This weekend we’ll be ringing in the new year. There will be lots of looking back on the past twelve months, lots of Best Of lists being put together, and lots of plans made for 2012. I want to focus on that last and offer an opportunity for all in MW land to share their writerly resolutions for the coming year. Not desperately original, I confess, but hopefully useful.
To be clear, I’m not looking for hopes, dreams or even goals, and certainly not those achievements over which we have only minimal control (landing an agent or a publisher, say, hitting the bestseller list or scoring a movie deal). I’m looking for things which are more directly the results of our own efforts and determination, the things we resolve to do, decisions of a practical nature which will—hopefully—make us better or more productive writers. Perhaps if you force yourself to come up with (and share publicly) your resolution, it might last, unlike those vague promises to go to the gym every morning. And to make it more interesting, I’ll be following up in the course of the year to see if people managed to follow through.
I’ll get the ball rolling.
Instead of writing for Magical Words every other week as I have been doing for the last two years, I’m taking over Ed’s slot in addition to my own and will thus be writing every Friday from here on. Hopefully you won’t get sick of “hearing” my voice.
Read more. In between every thing else I have to do (including, ironically, writing) reading often gets squeezed into those fifteen-minutes-before-bed slots. I resolve to do better. I need to know my field, to be inspired, to learn from other writers.
(Predictably) Write more. The last few years have been pretty productive for me, but I know I can do more and better. To that end I need to be focused in shaping up stories in outline form, more disciplined in hammering them out, and faster in getting to something editable.
This is trickier. I need to be more ambitious creatively. I don’t mean I want to be more successful (who doesn’t?), but that I want to be edgier, more exciting, more surprising, more innovative in the core of my work. I must force myself to distrust formula, emulation and market trends in the pursuit of something distinctive and unique.
Trickier still, I want to make time (somehow) for painting. I used to do this a lot, but it’s been years now since I’ve broken out the water colors, and I suspect I don’t see quite as well as a result. Writers need to be able to see. I need to recapture that sense of the visual and painting will be my attempt.
I think that’s enough to be going on with. What about you? Feel free to borrow and adapt from mine, but let’s see you stick your neck out and commit to something that all at MW can hold you to in the year to come!
Good luck and Happy New Year.