My Resolution Failures and Why You Should Join The Big Chill in 2017

When I realized I would fail to reach my 2016 resolutions, disappointment kicked me in the gut and I landed on the floor. While gasping for breath, I discovered lots of dust bunnies under the furniture. Sheesh.

The plan had been set. I had stayed on target. Very few sparkly things led me astray. In fact, I worked harder, maybe twice as hard as any other year. I would sit down to write and find myself in a telephone booth where the universe would expand and I’d be transported into the lives of my characters. Many hours later, owls hooting on my chimney would be like, “Whoooo. Doooode, I’ve never known a human whoooo could sit so long.” I’d snap out of my time warped daze and stretch, then gape at the time. Balance between work and play crashed and burned. I needed to chill, big time.

Resolution failures and why you should join the big chill in 2017

So, what happened?

No matter how hard I worked, I depended on too many outside forces to complete my 2016 goals. The other problem seems counter-intuitive, but I needed more play time. Really!  

#2016 Failure One:

To find an agent and contract my book with a publisher. I planned to finish querying my long list of agents by June 2016. If I didn’t find one, I would hit up mid-sized publishers and work my way through that list. Then, I would query independent publishers and pull the trigger. My first book would be scheduled for publication in 2017.

This seemed like a reasonable and logical progression to a goal. I could have reached it, but I forgot one tiny factor. Agents’ response time can be reeeeeally slooooowww.

When a few agents didn’t respond at all, I retired their queries after ten weeks. I could have exhausted all of my lists by June if I had used the shotgun technique – When you write a query letter then copy and paste the names of the agents, blasting 20-100 at a time. No freakin’ way. That’s not my style. I spend hours researching each agent and then personalize each letter. I usually send out five at a time. Why only five? Because I’ve gotten amazing advice in rejection letters. When an agent’s criticism enlightened me and I could see how it would improve my project, I revised my book, rewrote the query letter, or both. I mean, this criticism came from professional in the publishing business. I never ignore it.

By mid-June, I panicked. Unless I got an offer with the few I sent, I wouldn’t reach my goal. I kept a positive outlook for that lucky break.

Well, that hasn’t happen…yet.

But I made some decent progress. A few top agents requested full submissions. It was super exciting.

By the end of July, I wondered if I should blow off my first book and focus on other projects. I put the question out into “the Universe.” Days later, it became a finalist in a contest. The bonus? Receiving amazing feedback from neutral judges.

I shelved querying, but continued working on my first book, rebuilding and remodeling. I’m hoping to shape its structure so the storyline draws you into a place where you find a comfy chair and hang out for a while hopefully, in a Dr. Who phone booth. I’m glad I didn’t set a bundle of dynamite in its basement and plug my ears. It will get published someday. What’s the rush?

Failure Two:

Finish two other novels and a screenplay. Yep, I’ve got a lot on my plate.

I’m close, but I ran out of time. I could have worked through the holiday to cross one off the list, but I focused on family instead. It’s weird, but I needed to forget about my projects for a while. It’s a Wild Writing Technique that I’ll explore in 2017 as a part of the Big Chill.

2017 Resolutions:

Take the Big Chill with me and CHILLAX! 

After working my butt off in 2016, I am scheduling PLAYTIME to chill the hell out. Yes. It warrants all caps as a reminder. I worked too hard and inefficiently in 2016. Didn’t you? This break time will be written into my planner’s schedule like any other appointment, in pen! I’ll spend less time dinking around on the Internet like a monkey on crack tapping on a keyboard. It’s easy and unhealthy to sit for hours on end. Instead, my chilling time will be spent AWAY from my computer. It’s magical. You should try it too. 

Get ripped again.

Look at my Boob Report photo. Even though I’m sick with cancer, I have defined arm muscles. Scheduling exercise will be a part of playtime. I’m in control of this goal, so let the Wild Rumpus begin!

susie lindau boob report picture

Take yoga and meditation classes.

Clearing a cluttered and over-active brain while meditating makes room for new ideas. The benefits carry over into all aspects of life. I can’t wait for more of that. My friend just told me about HeadSpace. She listens to the app on her phone and meditates every morning. Cool!

Find balance in 2017.

Recently, while face-planted and counting the dust bunnies drifting across the wood floors, I had an AHA moment. I needed the dust bunny perspective of break time to look at my projects and life in general from a more objective distance. I didn’t play hard enough in 2016. I picked myself up and brushed the lint from my yoga pants.

After a few weeks off to prepare for the holidays, my brain exploded with new ideas. These were next level, oh, My God, ideas. I don’t think they would have popped into my pea brain without a break. Here’s the thing. I kept writing. My Dear Holiday Diary posts exercised the crazy technicolor film festival running in my brain so ideas wouldn’t become puny, lazy roadies who hung out smoking cigarettes behind my frontal lobe.

Regardless of whether taking breaks accomplishes anything in 2017, enjoying and experiencing life is imperative to any well-rounded, Wild Rider’s life. Work super hard, play even harder. I’m sure some face-planting will be involved, but at least I’ll be out there trying.

What about those owls? They can jolt someone else from Dr. Who’s telephone booth time machine. I plan to have fun at the end of the day.

Oh, yeah, and once in a while, I promise to dust under the furniture.

What do you think of adding more playtime to your life? What is your top goal for 2017?

51 thoughts on “My Resolution Failures and Why You Should Join The Big Chill in 2017

  1. I have sent an intention for a gentle 2017. Like you I worked very hard last year. Have you thought of self publishing? I went down the looking for a publisher route but I am much happier with the journey I am on now…. Wishing you an awesome year.

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    • Thanks so much! I wish you a year of awesome too
      Self-publishing is on the list, for sure and something I’ll definitely consider. We’ll see how it goes this year! Congrats to you on your book!
      Glad to hear someone else is taking it down a notch this year. 🙂
      Happy 2017!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes the universe just seems to conspire against us. But I wish you a much kinder and fun filled year Suzie, may all your dreams and wishes come true. Take care and hang loose xo

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    • Thanks so much, Miriam! Love it. I’ll be hanging loose in 2017. Ha! I’m starting with yoga today.
      Looking back, I learned a ton and have improved on the book a lot. If it had been ready last January, it would have been picked up.
      I wish you all the best on the paths to your goals too! Got anything in particular in mind?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yoga sounds like a pretty good way to hang loose. Hopefully I can get back into my Zumba in a couple of weeks.
        And all going well mid year we’ll be heading up the Red Centre of Australia, which should be an epic road trip. Really looking forward to that. Apart from that more writing and more articles published hopefully. The travel magazine market has become very competitive so it’s getting harder all the time.
        Good luck with all of your dreams and plans this year Suzie. xo

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  3. I would be impossible for me to ADD more playtime in 2017. I did nothing BUT play in 2016. Took piano lessons, took voice lessons, played a ton of pickleball, played with the dogs (a lot), walked on the beach almost every day, took trip to Europe for a river cruise and to visit blogging friends in London, played on Facebook, visited grandchildren and just generally let each day come to me. I knew I would be good at retirement, I just didn’t know I would be THIS good!

    Wishing you great success in finding more playtime in 2017. Life is, after all, short.

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    • Hahahaha!! I just read this out loud to Danny and we both think you found the key to life. You know how to live large, Al! I’ll print out your comment, frame it and hang it above my desk!
      Will there be any music videos coming out in 2017?

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  4. I need to find balance and that is my resolution for 2017. So I am shucking the hours of free promotion I gave my town and resigned from the marketing position of our local farmers market. I will still write history every day as it is my passion. Working on book number 7. They will never be bestsellers except in my area– but I leave them as a legacy to all us writers that just do what we love -writing.

    HUGGGGG

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  5. It’s the year of the Rooster, my year. The Pantone colour of the year is my favourite colour. They call it “Greenery”. I am celebrating a milestone birthday. So far my year is going my way. My resolution is to enjoy the year no matter what happens and I refuse to get side tracked. Yeah, there are some things I need to work on but who says I can’t enjoy working on them?

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    • You have such a great attitude! That’s the way to approach the beginning of the year. Cockledoodledoooooooo!!!!
      I’m a dog and believe there is truth in Chinese and Astrological horoscopes. I’ll have to check mine out! Woof!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Doctor Who rides around in a space/time ship that looks like a blue police booth. xD

    In other news, I have no goals. Would I like to put out a book after a “dark year”? Sure. Would I like to lose weight? Boy howdy! But no pressure. Getting disability means I’m done with pressure. I have hopes, but no New Year’s Resolutions. Let life be as it is!

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  7. You can’t blame yourself for not getting a book agent in 2016. For all you know, these agents may have made a 2016 resolution to relax and work as little as possible in 2016.

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  8. A capital post, as we have come to expect from Suzie.

    I find I get more done when I impose limits on myself.

    “Today I am only going to write for x hours.”

    And then I lock myself out of my room. 🙂

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    • Thanks so much, Vincent and for sharing your secret! I’ll clock my creative writing time and then lock myself out of my room. I equated hard work with success, but there are no guarantees. I really enjoy the act writing, but stepping outside my office for adventure will, once again, become a daily routine.
      Happy New Year! Good luck with your goals, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I hear your – ’16 and ’15 weren’t what I planned, either. Sometimes things just don’t go the way you planned or envisioned. This year, I plan to be thankful for all that have and let gratitude drive where I am headed. It’s gonna be a great year. I know it. Peace.

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  10. I should have cleared out My Cluttered Attic over the holiday as well, however, it’s not over yet as we have lots of family coming up to play in the snow this week. So all those (ridiculous non-informative) ideas I’ve stumbled over, that were floating around up there, are going to have to find their way into various blog posts, and soon. Still with so much on your writing plate Susie, I applaud your idea of balance. If you don’t occasionally stop and take a breath, I can see where you could get exhausted. Besides, those little breaks can be great for stimulating your imagination. Here’s to a successful 2017, Susie! ‘O)

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    • That’s exactly right, AtticMan! We need to write those ideas down, then put the pencil or keyboard away for a while. I was just reading Neil Gaiman’s blog. I wondered how he accomplishes everything. As I was telling my daughter about him, I read that he took the year off from public appearances to write books and still had one to finish. See? Even he came up short on his goals. It made me feel so much better.
      This year will be so different. It already is!
      Thanks so much for your well wishes and the very same to you! 🙂

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  11. Writing and publishing is an infinitely humbling experience, for sure! If I were published, all the times great agents/publishers have asked to read my manuscript, I’d be very happy right now! And the waiting… oh my! I was shocked to learn (from a top pub.) that it can take up to a YEAR to get an answer and 2 years from submission to publication. Holy s#^@ ! That’ si so discouraging! I have to say that my writing group, with some incredibly amazing editing, have reminded me time and time again that editing is not for the faint of heart.

    Just left Denver, and thought of you… busy few days, getting ManCub settled. Wishing you success with your goals in 2017, and your fun! 🙂

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    • That’s why so many pull the plug and self-publish. I still have hope, but have already switched gears in polishing a screenplay for a contest. Getting back to my first book is next on the list! As you probably know, even if a writer scores an agent, there’s no guarantee they’ll continue with their future projects. This career can be a long haul and all uphill. I just enjoy writing. Que sera, sera!

      Good luck to you and your Man Cub! Sounds like he’s going to school or has a new job. I wish you the best in 2017!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Happy 2017 to you, Renee!
      I think we all need to stop and reflect once in a while. I can already see the benefits in taking breaks. Enjoy your R & R and take a walk on the beach for me!

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  12. Good plan to schedule play time. Whenever I am chill-axing, though, I often hear my mom in my head, repeating a favorite saying; “All work and no play makes Jack.” As in, people who work hard are the ones who make it big in this life. Balance, as you said, is everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My mom has always said, “You need to slow down.” When my kids recently joined the chorus, I took a look at how little break time I gave myself last year. Now when I hit a wall while writing, I stop. It works! My brain just needs time to clear so the answer can appear. Kind of like magic eight ball. Ha! It’s hard to see it if it’s being shaken. After a few hours, I’m done. What a concept!
      Hey, Peggles. It’s snowing outside! Wanna go cross country skiing tomorrow afternoon?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Duuuuuuude I think playing harder every year is great! I remember your yoga camp right? That was a great adventure 🙂 I definitely feel like you got some good stuff that was there this year Blessed Project was AWESOME! But I get it … when you’re checking your list and doing inventory …you notice some things and hit that a-ha moment. Some things didn’t go my way, but a lot of other things did. But I totally get you on the writer’s struggle. Totally. I’m in there with you. I put something on hold to work on the play and thought it was gonna happen, lineup was made, posters printed, publicity out there and then bam! Didn’t work out and I have to regain juice on the project I put on hold. And you’re right agents … they take a loooooooooong time to reply, but it’s just an extension really. No worries, 2016 will carry over to 2017 🙂 you got this!

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    • Thanks for the atta girl’s, Guat! It feels great to be rid of the added stress of resolutions I can’t control. I completely relaxed during the holidays and it felt wonderful. Now that I’m balancing my schedule, I seem to be getting more done. So far, so good!

      Halting the play must have been super stressful. There’s a lot to be said for your comfort zone and taking a stand when it’s your work. The play will be performed, but on your terms and it will ROCK!
      Happy New Year, Guat! Maybe we can “chill” on the beach in 2017!

      Like

  14. I try not to set goals; I just try to be the best Hook I can be every day.
    Don’t get me wrong, goals are necessary to success, but I’m just not in the right state of mind to be ambitious right now.

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