Be it not resolved

By Allison Brennan


I don’t make New Years resolutions.


If I set the goal too high, I fear I won’t make it. If I set it too low, I fear that I’ll only attempt to achieve the bare minimum, and never really know if I could have done more.


Why set myself up for failure? Why set myself up for mediocrity?


I don’t like comparing myself to others, because either I’ll fall short or feel superior. I don’t like people comparing themselves to me because they usually have no idea what being in my shoes is like. Some may be a better “me” than me, and others may drop dead after a day.


I write fast, but I’m not the fastest writer. I’m a decent storyteller, but I’m not the best storyteller out there. I’m diligent, but there are writers more focused than I. All I can plan to be is the best me.


So I don’t make resolutions.


I make plans.


I know I have to write at least one more book this year, because I’m contracted for one more book. I want to write another book, so I hope to be contracted for it – but if I’m not, I’ll write it anyway because I’d be looking for the contract and need to have a book to go out (or at least a proposal.) So I plan to write two books this year, and part of a third.


I want to write three short stories—one I’m contracted to write, and two I’m submitting blind. I plan on completing at least two of these, and hope to write the third.


Family is the most important thing, therefore, I plan to attend at least 90% of my kids sporting events. That means not making outside plans in the Fall unless it’s crucial, because four of my five kids are involved in Fall sports. I plan to have a large, family dinner every Sunday. Plan, because I’m not the only person involved in the event and sometimes, other people’s plans interfere with my own.


I plan to be patient, considerate, and tolerant in my daily life. Plan not resolve, because some people just tick me off and then I lose patience and tolerance all at once.


I plan to read one book a week (before I was a professional writer, I read 4-5 books a week.) This is difficult, because when I’m deep in the zone, I can’t read anyone else’s books. That means that between books, I go on reading binges, a book or more a day for a week or three.


I quit my trainer in August because of conferences and deadlines and general stress. I gained 12 points. I will go back to my trainer starting the second week of January. I’m not going to resolve to lose weight because I know me, and I know I’ll disappoint myself; but I will exercise a minimum of three days a week. Exercise will get me in shape, and if I lose weight that’s incidental to my plan to get back in shape.


All these are plans I would have made simply because I’m done with one book, and starting the next. They happen to coincide with the New Year. But they’re not resolutions. They’re plans, and plans can change.


What do you plan to do this year? Other than, of course, buying LOVE ME TO DEATH if you haven’t already–it’s on sale now. 🙂



24 thoughts on “Be it not resolved

  1. Reine

    I plan on holding on and letting go. I plan on being myself but not indulging myself. I plan on using whatever ability I have.

  2. Grace

    Thanks for the post – real and enjoyable.

    I plan on writing one book and am going to try writing short stories! Now this is a real challenge as I am a wordy soul and don't know if I can stay within the word count. But if not, at least it will be good training, I think! Happy New Year.

  3. Alafair Burke

    I have resolved to spend less time on the internet. I will schedule some time at the beginning of the day and end for emails and let myself have a couple of short breaks for fun stuff like facebook. I have promised two short stories by march and a novel by June so hopefully the resolution will support the plan.

  4. Susanne

    Sounds like you're drilling down to some of the basics of life, Alison.

    I've got two things I'm working on: I'm going to spend less time on the internet and surf only on the weekends. And I'm going to continue my efforts to stop multi-tasking.

    Allison, I'm on page 290 of Love Me to Death. It's a fabulous book. Great pacing. I'm going back and forth like a yo-yo trying to figure out the killer (and I usually nail it right away).

    Best wishes to all for a wonderful 2011.


  5. B.E. Sanderson

    Bought it, inhaled it, loved it.

    I'm with you, Allison. Plans are so much better than resolutions. I hope your plans work out well. Right now, I'm floating around planless, but this post might be the push I need to sit down and actually think about what I want to accomplish this year. Thanks. =o)

  6. Sylvia


    What a great way to look at the new year. Plan your work and work your plan. Sounds good!

    Hmmm… what am I planning?

    I plan on paying down debt and improving my credit score. I've detailed this plan for myself and working it.

    I plan on putting races in the calendar and working towards them. That means getting up at the wee hours, working out/training and having deadlines. Last year I had no plans and voila, nadda.

    I plan on reading more than last year (so all of you better get writing…) as it relaxes and energizes me.

    I plan on getting my various businesses off the ground and moving them forward.

    I plan on spending more time with family and friends.

    I would love to say that I plan on getting back to writing but don't see that in the cards this year. The first three chapters get written and then nadda. But they are a fun three chapters!

    Happy New Year!

  7. Allison Brennan

    Reine: Great plans. I think most of us need to work toward our abilities, and sometimes it's hard to identify our strengths.

    Grace, short stories are GREAT training! My first was mediocre because I was writing it as a short "book" when I needed to look at it as a bigger scene without subplots. I love writing short stories now! (Though they do always want to get bigger. My novella, LOVE IS MURDER, was supposed to be @15,000 words. It's just under 25,000.)

    Mason, I think the problem with resolutions is that they hinder us in two ways. Plans are fluid, and while I don't believe in changing them willy-nilly, if something big comes up you can adjust accordingly.

    Alafair, the Internet is a time killer, that's for sure. Good luck with your plans and resolutions!

  8. Allison Brennan

    Susanne, I'm trying. Maybe by the time I'm 100 I'll have life down 🙂 I'm so glad you're enjoying LMTD!

    B.E.: Thank you thank you thank you! And you'll come up with a plan. Even just one thing you want to accomplish, then set the path to get there.

    Sylvia: Great list of plans! Good luck with them. You'll be busy. 🙂

  9. Riley

    Great plans! I prefer to call them goals, rather than resolutions. Resolutions are so vague, but a goal is something I put planning into, it's attainable and measurable.

  10. Kim C

    I like the idea of 'plans' rather than 'resolutions' – much more positive and flexible.

    ~~ I think I'm going to mimic this one: "I plan to be patient, considerate, and tolerant in my daily life. Plan not resolve, because some people just tick me off and then I lose patience and tolerance all at once." It sure sounds a lot like me.
    ~~ I plan to finish my college degree. It'll have taken me 21 years to do so, but I'll finally be done this summer. Yay me!
    ~~ I plan to walk the dog more, and not just over to her favorite spot. 2 miles at least three times a week. I'm hoping that will earn me a little respite in the morning while doing my hair. Blow drying your hair with a dog tangled in your feet- not fun.
    ~~ I plan to keep the house tidier so I don't have to spend so much of my weekends cleaning it- or thinking about cleaning it.
    ~~ I plan to stop buying things I don't need. Except for books, because those I really do need.
    ~~ I've always written, just for me, but I've never actually finished anything other than my poetry. I plan to change that. I plan to finish one short story and the book I've been working on. I don't expect them to be good, just finished. Big steps for me. Oh, and I plan to actually let someone else read them.

    Loving LTMD. Halfway through. Only put it down because I had to get some sleep last night – not that that was easy with all those images running through my head! Jeez, the dreams I had last night.

  11. Allison Brennan

    I love this Kim:

    "~~ I plan to finish my college degree. It'll have taken me 21 years to do so, but I'll finally be done this summer. Yay me!"

    Yeah you! I'm so happy for you. I dropped out of college and never went back. I don't plan to, but two of my close friends did after kids and career and I'm so proud of them! It's not easy.

    I'm glad you're liking LMTD!!! I'm not sorry I kept you up late, LOL.

  12. Reine

    Kim, congratulations on following through with college! Yay Kim!

    Allison, my failures have revealed my strengths. I didn't always notice, however, because I mistook my failures for weaknesses and misapplied resolve– a good reason to question the value of resolutions.

  13. toni mcgee causey

    I like plans so much more — great blog.

    I plan to not let the chaos of the world stop me from spending quality time with the people I love.

    I plan to exercise because I'll feel better, and I do always feel better when I'm consistent with the exercising.

    I plan to write a new book this year (just finished one yesterday, yay). I also plan to write at least two short stories.

    I plan to do more photography, and start framing the ones I love; I may also do a website that's all about fun things in my life–something not work oriented.

    I plan on going to at least two conferences this year, maybe three, and this time, to plan on extra time before or after to actually see the city. I have no clue about several major cities I visited in 2009/2010–I was too swamped, and that's a crime to have missed out on so much.

    Mostly, I plan to enjoy each day, to look for the ways to give back, because ultimately, when we're gone, it's what we've left behind that matters. Not that I plan on going anywhere anytime soon. 😀

  14. PK the Bookeemonster

    Allison, could you email me at I have a question regarding your book in February. 🙂
    I've listed previously my plans/goals for 2011however another one is that I would really get back to reading more like I used to … and still get done what I need to get done. Just think how much I could have read last night instead of wasting the two hours at a movie that I really wanted to see but was so disappointing.

  15. Stacy McKitrick

    I hate resolutions, too. Plans and goals I can deal with.

    I plan on going back to a gym I've already paid for. I'm tired of being out of shape.

    I plan on finishing my third novel. Then my plan is to start on my fourth. I just love to write and I want to be prepared for that day I get an agent or publisher!

    I plan on reading fifty books in 2011. And yes, some of them will be yours!

    I plan on adjusting my plans if life happens to get in the way.

    Happy New Year, Allison!

  16. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    I swear, I do not know where you get the energy, dear. For all that you do. You move forward with such diligence and you maintain a healthy respect for those around you. I think I'm still in the blind panic stage–trying to find a way to plug myself into a writing process that will ensure productivity. Afraid that every other obligation will deter me from my work. I have no idea how to balance things. My few meaningful resolutions this year – write two novels and one screenplay (an assignment), spend time with my family, be a better, more communicative husband, try to pay the bills as a writer only. I think it's going to be a spectacular 2011, filled with great drama and creativity. I'm looking forward to the ride.

  17. Brett Battles

    I like that. Planning. That's exactly what I do, though hadn't really thought about it that way. My plans involve writing at least 3 books (hopefully 4), at least one short story, driving with more patiences, and working on that weight I lost two years ago that seems to be creeping back on. That's the plan, and I know it'll change. But it's a place to start.

  18. JT Ellison

    I spent a bit of time over Christmas doing my annual review. I love planning. Plans are fun. Resolutions suck! Great post, Allison. And congrats on the new release! Sorry I missed the day of…

  19. Jessica Scott

    Greetings! One of my only plans is to get back to reading blogs I've missed this year. I feel like I spent more time reading Murderati in Iraq than I did since I got home last December.

    Otherwise, I'm in the same boat: I don't make new years resolutions b/c I hate feeling like a failure when I ultimately, well, fail at them. But plans? I'm planning on 1 book. Not getting ambitious. Since returning from Iraq, I've only written 1 book. Granted, said book went through 4 drafts, but hey, its still one book. So this year? One book. Hopefully, one book that sells, lol!

    Can't wait to read Lucy's book. Picked up my copy today on Kindle and getting real book when I get home to add to my keeper shelf!

  20. Allison Brennan

    Brett, you just have to one up me, don't you? Four books? Sheesh. Now I feel like a slacker.

    Stephen, you can just stop being in awe of me, because BRETT is going to write FOUR books this year. Whew. Now I can be normal again . . . bawahahaha

    Toni, I like the plan to enjoy each day, too 🙂

    Thanks Jessica!

    Message on the way, PK

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