Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolutions by Terry Burns

1/1/11, how cool is that?

The only time I was able to do a very good job of making and keeping New Year's resolutions was the year I resolved to not make any more fool resolutions I couldn't keep. I've kept that one for many years.

But this year is different. Maybe I do need to make one and keep it. Oh, I could make one about my walk of faith or my service to the Lord, but to be honest, that's something I work on all the time and constantly try to improve on.

This one is writing related. I spent so much of my time this year representing my clients, and going to and presenting programs at 24 conferences and a number of other events, that I virtually gave up on my own writing. I really don't want to do that and plan in the coming year to build in a little writing time myself.

What do I plan on writing? I write inspirational fiction and have a lifelong fondness for the old west. But even though I like that time period I don't really write westerns, more like historicals, and I tend to have many more female readers than male. I suppose I'll continue to tell the stories I find on my heart to tell, and I imagine they will continue to be fast-paced, simple little tales. Ernest Hemmingway I'm not.

Some of my tales have made it into print and been fairly well received. I have others that have made the rounds and have never found a home. I don't believe in doing major renovation to a story on the basis of a turndown or two. That is, after all, only one person's opinion of whether it fits their market or not. But when one has been looked at by a number of people, particularly if some of the turndowns share common threads, then there is probably a problem with the work itself that needs to be addressed. I have a few of these that probably need to be rethought. Not tossed away, as the story idea is not bad, but maybe needs a fresh approach. Maybe needs to be written from the ground up. I may revisit some of these in the coming year.

I've also tried my hand at something new, and while those new efforts have not borne fruit yet, I suspect they will be revisited in the year ahead. One thing about working as an agent is that I am sent a number of things that encourage me in my writing. That cause me to think I'm better than that. Oh, but my goodness I get so many others that make me think these people write so much better than I do, what makes me think I can write? Apart from the agent function, as a writer that's quite a range of emotions. I suppose as I set aside time to do some writing I have to divorce myself from that process entirely. It isn't about how I compare to other writers, good or bad. It is only about what I have to say myself and what I have to offer. I just have to tell my little tales and let the Lord decide whether he has a place for them or not.

I just know I still have stories on my heart to tell, and I represent a wonderful group of people who have such stories as well. I'm going to do my best to help them get their words out in the coming year . . . and maybe a little of my own as well.

What does the new year hold for you?


Normandie Fischer said...

Good for you, Terry. God has seen fit to bless so much of what you do, both as an agent and as a writer. I'm glad you're going to let Him use Terry Burns, author, once again.

Terry Burns said...

I guess the resolution includes the 3R's - I blogged on 'riting, I plan to do more reading, other things than submissions, so that just leaves 'rithmetic - and I have to start getting my records ready to do my taxes

Jeanette Levellie said...

Good for you, Terry. I love the old west, too, and appreciate it's history even more after our trip to Colorado.

May the Lord bless your every endeavor,

Laura Marshall said...

This really blessed me to read. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the upcoming year. I am not a New Year's resolution type either, as I try to work on things as the Lord brings them to my attention but as I contemplate what you wrote, I see that maybe we need to look longer at the loves and passions God places in us, to use for His glory and make more of an effort to put our time into those things. This was a gentle reminder as well, that we all may have doubts about the "grandeur" of our stories, even literary agent, but as they live in our imaginations and tug at our souls, our greatest prayer is and may always be to capture the minds of our readers and most importantly, share the love of Christ. God bless you and your work this New Year!

Diana said...

My Husband loved reading your stories and would often interrupt me and read a few paragraphs to me. He will be glad to know there are more coming :-)