After all that time spent writing in November, I kicked off December with a reading marathon of sorts. So far, I’ve read An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin; I’m three-quarters of the way through The Politician by Andrew Young, halfway through Lauren’s Story: An American Dog in Paris;  and I reread William Goldman’s The Princess Bride.

On queue are too many books to list, but I recently bought The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch and Great House by Nicole Krauss, and The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva (that’s a guilty pleasure). My goal for the next two weeks is to finish the books I started then read at least three others before the end of the year.

Apart from reading fiction, I’ll get back to my books on craft. Writing The Wilde Solution was an eye-opener in the sense of what it taught me and what I need to  tighten, and smooth out for Julius. My goal for Julius is to write prose that sings. Although I like Corinne’s voice in the narrative, I think, considering her intellect, she can be more  elegant in the way she tells her story, and that means coming up with more descriptive language, metaphors, and similes–a challenge for me since I tell it like it is.

This reading marathon is part entertainment and part pedagogical exercise. For the latter that means it’s time to highlight sentences I like and study the words and expressions that catch my fancy. I admit that this becomes more work and less entertainment, and sometimes I get too caught up in the story to actually get out the highlighter or Post-its and mark the passage or sentence. However, it’s one of those exercises that does help immensely.

That’s part of the odds and now some of the ends. I’ve been thinking of what I want to accomplish for 2011 and top of mind is to finish Julius. I know I sound like a broken record, but now I have enough fodder, ideas, and research material and there really isn’t any excuse to not write a minimum of 1000 words a day of new material and to revise at least a chapter a day. And you might be thinking, “Uh, yeah, but what about your job, reading, exercising, pursuing other interests and just having a life?”  It can all be done. It’s just a question of managing my time. I know, I’m terrible with time management. Well, here’s a secret: this year marks a milestone birthday–I won’t say which one, and if you guess correctly or not I will lie through my teeth either way–but it got me thinking that those teeny grains of sand in my hourglass are starting to run out and I’ve reached a point that I have to stop putzing around if I want to achieve certain goals because I ain’t getting younger (maybe, hopefully, better?)

So what’s coming for 2011? Here’s a slightly edited list:

  • Finish Julius
  • Acquire an agent
  • Be a better editor and writer (this is ongoing)
  • Write more interesting posts
  • Increase traffic to this blog

There are more, but they’re not related to writing and I’m keeping then to myself for the moment. And so that does if for this Friday. Time to get some Julius work out of the way.