So, how was last year? Couldn't have been too bad: you’re able to press the "enter’ key and open this blog, which means you still have an Internet connection, still have your computer, and still can control at least some of your physical environment. Good! Then I won’t go back and try to recall the last 12 months, either yours or mine. Let’s look forward, instead.
I have a good supply of wood cut, split and stacked next to the furnace, and about two-thirds of what I thought I’d need for the winter still uncut, so I’m taking a relaxed attitude to the wood pile this winter. Global warming has its advantages.
I’m well along with the sequel to "A Beautiful Place for an Ugly Death," the Kindle-released mystery that went on sale last Fall, and I have two more stories in outline form waiting to be resuscitated, so I have work ahead of me for 2012. That’s always good. I can’t imagine a time when I will have nothing to do.
And you: do you have a plan for the year? Will you continue to grow and find your path? The beginning of a new year has all the elements of writing a new chapter in a book, I think. You end the previous chapter with at least some idea of where you are going, what to expect, but even as you write the next one you are going to be surprised by what your characters do, how they will behave, what discoveries they may make. Failures, successes, perplexities and insights will change the people you create, and that is what makes the story interesting. If you could predict and project the next 12 chapters, or even the one after the one you're working on, there would probably be no motivation to write it. When we talk about "formula writing," we mean that it is usually predictable and not very good, or at least not terribly exciting, and all of those are necessary to keep the reader turning the pages.
There is a formula you can apply, though – a mathematical one: Expectation, divided by Uncertainty, multiplied by Time, equals Life. I hope your equation is full of prime numbers and a positive result.
Happy New Year.