New Year’s Resolutions

I’m not the sort of person who makes new year’s resolutions.

In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever made any new year’s resolutions. Ever.

But yesterday, I wandered onto goodreads and fired up this little “reading challenge” widget they have. There’s not much to it. You set a goal for how many books you want to read over the course of the year, then this thing tracks your progress.

Last year I tried it on a whim and made my goal of 150 books even though I was sloppy about keeping track. This year I decided to shoot for 250, which is probably closer to what I actually read in a year.

Ever since I fired up that silly little widget, I’ve been thinking about new year’s resolutions. Which is odd, because, like I said, I don’t typically go in for that sort of thing.

Philosophically, the concept of making a resolution has never made much sense to me. It seems to me that if you really want to do something, you should just fucking do it. Resolving to do it is sort of a bullshit intermediary step. If I’m hungry, I don’t *resolve* to go eat lunch. I just find food and put it in my mouth. Simple. Problem solved.

So why am I thinking about New Year’s Resolutions?

I think the main reason is that I had a really great New Years. Some friends came to visit. We played board games, did some tabletop role-playing, and just hung out.

It was the most fun I’ve had in ages. And after everyone went home, I felt good. Not just happy, but physically and emotionally healthy. I felt like a million dollars.

No. I felt better than that. I felt like a second season of Firefly.

Seriously. A full 22 episode season. I felt that good.

Ever since then, I’ve been rolling it around in my head. 2011 was a pretty good year for me. Book two was finally published. The Wise Man’s Fear hit #1 on the New York Times. I met Terry Pratchett, got to perform at Wootstock, and attended some very cool conventions.

(Speaking of conventions. I’m Guest of Honor at Confusion later this month. You should swing on by if you can. Jim Hines is going to be there, as is Joe Abercrombie, Peter V. Brett, Brent Weeks….

Holy shit. Robin Hobb is going to be there too. I didn’t know that until I just checked their website. How awesome is that?)

But anyway, yeah. 2011 was my first official signing tour. I met thousands of my readers all over the country. (Though I realize now, as I go looking for a link, that I never got around to blogging about that. I probably should at some point.)

For now, a picture will suffice. Here’s a shot I took from the podium at my first signing of the tour in Seattle.

(They were a great crowd.)

If you look at the highlight reel of 2011, it looks like I’m living the dream.

I’ve actually had people say that to me over this last year: “Congratulations! You’re living the dream!”

I know they’re just excited for me. But whenever I hear that, I think, “Whose dream? I don’t ever remember dreaming this….”

Now don’t get be wrong. Parts of this year have been profoundly cool. I love conventions. I love talking about writing and hanging out with readers. I love getting to meet authors that I’ve been reading my whole life.

But the fact remains that a lot of times, after going to a convention I feel exhausted and hammered flat on both sides.

On the other hand, after hanging out with my friends on New Years, I feel like I could lift a truck over my head with one hand, then go write for ten hours straight.

Looking back over these last couple years, I realize that most of my close friends left town back in 2007, just as my first book was getting published. They were getting jobs in other parts of the country, going to grad school, joining Americorp….

I missed them, of course, but I was plenty busy getting used to the whole published-author life. I started writing this blog. I signed up for Facebook. I did some signings, started attending conventions….

At the same time, I quit teaching at the University. Quit coaching fencing. Quit acting as advisor to the College Feminists.

When I look at things with the clarity of hindsight, it’s blindingly obvious what the end result of all this is: I’m suffering from a rather specialized sort of social isolation. The sort of isolation where I can go online at any point and interact with 10,000 people.

I never thought of it like this before, but hanging out with friends is psychologically healthy. Facebook and blogging and going to conventions is the social equivalent of eating Pringles. It’s fun. It’s tasty. It’s relatively harmless in moderation. But if you eat nothing *but* Pringles, you die.

Similarly, lack of genuine hanging out with real friends must lead to a sort of psychological scurvy.

This is the situation I’ve accidentally backed into.It wasn’t until I hung out with my old friends again that I realized how much I missed that. How much some part of me was starving.

So. Over these last couple days I’ve been thinking about my life. I’ve been thinking about the difference between things I do that are fun, and things I do that actually make me happy.

For example, playing some stupid flash game on my computer might be fun, but playing board games with my friends makes me happy.

Or, for another example, it might be fun to do a reading at a convention, but hanging out with little Oot makes me happy.

The difference seems to be this. If something is merely fun, it’s mostly enjoyable while you’re doing it. Something that makes you happy is different. It’s enjoyable afterwards, too. Minesweeper and cocaine are fun (reportingly.) But talking with Oot about ducks or watching Buffy with friends make me happy.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that fun doesn’t have its place. I plan on playing the hell out of Skyrim when I have the chance.

What I’m saying is that my priorities have gotten seriously out of alignment. These days, flying to San Diego for a convention don’t just feel easy, it seems like a  professionally responsible for me to do. At the same time, driving down to Madison to hang out with friends, have dinner, and watch Avenue Q seems like an extravigant and impractical use of my time.

That’s some fucked up mental arithmetic.

So, in an effort to de-kink my thinkings, I’ve decided to make some changes to my life.

In fact, I’ve done more than merely *decide* to do these things. I’ve built up bad habits in these last years, and it’s going to take some effort to break them. So I’m going to *resolve* to do them.

Here they are:

1. I’m going to hang out with Oot at least two hours every day. I’m going to make it a priority, rather than something I try to fit in around the edges of the other stuff I have going on in my life.

2. I’m going to do my damnedest to hang out with my friends at least twice a month for the express purpose of playing games, hanging out, watching movies, and just generally dicking around.

3. I’m going to start exercising at least three times a week. Because, y’know, I don’t really want to die from author-related sitting-on-my-ass-ness.

At this point, the righteous self-improvement impulse starts to gather steam and I’m tempted to continue adding things. Turning this into a laundry list of me-betterment that include things like, “pet more fluffy kittens,” “smell even better,” and “floss regularly.”

But no. I’d rather pick three important things and actually do them, rather than list 50 things then get frustrated and quit after a month.

Why am I posting these things here on the blog?

The simple answer is because… well… writing things out helps me figure out where exactly my head is on a particular subject.

In fact, I just now realize that’s a lot of the reason I bother with the blog. If my friends still lived in town, I’d hang out with them and chat about this stuff in my living room, using them as a sort of sounding board. But since they don’t, I kinda hang out in my head with y’all and write blogs.

Which, now that I’m thinking about it, might be kinda crazy behavior.

The other reason I’m posting this up here is because I know myself pretty well. I’m prideful. If I make a public declaration like this, I’m much more likely to follow through with it.

Lastly, I figured I might as well post my musings up here with the hope they might be interesting/helpful to anyone else who is having trouble adjusting to this whole living life as a grown-up thing. I was really good at being a broke, mouthy, irreverent college student. But this being-an-adult shit can be really hard sometimes….

Feel free to post up your own resolutions in the comments. Especially if you’re like me, and think that going public might help you keep them.

Keep on tranglin,


This entry was posted in meeting famous people, musings, social networking, the man behind the curtain, things I shouldn't talk about. By Pat96 Responses


  1. lykashii
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

    Before I read your books, Robin Hobb was my favourite author. I also love Brent Weeks and Peter V. Brett. I wish I could be there. Have fun you lucky man! Well I suppose it’s more due to your genius than your luck.

  2. mintfresh
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

    Hanging with friends is definitely something one should always make time for. I hope you manage to keep your resolutions Pat!

    Also; tabletop gaming, Skyrim, Firefly, fencing, Avenue Q? This post contains references to a lot of awesome things, you sir, possess immaculate taste.

    Also also; because I’m needlessly anal and pedantic: extravigant should be extravagant above. I know it’s just a typo, but it makes me feel better pointing it out. We all have our madnesses, this is mine ^^

  3. brian199
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

    Another good reason that is good to write things down in a blog (especially these new years resolutions):
    Your family, friends and fans know now.

    And the best thing about all of us? We love holding people to their word Pat.

    lol Glad though about the resolutions and wishing you all the best for another 11 months, I’d say all year but.. yeah you know.. mayan.. world ending.. zombie apocalypse …

  4. JeanneGrrl
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 8:59 PM | Permalink

    “I never thought of it like this before, but hanging out with friends is psychologically healthy. Facebook and blogging and going to conventions is the social equivalent of eating Pringles. It’s fun. It’s tasty. It’s relatively harmless in moderation. But if you eat nothing *but* Pringles, you die.

    Similarly, lack of genuine hanging out with real friends must lead to a sort of psychological scurvy.”

    THIS!!! Thank you for articulating this in a way that’s easy to “get”

    Wishing you lots of quality (and quantity) time with the ones you love most in life!

  5. lizzylizletitgo
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 8:59 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Pat. I love reading your blog. Working out with Oot can be fun. Ring-a-round the Rosie and chasing him around will get you moving. I’m a Little Teapot and having him stretch with you are great for cooling down.

  6. David H.
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:00 PM | Permalink

    My New Year’s Resolutions consist of

    1) Spending less time on the computer when I’m at home (especially when my wife is home, too!).

    2) Opposite of your Goodreads challenge to yourself, I’m actually interested in reading a little bit less this year (I did 210 last year, 333 the year before, and 241 the year before that) since I felt like I was doing nothing but reading.

    3) Work out more regularly. :)

  7. lykashii
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:00 PM | Permalink

    I got too excited and pressed post before I’d finished.

    My resolution was to join the gym, and to not leave my work until last minute.

    As it is, I have yet to join the gym, and I spent all day yesterday writing 25 pages of script, a treatment and an essay for my screenplay that had to be handed in today.

    So far, I am failing. I wish you better luck than I’m experiencing!

    Oh and dicking around is awesome. That’s the best New Years resolution ever.

  8. trunuyawkr
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:00 PM | Permalink

    I have to say, that are some awesome resolutions. I have 4 boys, and I am ALWAYS running from one sport activity/play date / medical appointment / school activity / religious activity / etc to another, never mind working a full time job. I find myself looking up from time to time going, “how the heck did it get to be already??” and yet I cannot seem to find a way to slow things down or find a time for all of us to just BE. The fact that you have done so makes me smile that SOMEONE at least has gotten it figured out….. because I sure as hell haven’t. Best of wishes for a happy and fun New Year to you and your entire family!

    • trunuyawkr
      Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:02 PM | Permalink

      *those. THOSE are some awesome resolutions. Sorry!

  9. skymnolf
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:02 PM | Permalink

    Wow even in your blog you say exactly how I feel. Having no one around sucks. I wont say I am just like you because you are obviously more popular/well liked but I must say I know the crazed feeling brought on by social isolation. I commend you for your getting away from it. Good luck

  10. SilverEagle
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:03 PM | Permalink

    It took me many days to figure out just what I wanted to accomplish this year. While I’d love to lose weight and submit stories to publishers, this is a year for myself.

    My resolutions for 2012:
    Learning for the sake of learning,
    Rediscovering who I am and who I want to be (and how to become that),
    Replanning what I want to do with my life (and how to get there),
    Improvement of self and talents such as they are,
    Spontaneity, because I can, because I should (I think too much).

    • MaryRose
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 6:45 AM | Permalink

      “There’s nothing wrong with spontaneity so long as it’s planned” <<< my brother's comment to me about my (lack of) spontaneity … ;-)

  11. Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

    Wow, that line up sounds amazing at Confusion. One of these days I’ll make it to a convention and meet my favorite authors. Maybe that’s my resolution. Or I’ll stick with my usual resolution of actually finishing writing a book. That would be nice.

  12. Lastasis
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:05 PM | Permalink

    My “I’m actually going to do this” list of things for the next year and beyond are the following:

    Be more active in my drawing, animating, and “blogging”
    Come out of my hermit cave to hang out with my friends more often
    and just keep on top of things

  13. Vpulski
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:05 PM | Permalink

    I agree that spending time with Oot is important. It wasn’t until recently that I learned that having children around you makes the world more…interesting? Children really get it. They have raw emotions that tend to bring out the best (and sometimes the worst) in people. My cousin, who hasn’t ever gotten the chance to know me, has spent the last 2 weeks with me. He’s only 3 but two days ago, he runs up to me, hugs me, and tells me he loves me forever. It sort of puts life back into you. I’ve been trying so hard to figure out what the hell I am doing with my life and I guess it’s finally sunk in that I have the chance to be part of a family. So my resolution for the next year is to spend as much time with my little munchkin before said zombie apocalypse occurs. And to learn how to properly use a shotgun.

    • Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

      Yeah. I should have made that #4. I need to learn to use a shotgun too….

      • AndyB
        Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:14 PM | Permalink

        I have a couple of shotguns. Let me know if you want to go try them out.

        • Posted January 11, 2012 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

          I so want to….

          • Vpulski
            Posted January 14, 2012 at 8:30 PM | Permalink

            Make that two of us.

  14. Lomky
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:05 PM | Permalink

    If reading blogs isn’t too ‘fun’ over ‘happy’, this might be an interesting read:

    The gist is that a thing that might have once been fun _and_ made you happy, but as you are now obligated to do that thing, the activity might stop making you happy. Humans are neat and messed up like that.

    • Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:41 PM | Permalink

      Oh my god. That single blog post just showed the scientific backing for about 5 of my personal theories about how the brain works, AND it clarified certain elements of my personal motivations that I’ve only barely started to get a grip on in the last couple years.

      Fuck. That’s some amazing stuff. I think I’m going to have to buy that guy’s book….

      • Gajos
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:51 PM | Permalink

        I’m glad to read this. The more you know , the better your books will be.

        For example , if you had read this
        before you wrote Adem part of TWMF , you might have changed your mind about women being better fighters than man.

        Sorry for the sarcasm ,I don’t know english nearly enough to write a sentence about something while pretending I haven’t been borthered about it ever since I read your book…

        • nmnjr
          Posted January 11, 2012 at 9:22 AM | Permalink

          Fighting is about more than how much weight you can lift. Example: my college fencing club. The top fencers (with the exception of one male who had been fencing for 15 years, ie. 3x longer than anyone else) were all women.

          Precision, skill, endurance, and quickness are not gender-specific, and are probably more prevalent in women since they don’t have as much brute strength to fall back on.

          • Gajos
            Posted January 11, 2012 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

            Endurance and quickness are gender specific. But your example is good. I have no expirience when it comes to fighting with some kind of weapon. But I have plenty of expirience when it comes to empty handed combat . No women can match a man. Especially when it comes to exchanging strikes while standing . On the ground there are ways to overcome diffrences in strenght and weight , but not BIG diffrences .

          • nmnjr
            Posted January 11, 2012 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

            Your argument is weakened by generalizations. You say “no women can match a man.” I’m pretty sure I could beat the snot out of Stephen Hawking (not that I’d care to, but still).

            You have to look at a person as an individual. That said, would the average man be stronger than the average woman? Yes, but the ranges overlap considerably.

            As for endurance, science has proven you wrong. The genders are matched. Women and men can run/swim/etc. equally long distances. And yes, again the average man is faster than the average woman, and again, the ranges overlap for individuals. But that is not the quickness I was referring to.

            The quickness of a parry or a dodge is more important in a fight and in that the genders are also matched. If you’re running, you’re not fighting. The Adem are bodyguards. The are not running away from the fight. If the situation becomes that desperate, they are fighting so that their charge can escape.

          • Gajos
            Posted January 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

            Languge limits me :/ .

            If you look at the number in link , you will see that physical diffrences are to great to overcome .
            For example
            Adult man , Novice , weight 82 kg can
            – power clean 72kg
            – squat 100kg
            Let’s take o woman , about same high .
            Even if she would weight 75 kg ( I find it unlikely ) , if she trained her ass off for many years ( probably at least 8-10 ) , she can
            – power clean 85 kg
            – squat 115kg
            Those exercises are about sheer power , not brute strenght .
            As for endurance – they can run same distance but it takes more time .
            Quickness , as you mean it , is about nervous system and reflex.Form some point , there is nothing you can do about it .
            I would rather avoid any discussion about that. I can imagine , that is a major factor in sword fighting but not so much in bare hand combat. If you are 10kg lighter then the opponent it’s hard to block any of his attacks , if it’s 15kg – hard change to nearly impossible – escpecially if there are no gloves – woman has more fragile bone structure. And at the same time male opponent has only to avoid being hit in the groin , neck and eyes . He can take punch to the liver or stomach. He probably won’t go down even when he is hit in the chin . He can block attack with one hand , he can… he can do lot’s of things. Any diffrence in high it’s a big diffrence , same with wieght . Look if it was any diffrent , we woudn’t have weight categories every few kg . And , if women could match a men they would do separete contests for each.
            So it’s imposible that in the Adem the best fighters were all female . Not in the bare hand combat , at least.

            Ah ! I forgot to mention , that what I have in mind is duel between higly trained woman and at least fairly trained men.

        • Zerah
          Posted January 13, 2012 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

          You’re bothered about women being better than men in fighting in the book but you’re not bothered by the fact that magic and the fae exists?

          It’s a book. A fantasy novel. Dragons can exist, pigs can fly, anything and everything can happen in a book. So what if some women fight better than men in there? Those same people also happen to believe that men have nothing to do with making babies. It’s not that big a deal.

        • ASamuelson
          Posted January 18, 2012 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

          My wife is smaller and weaker then me, but she scares the hell out of me. I would fight to subdue. She fights to kill.

          Be afraid of woman… very afraid

  15. lizzylizletitgo
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

    * oops also, bear crawling and crab walking are good to do together

  16. K_Bailey42
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

    Holy crap, I’d probably keel over from nerdgasm-induced hyperventilation at a Con with both you AND Robin Hobb.

    Good Job on the resolutions, happiness is a worthy goal. I’m still using the same resolutions as I was 10 years ago, to quit smoking and get healthy. They really don’t work without some kind of accountability added in.. I’m still smoking like a chimney and my ass has a distinct couch-shape to it. But here’s hoping we can all stick to them this year, eh?

  17. Katori29
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:23 PM | Permalink

    I am going to hijack the Hanging out with friends. My biggest resolution this year is to take part in the San Diego Century, a 103 mile bike ride. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and this year I am going to do it on May 19th, wish me luck.

  18. Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:24 PM | Permalink

    I shared this post with my Air Force Professional Development class. Today we had a lesson on priorities, time/life management, and how valuable setting goals can be in actually achieving them. Thanks for giving me something juicy to discuss with everyone tomorrow, particularly from a somewhat alternative viewpoint.

  19. Chelonia
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

    Hi Pat! Thanks for posting this and good luck on your resolutions – they’re all really good goals :)

    I got a late start on my resolutions, so I’m on day 6 of not smoking, which is a resolution I’ve made every year for the past 10 and this is the first time I’ve made it past the 3rd day (with only a 90% success rate, but that’s 90% better than the previous 9 years). I’ve also resolved to read something by 10 authors I’ve never read before, and to finish every project I start, whether I’m writing a short story, knitting an afghan or rebuilding an engine.

  20. phayes
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:39 PM | Permalink

    My resolution is to finally quit bowel movements. I think I’m above them now.

  21. Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:57 PM | Permalink

    My resolution is to be more obnoxious, loud and semi-sociopathic as possible… that way i still stay neutral if i don’t carry carry on with my resolution.

    Although seriously all i said was in jest, i really never cared for resolutions, wherever actions i take in life are the ones that “tempt the cards of fate” thus my action’s are never wrong.
    In a way its fun :)….. Until destiny becomes a bitch and certain non-beatifical consequences happen.

  22. msandre
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:02 PM | Permalink

    What you have found is “community” It is one of the things that makes us human. So much of our brain is stimulated by the non verbal communication and interactions with other human beings. It is insainly important to our sanity to be with other people who “get” us. So much time is spent with electronic ( in my mind sterile) communication I wonder how people will relate in 40 or 50 years.

  23. TowelSmileGirl
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

    You kind of just blew my mind. In the last year I have done a lot of things that are fun, but not a lot that makes me happy. So far this year, I have been determined to be more productive, creative, play with my daughter and work on my art. I didn’t have a label for what I was doing, I just knew it made me feel good. But you’re absolutely right, I’m doing things that make me happy. Theyre not always easier, but they’re so much more worthwhile.

    Gardening is a lot of fun to do with kids, btw. They get t play in the dirt and learn about the earth! :)

  24. schulzmc
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

    I’ve never posted on a blog before – but this is the best blog entry I have ever read. Or maybe I’m drunk.

  25. theworm
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:55 PM | Permalink

    I was literally eating pringles while reading this post. i think i know my new years resolution.

  26. Widow Of Sirius
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:56 PM | Permalink

    I’m doing much of the same this year. I moved away from my friends for a part-time teaching job. I work extremely hard for it because I’m writing my own curriculum. The boyfriend graduated and is now unemployed so we’re stressing about money.

    So, to kick off my new year, I auditioned for a play, and I got the lead. It’ll be stressful, sure, but it’ll make me happy.
    I’m eating less and more healthily, because while it may be frustrating to go to bed a little hungry, I feel better every day.
    Finally, I’m both making time for seeing and just CALLING my friends. I know it’s weird to you, but I have most of my conversations with even my closest friends through text messaging or online chatting, and it’s not quite the same.

    It’s worth noting as well that the we are always willing to hang out ;)

  27. Lee
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:04 PM | Permalink

    Pride and deadlines, two of the greatest motivators.

    My resolution is to work my ass off in school this semester, but still enjoy the heck out of it. Basically, I’m out to have my cake and eat it too.

  28. MLBurt
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:14 PM | Permalink



    • Kay
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

      I seriously love that word!!!! Partake…hmm…looks better in caps. PARTAKE! awesome…

  29. FatRussianKid
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:23 PM | Permalink

    Challenge excepted! I too resolve to exercise at least 3 times a week.

  30. Jesss
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:27 PM | Permalink

    My resolution is to avoid bullshit intermediate steps, and if I want to do something, just fucking do it. :)

    Including quiet time every morning, yoga three times a week, and friend time every week.

    Pat you are pure awesome. Oot is a lucky kid.

  31. QWOPtain Crunch
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:59 PM | Permalink


    And I agree. Writing these kinds of things down does help to make it more of a concrete thing. If you tell it to yourself, it’s just words floating around the miasma of a brain. But if it’s written, well shit, it’s just become REAL. It’s now a part of this universe on that piece of paper/blog. It helps you snap you into it; helps to make you realize, “Oh crap, I actually NEED to do this thing.”

  32. JoeLlama
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:01 AM | Permalink

    Hey Pat (and everyone)! As far as working out goes, I’d recommend checking into Basically, you log exercises and get points, level up, complete quests, and get achievements. It plugs directly into the part of the brain that addicts you to the game-type aspects, only the game is played in meatspace. I’ve been trying to get an actual workout routine going for over a decade, and fitocracy was exactly what I needed to stick with it. It’s not a Facebook type time-sink, just a fun way to track progress.

    • fpgiv
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

      I completely recommend using Fitocracy. It’s great fun, very social, keeps me motivated, and very nerdy (quests and levels!).

      • fpgiv
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

        Also, there is an Order of Amyr group on it. Plus Browncoats, plus the Evil League of Evil!

        • JoeLlama
          Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

          Ha! I just joined the Order of Amyr, that’s awesome. (My username is TheMightyOkra)

      • nmnjr
        Posted January 11, 2012 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

        And fencing is a logable activity!

  33. Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:42 AM | Permalink

    I’m a big believer in resolutions. For me, it’s about self improvement, which I think is the second most important thing we can do in our lives (finding love and happiness being #1). Any excuse to improve yourself, no matter how arbitrary (ahem, New Year’s), is a worthy one.

    It’s a funny thing about New Year’s resolutions. We fail at them, or lapse, and suddenly they’re done. Gone. But we all know what to do when we fall off a horse. Somehow that goes out the window and the cynicism comes flying in. Amazing to me.

    I’m glad you’ve decided to start playing board games with friends again. That was a big one for me too, so I think I understand. We just started playing Descent on a regular game night. It’s a lot of fun.

    Now I just have to find a way to get invited to yours. Does anyone scalp tickets at the door?

  34. Daniel Goldberg
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:11 AM | Permalink

    Your new years eve sounds fairly close to mine! We were planning on playing Power Grid or Small World but we ended up having too many people and had to opt for some less strategic yet still fun party games.

    Resolutions for me? I would like to finish a book. I know that seems like an expected resolution on this blog but I have started and not finished multiple times and regardless of any sort of recognition or publication it would be nice to actually finish the dang thing.

    Happy New Year!

  35. Lochcelious
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:17 AM | Permalink

    Wait, 250 books? And you edit your own book of course, with wife and a child? What kind of god are you?

  36. Rhia
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:20 AM | Permalink

    I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions either, but at the moment I struggle with motivating myself to really work on papers for university.
    Now, whenever I find myself lacking motivation, I trick myself into working better. This time the plan is as follows:
    Yesterday, I recieved four books (Le Guin, Gaiman, Adams and Lehtolainen (great finnish Author, but I don’t know if there are English translations of her stuff)). Now, those books teasingly sit on the shelf, but the trick is, I’m not allowed to read them before I haven’t written two brilliant papers:
    I don’t know if that’s any help for you, Pat, or anyone else, but whenever I really need to motivate myself, I trick myself like that.

  37. Vera
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:37 AM | Permalink

    Sometimes when I feel something it is hard to put into words. But you always seem to manage to say exactly what I can’t describe. (fun is like pringles, that is just genius!)
    Reading your books makes me happy. It’s not just fun, it genuinely makes me happy.

    I want to make somebody else happy (friend or stranger). Because I think making somebody else happy, makes me happy too.
    When I see that someone else feels so happy he can just throw busses around and ya know, just feel all firefly inside, then that feeling rubs off on me and I feel like joining and throwing a few busses of my own.

    I am not making this a resolution for the year, it is a resolution. I am just going to do it. If I am hungry I eat ;)

  38. christie
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:39 AM | Permalink

    I am glad happiness is agreeing with you.

    I have to admit that I cringed getting to the end of your post…it was difficult to resist the urge to cover my eyes and read through a space between my fingers… fearing the last line would read…”and so this will be my last entry”.

    I’m glad it’s not the last.
    Cheers to enjoying life.

    • Little My
      Posted January 11, 2012 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

      I had that same worry as I was reading!

  39. schiotka
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:00 AM | Permalink

    Hi, I’m kinda disappointed that publishing the third book this year is not on the resolution list, ya know? ;)
    But I hope that you succeed with the ones you made, good luck with that:)
    I know this doesn’t work like that, you don’t just sit down and write , but c’mon – 250 books on the good reads challenge – it is a LOT of time with a book in the hand. I got my self 50 on the list and I know I can easily triple that (considering my last years count) – being busy mum it’s good number.
    If I would make resolution It would be to read the third book in the King killer Chronicles trilogy ;) Pleeeeease :)

  40. Nicham
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:33 AM | Permalink

    Fuck being an adult! Oh, wait, sorry, just my knee jerk reaction. My resolution is also to diminish my awesome mass. I got a gym membership and everything. Now if I could just find the motivation to put down Skyrim and go…

  41. Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

    Ahh, goal-setting. I deal with that a lot as a wanna-be Olympic pistol shooter. You hit all the main keys, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and sorta time-bound (they are immediate). Putting it out where where you can feel accountable, major plus. Give us a brief update in a month to say you’ve done the things… heck, I’ll send you an email and ask. :D

    And I suspect a LOT of people have self-ostracized themselves. I know I have, started doing it back in 1992 and I have successfully not had friends within 1000 miles of my home for about 2 years now. Ernest Cline sees it too, hence the total immersion into OASIS.

    • AlanAdams23
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

      Good point on Ready Player One. I loved how Cline built the entire background story to some simple yet powerful last few lines.

  42. AlanAdams23
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:38 AM | Permalink

    Great goals, just don’t get in the trap of doing them because you said you’d do them and always to the letter of the law…that’s where resolutions go astray. For example, don’t focus on the fact that you need to hang out with his Grand Ootness for at least two hours a day, focus on the fact that you want to do something with him that takes precedence over everything else. Today it might be an hour of wrestling and stories, but tomorrow it may be 6 hours at the zoo. Worry less about the time and metrics and more about what you/he are getting out of it. I’m sure that was already the intent but I just wanted reinforce it.

  43. Sokol
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

    Back when I was in high school, I was forced to read “Moby Dick”. There’s something about forcing a kid to read a classic in a time-line that is guarenteed to suck any enjoyment he (or she let’s not be sexist here) right out of the book. Needless to say, I got halfway through, and promptly hit the Cliff Notes.

    So last week when my daughters and I were at Barnes & Noble, I picked up another copy. I guess my resolution is to revisit some things I may have unjust rejected. And you know what, it isn’t bad. There are some parts that are actually humerous.

    Also, I entered the lottery to run the New York City marathon.

  44. TangentialMind
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

    Since no one mentioned this already I wanted to tell you how much the resolution to hang out w/ Oot reminds me of Sam Vimes in THUD!
    Remember to set your watch!

  45. Jsherry
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    So true, Pat. We do so much of this other stuff ostensibly FOR our families, we acknowledge that they are the most important thing in our lives, and then we end up spending the smallest percentage of our time with them. As the father of a now-7-year-old, I had a similar realization when he was younger – that there was something fucked up with a life in which I found it hard to devote one hour of my day to him. And I can already tell you from experience that if you don’t do it often enough, kids will remember the days you said you were to busy to play more than the ones on which you blew off work to play LEGOs with them for 8 hours. I teach and direct, so I always figure the copious time I devote to him over the summer must make up for all of the Finals Weeks and Tech Weeks, right? Wrong. (All week my son has been begging me to shoot a stop-motion movie with him..Why on Earth would it take me days to find the time for it? That’s like 3 perfect reasons for blowing off work all rolled into one).

    Thanks for the reminder to keep trying harder. I’ve never made a New Year’s resolution either, but remembering to give more of myself to my reason for being seems a worthwhile one.

    • Jsherry
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

      Er, *”too busy,” not “to.”

      (It’s my inability to let stupid things like that go that probably makes it difficult to balance my time well.)

    • worldtraveler
      Posted January 11, 2012 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

      “remembering to give more of myself to my reason for being” – nice.

  46. Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    50,000 Gaiman-Day units for this post. Not exaggerating – coolest thing you’ve written on here for the sheer honesty.

    I’ll state my three in the Edwardian past tense since *resolving* feels too fluid for me:

    1. Resolved: To recognize myself as an individual distinct and separate from anything I do, say or think. I’m not my career. I’m whom and how much I love.

    2. Resolved: To apologize to anyone I’ve wounded in the past and leave no regret as far as it depends on me. More than this, to mend the present with forgiveness and wonder.

    3. Resolved: To work out long and hard enough that I stop having back pain. I’m 24. I shouldn’t have my chiropractor comparing me to 67-year-old patients.

    These won’t be on my site, so this is probably the only place I’ll write them. Thanks for the opportunity to think that through…

  47. Gunner
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for articulating my own feelings so well and clarifying why some really fun things still feel like such major wastes of time. One thing to keep in mind is that rest is vital in proper moderation, and without it we get burned out. I can’t tell you how much I desperately needed the two days straight of Skyrim after a year and a half of being a new dad. Sometimes you just need to recharge that way. But at the same time, if you can both rest AND meet your other needs, like socializing with friends, then that is the far superior option.

    I commend you for your resolution to spend more time with your child. For some reason it’s so easy to forget that sitting around making goofy faces with your kid is a thousand times more important than almost every other obligation we have. Gotta put that kind of thing in the #1 slot even if it means other “good” and “important” things can no longer be fit in. As I’ve heard said, sometimes you have to sacrifice the good for the great.

  48. guessingo
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    250 books/year? how fast do you read? how much time do you spend reading each week? Im happy if I get through 25-30.

  49. Gock
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    If you want to exercise you could try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I love the art, it’s done great things for me. But I don’t know if you have any good schools in your area.

  50. Grady
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:55 PM | Permalink
  51. Grady
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Permalink

    Annnnd I am an idiot… lets try that again:

    About the exercise thing — last year I did Walk Wisconsin with my mom and wife. It is a noncompetitive walk with 1/4, 1/2, and full marathon walks on the beautiful Green Circle Trail in Stevens Point and Plover.

    We did the 1/2 marathon last year and had a great time.

    • ASamuelson
      Posted January 18, 2012 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

      You married your MOM?!?

      (tee hee)

  52. Luke
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

    Here’s an article you might like from the NYT about willpower and keeping resolutions:

    Short version: Willpower is a resource, if you rely on it too much you will run out so use other means to avoid relying on willpower alone.

  53. Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    I think if I were to resolve to do anything, it would be to actually follow through on a project. I seem to always get something started without seeing it through to the finish.

    1. To build a website for my neice (She is a photographer and I want to give her a place to showcase her work)

    2. To actually read all the books on my “to-read” list before I add on some more lol.

    3. To write a Short Story every week. Keep those writing skills properly exercised.

  54. joedetroit
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

    So I checked the ConFusion website (just to see if it was relatively close to me) and the hotel is about, oh, 5 miles from my house (can I get a ‘Hell Yeah!’) so I’ll be there.

    I’ll have to go pick up the paper versions of your books to sign, because you’re not signing my Kindle…

    Note to self- get my copy of Old Man’s War back from my sister-in-law…

    See ya,

  55. ssw166
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    My resolution (right after finishing Name of the Wind and Wise Man’s Fear all over again): do everything I can (and then some) to prevent the series from becoming a movie. It’s just not the sort of things that belongs on screen, if you catch my meaning. It’s too deep for that.

    Also. 250 books???? That’s more than a book every 2 days! You’re insane, but you’re a master, so I’ll leave it to you.

    Consider returning to fencing? :)

  56. StellaLuna
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

    Thanks so much, Pat. Last year was a banner year for me, too (Ph.D., dissertation book deal, world travel, etc.). And I live 3,000 miles and an entire culture away from my best girl friend. So I hear you on the “I’m doing what I want to/have to do but I sometimes think I should probably stop doing it for a while and pay attention to real people” line of thinking. Happy resolutioning!

  57. Rob
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

    I’m the sort of person who has never joined a gym simply because I know myself well enough that I know I’ll never go. I didn’t really start exercising on a daily basis until I got a dog. Now I take the dog for a long walk every day. I don’t do it for love of walking or exercise. I do it because I love the dog. All that said, there’s no reason you can’t combine your love of your child with your exercise. Take him sledding, once we get some snow, . . . or something. You’ll get your exercise and you’ll be pleased about it at the same time.

  58. Ojodelgato
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 7:56 AM | Permalink


    I really only have 3 resolutions that I’m working on, the problem is that when I break them down into concrete actions I end up with about 30. Looking at the list it seemed rediculous.

    So taking a lesson from the Politicians making so much news this year, I just re-labeled everything – and everythings the same, but it sounds really different. I now have 3 GOALS that I want to accomplish this year – with about 30 necessary ACTIVITIES that move me to finish the goals. Nothing new here, just using Marketing to fool myself.

  59. Maureen
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 8:12 AM | Permalink

    Here, here, Pat. (And yes, buy the You Are Not So Smart book. Really fun articles).

    I have an anecdote that relates to the need to be with friends.

    One of my best friends was having a couple of really bad months about this time last year, and asked if we could make it a point to call each other at least once a week (she lives a couple states over). I was hesitant. “I need this specific time to wind down from work” and “I am terrible at commitment” wafted through my head. But, she was my best friend, and she was having a tough time. So we made it a point that day to start calling each other on Tuesdays.

    At first the conversations were fairly long, because we didn’t talk all the time. But, slowly, as we caught up and as her life began to even out, it became quick 10-minute conversations. And then it became “well, I just caught up with her last week, and I have stuff to worry about right now.” But that was over very fast because I realized after a month that I needed to speak to her every week, even if only for 10 minutes, because it made my whole week better.

    So then I started calling other friends weekly (I also have a lot of friends in other states). And I discovered that, even if i only spend 10 minutes a day out of myself and with someone I love, is important to my happiness and effects every other part of my life.

    So, having been in your situation where I had been very isolated and not known it, I recognize the improvement that has come both in my life and in me in being able to be with the people I love more (even if over the phone). I wholeheartedly support you, and suggest you go one step further in scheduling weekly times to talk to the people you love on a regular basis, even if only for 10 minutes. It’s only .7% of a day, but it makes a huge difference.

  60. HiHoSilver
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 9:46 AM | Permalink


    This was one of the most encouraging posts that I have seen. I wanted to give you the thumbs up for choosing measurable goals that will bring some levels of peace and joy into your life. By the way, board games FTW! Any enlightenment over which games you played?

  61. Constance
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 10:54 AM | Permalink

    Pat, you should take up LARP again. It’s a great social exercise, you get out, you get to wear funny clothes, and you get to beat up your friends. (If you’re playing the right kinds of games.) Even better – you can use Oot as a prop. Babies make great McGuffins!

  62. worldtraveler
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    Psychological scurvy is a great analogy.

    You might also be interested in regarding happiness & experiences or Gilbert on happiness. Here’s something of his

    Writing goals down really is the first step to making them happen. It makes them concrete rather than ephemeral. An *I will* rather than an *I wish*. *I want* is lame. *I will* is strong. Publicly writing down your goals makes you accountable in some way, and definitely goes to the prideful thing.

    I too am of the less is more approach with goals…3-4 is about right for me. For 2012,

    – I *will* walk/dance/move at least 2x/week
    – I *will* spend my time on what matters to me (home, friends and family, hobbies, reading)
    – I *will* cook more and eat out less

    Good luck with your resolutions!


    • worldtraveler
      Posted January 11, 2012 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

      Changing/adding to the second one, courtesy of Jsherry “remembering to give more of myself to my reason for being” Yes!

      For an easy goal tracker, Lifehacker just posted that is the most popular goal-tracking service. I just signed up. Easy to use. Hoping that will mean I stick to it. My other lists haven’t worked.

      One tip I have used successfully in the past is to print out my goals and tack to my bathroom mirror. Reading them every day does help.

  63. Niccolo
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

    Well, just this New Years I started to think hard about what I want to do this year, and figured out, I should do only one or two things but make sure I really do them. So yeah, better than a whole list of things you don’t do.

    Second, few things are as good as meeting your friends. But, well, I love reading your blog, so I like it when you ‘hang out in your head with us all and write blogs’, it is very, very, very interesting.

    By the way one of my resolutions: Say the things you want so say and stop with just thinking them. (Yeah, thats why I actually posted the comment.)

  64. JadeDawn
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 8:02 PM | Permalink

    My resolutions are to fill my bookshelf, lose 10 pounds, and laugh at everyone who give away all their money and belongings because the think the end of the world is actually going to happen.

  65. Kyroh
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 1:34 AM | Permalink

    Pat, I fully realize that you probably won’t even read this comment, but I just wanted to leave one and say that this blog is touching to me as a reader of yours. In 2007, I read Name of the Wind. I had a new favorite book and a new favorite author. I found his blog. I added him on facebook. I followed his life and writings as closely as I could. In 2008, 2009, 2010, I thirsted for the next installment of the series. I was never one to get mad at this author for taking 4 years to release the next book, but I will admit I got a little impatient.

    In 2011, I finally read book 2, and you know what? I got mad at myself for being impatient. That book simply revitalized my love for this author, this series. I couldn’t imagine getting a half-polished version 2 years earlier. I also realized it could have taken twice as long to be released, and I still would have spent the entire day that it was released holed up in my room reading the book, only stopping for necessary bathroom and meal breaks. I had the book pre-ordered at a book store, but realized I could buy it on eBook and download it at midnight and read on my phone until the book store opened.

    Now it’s 2012, almost 5 years since I was first introduced to this author. And despite never having a conversation with him personally (despite a couple quick conversations filled with nervous stammering on my end at a few of his signings), I feel a pretty strong connection with him. I’m not only interested in his work, his story, but also in his general happiness in his own life.

    I realize this comment may have become a little long winded, and that may be because I’ve had a couple drinks (don’t judge me, helped a friend celebrate something important tonight). But I just wanted to say that I personally, as I’m sure many fans, are 100% behind you deciding to do some re-prioritizing. I don’t just resign to accept it, but I want you to spend hours, every day, with your child, with Sarah, with your friends. If it would make you happy to blow off any form of writing for days, weeks, just to hang out with friends and family, do it. If it pushes back the publication date on book 3, who gives a shit (besides maybe your publisher). I will happily wait as long as necessary on a polished version if it means that the man who has given me my favorite fantasy series can live a happy life.

    • Library Lasciel
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

      I joined specifically so I could AMEN that last post.

      For my own right – take care of yourself, Pat. You are a fantastic person, and only in small part because of the things you write. Everyone needs real life connections to thrive, even fantastic author persons! As my husband points out, my “imaginary internet friends” don’t ever cook me dinner, or play Smallworld: Underground with me. Enjoy your family and friends, and be HAPPY, not fun. As we all should be.

  66. Hugo
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 1:57 AM | Permalink

    Hey Pat, you’re absolutely right! I completely agree with you! And I congratulate you for choose really important goals for this new year…and your friends will be happy with you, because even you are famous, you still remeber your friends, and your family!

    I will not write too much because my english is really bad (im from Brazil :D)…

    But, just want to ask you : Will any of this resolutions result in any delay to the last book ?(Please, im not being selfish and I’m not forgetting about your social life, 0k? And, like I said, my english is not that good, so I cant discuss about philosophical things like all these guys who already posted )

    Bye Pat, i REALLY love your books, you got talent…rare talent! And, AGAIN, sorry for my SHAMEFUL english!

  67. SotL
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 7:20 AM | Permalink

    Starving for social interaction is something I can deeply sympathize with. I’m living abroad for a job right now and the number one reason I’m not going to sign on for a second year is how insane having no one to talk to face to face with open hearts makes me and how much of a recluse I’ve become. I love the country, I love the people, I love the work, but I don’t love being a half-mad hermit.

    Love the ones you’re with while you can :-D You’ve got some great resolutions there!

  68. Negi Ramen
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

    When I read your opinion about New Year’s Resolutions I thought, you’re right, but when I discovered this part…

    “It was the most fun I’ve had in ages. And after everyone went home, I felt good. Not just happy, but physically and emotionally healthy. I felt like a million dollars.

    No. I felt better than that. I felt like a second season of Firefly.

    Seriously. A full 22 episode season. I felt that good.”

    … I just didn’t know what to say.
    In December my brother recommended a tv-show to me and told me it’s great, but when I watched Firefly it definetely has not just been great, it’s been more awesome than almost anything I watched before.

    So I’ve got to tell you, you found the best way to let me understand the way you felt this day. A whole second season of Firefly…would be more than amazing.

  69. erika
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

    Hi Pat, I never had new years resolutions either, but this year I really wanna to get my biology degree and I’m happy to said that on jan 16th I finally passed my two last classes to get it. And it was really great ’cause I just finished to read your second book on that very same day earlier, at noon i was reading the last page, at 1:50 pm I was looking at the list of human reproduction and endocrinology (i got a 8.5 something like a B+ in one of the most hardest classes ever, so i was pretty happy) and at 3:00 o’clock I was talking whit the teacher of my seminar class who gave me a 10 or an A. So that day was really great for me, i finished to read an amazing book and i finished my classes in university, and with this it comes other things like take the test for two foreign languages (i’m in Mexico City) and all the paperwork to actually get my degree that includes an examination with my tutor and other 3 really scary members of the faculty, but that doesn’t matter cause its more like a formality. Anyway, I just wanna to tell you THANK YOU for make this last two months more fun and let me forget all the stress in my life, THANK YOU for that awesome book.

  70. Posted January 25, 2012 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

    Sometimes you want to put a bullet through your brain, just to end the pain. What’s the point of even continuing to try, when every thing you attempt just ends in failure. Why not just give up and rid the world of a useless parasite. It sometimes seems that it would be better for everyone if I just ceased to exist. Why keep struggling when it does NOT get better. I’ve been living on the hope that it would get better for 45 years now. If it were going to get better, it would have by now. It’s just too damn hard to keep hoping.

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