January 1, 2013

Writing Resolutions

I used to jot down yearly writing resolutions, goals that I hoped to accomplish in the twelve months ahead. After a few years, I realized most of these were simply part of the day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year life of a writer. Alas, no need to write them down now... but here they are anyway.

Write write write. Stories, chapters, plays, poems, and screenplays. As much as you can, whenever you can. Waiting for the right mood only leads to writing paralysis.

Read read read. This helps to keep the inspiration juices flowing. When my reading falters, I notice my writing slows down as well.

Submit to magazines and journals regularly. You want to maintain that thick skin for the ongoing rejections that are inevitable. Oh, and keep good records.

Attend more lit events, readings, fairs and festivals. Drag your introverted self out to at least a few of these every year.

Sign up for a creative writing class. Or a grammar class or a screenwriting class. Something related to the craft. If you're lucky, you'll meet a writing buddy or two. Maybe a mentor.

Join or start a writing workshop. Having other writers critique your work through revisions can help you stay focused. A group keeps the wheels turning.

Read aloud. Finally checked this off my list last year with my first reading. It was terrifying, to be sure, but like everyone said, the second was a tad easier.

Blog and tweet. Meaningful thoughts and nonsensical crap. Hey, writing is writing. A great way for hermits to connect with the outside world, with other writers.

Expand your vocabulary. Sit a dictionary by your bed. When you wake in the middle of the night, read a page and let new words sink in to your subconscious.

Record dreams. An excellent source of inspiration for new work or revision problem solving. Keep a notebook by your bed, alongside the dictionary, to write down dream memories while they're still fresh.

Enter contests. Although I'm not much for contests, it's another way to get your work read and possibly published. Entry fees often include a subscription.

Apply for grants. Get to know what's available (some grants only require one publication.) True, they're a pain in the ass to write and decisions can be super random, but writing applications does get easier with practice.

Journal. Go buy a shiny new notebook at the dollar store. A place to scribble random thoughts, ideas, and dialogue that come without warning.

Revise or finish older work. Sift through those half-finished abandoned drafts lurking in the shadows. Find a gem desperate for your attention.

Write outside your comfort zone. If you always write in first person, try third. Love the past tense, try present. Always writing realist works, try a sci-fi tale. Your comfort zone isn't going anywhere.

Research publishers and presses. You know, for when you finally get that book done.

Write a better bio. I need to do this. Still trying to think of something clever without sounding like a jackass.

Believe believe believe. Keep your delusions of grandeur alive and well. Hard work and patience do pay off, but daring to dream the impossible helps one persevere.

Do you have writing resolutions? Will you keep them?

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