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I guess it’s not too late to be working on your New Year’s resolutions, but if you are like most people, you may have ushered them in admist the confetti and fireworks.  I came across an article about Oprah Winfrey and New Year’s resolutions. Guess what? She doesn’t make them. She prefers to “go with the flow.”  Well, if I were sitting on a billion-dollar empire, I wouldn’t either.  But if you are a  writer, aspiring or experienced, you should be setting some goals for your writing life this year. One of my goals is to be  more consistent. Writing is an art like any other that needs to be practiced  if it is to be perfected, and consistency is the key to success.

So, goal # 1: Be consistent.

Just out of curiosity I decided to research some of the most prolific authors of the twentieth century to see how consistent they were. The numbers I came up with were staggering.  Mrs. Mary Faulkner, a South African writer who wrote under several pen names, wrote 904 books. Yes, that’s not a typo, and she only lived from 1903 – 1973.  Mary is followed by Lauran Paine, an American novelist, who wrote 850 + books. Other notables are  Barbara Cartland, romance author, 723 books, Enid Blyton (1900-1968), one of my favorite children’s writers, who penned 600 books,   John Creasey, crime thriller, 600 and R L Stine, English author with some 430 titles.

While some of our better known scribes may not have produced as many titles as those mentioned above, their book sales figures are nothing short of astronomical.  Let’s take mystery icon, Agatha Christie. Her maximum sales are estimated at 4 billion according to The Times, and it is believed that only Shakespeare’s works and the Bible sold more. Ms. Christie is followed by Barbara Cartland, 1 billion, Harold Robbins, 750 million, Sidney Sheldon 600 million and J K Rowling with only 7 published books,  450 million in sales.

Do these figures make you feel like hiding in a corner? They shouldn’t. If anything, they serve to show us what is humanly possible with motivation and perseverance. Jane Austen’s famous work, Pride and Prejudice, first written under the title First Impressions was rejected when Jane Austen’s father wrote to a publisher asking him if he would consider publishing the novel.  The publisher quickly returned the letter marked, “Declined by Return of Post”.  Ms. Austen revised the novel heavily and it was published some 16 years later.

So, maybe that ought to be goal # 2: Never give up.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Leave a comment and let me know.

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