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New Years Resolutions (2005)

It’s a New Year, time for the new resolutions.

1. Write Fiction

Yeah, this is the big one. I used to write fiction all the time when I was a teenager. I’m not saying what was written was very good, but I used to enjoy doing it. I remember one particularly long story which was essentially Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea fan fiction, it went on for ever, and was essentially episodic. Still, I enjoyed it. Now I understand a lot better how to write fiction, but I don’t write fiction anymore.

I’ve become quite comfortable with writing articles, but I’ve sort of lost my confidence with fiction, I just don’t feel anything I write is (a) any good or (b) original enough to be remotely marketable. I have no idea what I’d write a novel about, for instance. Actually, that isn’t true, I know I’d like to write a novel that reads like a very good action movie – contemporary fiction essentially. I need to move beyond this though and give it a shot. I would like to have a novel published, earning my living that way would be great, but failing that, just one novel would suffice. One step at a time.

I think the first leap I need to make is to commit to it. It is going to take time, effort and commitment, which at the moment I’m not willing to give. I need to start following the advice of all writers, and treating it less like a hobby I do when I feel like it, and something I do every day, without fail, like a job.

I’d actually love to write scripts as well, but I’m guessing there is even less of a market for those than there is novels. I’ve developed enough confidence or ego these days to believe I can actually write better material than appears on most cinema screens these days. I need to look into all this, as I suspect I would really enjoy writing scripts. I need to get some books on that and see some examples, as well as research the market. All part of the resolution.

2. Write, Write And Then Write Some More!

As the title says, just write and write some more. This is another resolution that continues from last year, and the previous year’s resolution was a success. While I’ll obviously continue to try and get regular articles in the two publications I’m writing for, Eden Studios Presents and Signs and Portents, I also want to expand the market I write for a bit.

I’d like to write some articles that have nothing to do with role-playing games, I’d succeeded at this to some extent by securing the regular column in Games Elite, which allowed me to touch upon computer games, conventions, movies, etc. The future of Games Elite and the column is yet to be fully established. I’ve always had a goal to get an article in SFX, just because I’ve read that magazine since issue one and I’ve always liked it.

Starting in January I’m also going to commit to an article in FLN a month, not including any articles I manage to secure from other people. I believe this is a reasonable goal, and will keep the content flowing to the site. I never wanted the site to be ‘largely a Blog’ but this slowly becoming true. I also have to avoid the monthly article being movie reviews, I tend to keep that sort of article to the movies I am passionate about for one reason or another.

This resolution obviously links to the first.

3. Run A Role-Playing Campaign

After spending 2004 actively avoiding dedicating time to role-playing, other than being a productive player in any games that came along, I’ve decided that 2005 has to be the year I actually run something. I’m not looking for anything major, like a spree of successful games, it can just be one, but it has to be something beyond a one-shot.

What form this game takes is going to depend on numerous factors, the first one being whether I am actually physically close to anyone I want to run a game for. If I’m not I may need to resort to IRC (using something like Primetime Adventures) or Neverwinter Nights, which I still like the idea of running a mini-series in (should I find someone willing to do all the building). I’d love to run an epic story in Neverwinter Nights complete with some good, mythical sensibilities and a good dose of action.

4. Develop Fandomlife.net

In 2004 FLN got changed from being developed in Lotus Domino to being developed in Coldfusion, which allowed me to add some features. While I’m tempted to change the development technology to .Net just because it is more relevant, I’m probably going to stick with Coldfusion for the time being. There is something about Coldfusion that just makes it a pleasure to use, especially on a site that is a hobby.

I’ve listed some of the things I want to add in a previous blog, and I hope to get these done once I have my PC back out of storage and a home to put it in. The main upgrade I want to do is a graphical one, just because I’m a bit sick of seeing the same look. The problem is, since I don’t want to lose the white background or change the ‘width’ of the articles I’m probably restricted in what I can do, but if I can get someone with a bit of a graphical skill working on it then it might add a bit of ‘oomph’.

5. No Migration or Property Shows

To be honest I never really watched the property shows anyway, but what started with the harmless Changing Rooms has descended into madness with a new property show each week with some new gimmick or other. It is irritating, seeing people doing up houses and making loads of money, or living in splendour and buying their small castle in Spain. Since we’ve suffered a major property setback, unless property prices seriously tumble, I want to see these shows even less. I tried to avoid them before, I’ll actively walk out of the room now.

The main resolution is to avoid the migration shows. I don’t want to know about people going to live in France, Spain, Canada or Australia. I don’t want to see them move into their massive house, spend money like water and somehow still have a successful migration. I’m not even sure the shows are telling the truth. I’m not saying they are lying, but I’m certainly not sure they tell you all the gory details. First, the people seem to find a job very easily on these shows. Second, you get scenes of them crying and going through the migration trauma occasionally, but the overall mood of the shows is excitement and wonder, which I think is a bit of a false impression. It is much harder and more traumatic that you can imagine, and the shows certainly don’t show that. I also think they get some behind the scenes help from the show, beyond what is shown, to ensure the program has a ‘good story’.

I just can’t watch them anymore. As with the properties shows, I’ll just walk out of the room (or I’ll be writing in another room managing my time).

6. Better Time Management

Even though this is listed as item six, it’s probably one of the most important, as without it I’m not going to come anywhere near close to achieving all the others. At the moment, I don’t treat my spare time as a valuable resource, I just let it waste away doing nothing special. I recently read a book on writing a novel, which was interesting, and it showed how most people do have the time to write a novel – and I didn’t used to be as busy as the person who was used as a theoretical example (how busy I am in the future is yet to be seen). If I productively used my spare time, and remained dedicated and focused throughout I’d probably be surprised at what I could achieve. A problem most people face I’m guessing.

The biggest problem is going to be changing from being lax with what I do with my spare time, to jealously guarding it and being very selfish with it. Very selfish. I suspect this transition will be very traumatic for all involved and may not actually work. We shall see though. If time is better managed, it may actually limit the impact of being selfish over time blocked for writing.

About Ian O'Rourke

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