) Prepare for a move to Seattle so I can create a life for myself in a place that inspires me!

Anonymous said...

Dude, what are you doing to your dog? If it was your CAT that was unhappy, I'd understand.

Good luck with your resolutions. Mine is to achieve world peace. I'll let you know how that goes.

KJ Bain said...

Regarding writing: to start a blog (I did - yeah), to enter a contest once a month and to do on-line classes (started one in January on grammar). For my group Florida Sisters in Crime: 80 members (we have 53 now), and personally: that old get in shape thing.

Debbie said...

I promised myself to finish the first draft of a tween novel by the end of 2010, which I did. My 2011 resolution is to polish the manuscript and get it out to a publisher by the end of March.

Resolutions are good for me (so are deadlines). Telling people makes me determined to meet them.


Trish said...

Nathan, last year my New Year’s Resolution was to be published by the end of the year. I made that happen myself by publishing with POD publishers just before Christmas. Yay! I’ve made a few sales too with my paperbacks and an eBook, and just in time for Christmas.

This year's resolution is to become 'A Skinny Best Selling Author.' There, I’ve said it now, so I have to make it happen. Haha. Plus I have to write the sequels to two of my published children’s books and publish them by the end of the year. LOL.

Happy New Year, Nathan, and everyone. Good luck with all your goals.


tanya said...

I ordinarily hate making New Year's resolutions, but you've inspired me, Nathan.

1. Let Lupe sit for another two weeks before I reread and take a last pass.
2. Don't let Lupe sit any longer than two weeks! Get her to my agent no later than February 1.
3. Blog at least once a week.
4. Check out favorite blogs but don't spend more than an hour a week reading other people's blogs.
5. Oh, yeah, and learn how to live more frugally.

r.w.swartz said...

I just want to finish this last biography and then never never take one on again....ever!!!....unless its really really good.

Patrick Neylan said...

My ex-girlfriend gave a pen, a lined notebook and two books: one called "Write a Novel" and one called "How NOT to Write a Novel".

Of course, if she hadn't chosen LAST new year to dump me for her witless ex-boyfriend, I wouldn't have so much self-pitying heartbreak to serve as material for the novel. Also I might not have needed to to start smoking again, necessitating this new year's other resolution.

My veins run with vinegar. Where's my pen?

Amanda P. said...

I have many.

~ Lose weight (of course - but I really need to do this - I'm not fat, but my blood pressure is starting to run on the normal/high side)

~ Cut some stuff out and focus on what I really love

~ Listen to God and his direction

Anonymous said...

To stop reading my own book reviews.

Seriously. It's not good :)

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

- stop with the political shows on TV. Rachel Maddow you are addictive.

- make sure I have sketchbook with me and drawing pencils! Never know when opportunity or inspiration will strike.

- don't follow politics so much.

- buy more mushrooms, I love mushrooms.

- Avoid being swept into HuffPost political carnival (ie, GIGANTIC HEADLINES ALL THE TIME! MUST FOLLOW DAILY! HOURLY! EVERY FIVE MINUTES! NO YOU DON'T!)

- spend more time at Detroit Zoo. I really like to sketch animals - and I want to catch a polar bear swimming in their "Arctic Circle of Life" underwater walkthrough. So far, I've only seen seals...I love the seals...but I just want to see a swimmin' polar bear.

Well, those are all my non-writerly resolutions.

Joanna van der Gracht de Rosado said...

Nathan, My comments re. this posting are are on my blog... I don't agree with adamo who suggests you keep your goals secret. If you share, it inspires others and has nothing to do with you being likely to accomplish them or not. Accomplishment is tied heavily to consistency. Sounds a bit boring but its true.

Kristy said...

Resolution, schmesolution. Maybe I'll try, TRY, to buy smaller bottles of wine and bum less cigarettes. But, that may be asking for too much. I'm just in a snarky mood right now. Do not be worried. Am I talking to myself here? How much can I ramble on before anyone notices...

Ted Fox said...

Find a show that is better than MTV's "Real World/Road Rules Challenge."

I agree--my prospects look bleak.

Steve Bradley said...

More hard work, more fruits and veggies, less booze, less junk food, less fast food...

Now that it's in print in front of me, it sounds so depressing. I'd better give up now before I put too much effort in to this.

Carol Riggs said...

Gray hairs? I think I've skipped that phase, and am finding little white ones infiltrating the ol' scalp. What's with that?

Haha, love your writing style and humor--exorcising your writerly tics like the demons they are. Perfect!

Dave Symonds said...

I too get distracted by "just one more round" of Civ! Glad to know I am not alone.

My resolution is simple, schedule time to write seven days a week and finish my current WIP by June.

As for music, you can't go wrong with Vampire Weekend.

Mira said...

Anon 1:36 and Lauren, I think Sommer coined the term "Bransformers" in the forums for the forum folks. That's a good term. :)

Other Lisa said...

Mine are really simple.

Lose 10 lbs.
Make better use of my time.
Organize living space.
Blog more.

J. T. Shea said...

ABC, a Chihuahua on Prozac? My mind cannot contain the concept!

And what have you got against high fructose corn syrup? It made me what I am! Maybe Buster would like some...

Nathan Bransford Anonymous, Mira? Sign me up! I promise I won't mention basketball. Indeed, we are powerless over Nathan...

Bryan, you don't have to invent a cloning machine. Just borrow Nathan's.

Anonymous 1:36 pm, Bransfordians? As distinct from Bransforumites or Sommer Leigh's Bransforumers? Heretics! Only we Bransforumites are the true worshippers of The Great Orange One!

G, everybody's butt is bald. What's the problem?

Anonymous 3:44 pm, Buster is Mexican. He wants California back.

P. Dant said...

To stop overwriting headlines - you don't need the "You tell me?" if you're asking "What are your new year's resolutions?"


Heidi said...

First: I'm going to link to this post on my blog, where you can read about my thoughts on New Year's Resolutions.

Patrick, you might like this book, by Steve Hely:
How I Became A Famous Novelist. In fact, your comment could be part of the jacket flap.

Now I am going to have a meeting with Mr. Burrito (sans sour cream), check my tire pressure and build a trebuchet.
Thanks for the inspiration, guys!! Happy New Year!

Rebecca said...

Do you know The Quit? They're an up and coming band from Seattle. New CD is Stars Invisible by Day.

I am resolved to watch my posture (can be taken several ways).

JoanneFrench said...

Biggest resolution is to stop obessing with my writing deadlines. I alway set a unrealist deadlines (e.g. finishing this blasted novel by xyz) and never make it. The result is beating myself over the head and coming down with a severe case of the "crazies." Instead, I am going to enjoy the creative journey and stop agonizing over when the journey will end.

The Red Angel said...

You have some great goals, Nathan! I especially like the last one about having harmony in your relationships. :)

My goals include MilWordy (writing one million words this year), reading 24 books in a year, and being more patient.


Ulysses said...

I have only one resolution:


Anything higher makes things too hard to read.

Anonymous said...

New band...Levi Ware. Just got 2nd place in 7-11 Slurpee Battle of Bands (online competition) and has a cool mellow sound.

Lauren said...

Thanks Mira. Bransformers=sweet.

Pip Hunn said...

I'm running a little late, sorry.

Goals for 2011? I've got a few!

- Finish a first draft of my novel
- Post 300 articles / reviews to my website
- Work out for at least an hour a day, 5 days a week
- Go 100% vegan
- Experiment with a no soap / no shampoo regime for at least a month.

Of course, all those goals seem horribly generic when viewed from the outside. Well, maybe apart from the soap one. Maybe I should have put something in there about parachuting.

Juliana said...

At the top of my resolutions list is to become published.

My favorite of yours: happy dog :)

Melissa said...

#1 Love my students (no matter how they act)
#2 Be more grateful (even when I'm doing the dishes)
#3 Master pull-ups (the exercise, not the underwear)

Now I've told the world, so I must accomplish all three.

Sheila Cull said...

Nathan, would you judge me if resolved to ask more questions?

Steve Bradley said...

I'm going to update my resolutions to include one very important goal: stay at least 100 feet away from the dude who is trying to maintain a no-soap-or-shampoo regime for at least a month.

RB Ripley said...

Write every day.
Volunteer every month.
Do something unexpected for my husband every week.
Listen better.
Dream bigger.

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