Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year’s Resolutions for Writers – 2012 Style by Cathy Dilts

The much dreaded and anticipated year 2012 unfurls. Maybe you have your reservations for a hotel in the Yucatan Peninsula in anticipation of the end of the world. Or perhaps you share my cynicism about the accuracy of the Mayan calendar.

Believer or scoffer, the threat of the demise of civilization as we know it does have a powerful motivating effect. This is the year to finish that manuscript, sell a short story, enter a contest!

Have you made any writing resolutions? If you need inspiration, I have attached links to various takes on Writer’s New Year’s Resolutions at the end of this article. But remember, inspiration is a spark you have the responsibility to fan into a flame. If you can’t afford to waste precious writing time, I have gleaned some tidbits from the plethora of articles on the internet. 

-       If you are spending more time writing about writing and talking about writing than actually writing, shut up, apply butt to seat of chair, and write.

-       Set concrete goals. Becoming a better writer is too lofty. How are you going to accomplish your goal? For example, “I will improve my writing by attending X workshop, class, conference,” then register for the event. Entering a contest is too vague. Better is “I will enter the PPW fiction contest in 2012,” then mark the deadline for the contest on your calendar so you don’t forget.

-       Trust yourself. Seek advice, read how-to books, try critique group, attend workshops. But at the end of the day it’s your story, and you have to tell it the way it needs to be told.  

-       Remember that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity (quote attributed to Albert Einstein). This whole New Year’s resolution thing is about wiping your slate clean and starting fresh. You can’t get the hang of outlining? Try seat of the pants writing. Critique group is stifling your creativity? Drop out. Can’t write when you get home from work because you’re too tired? Set your alarm for an hour earlier and write before you go to work.  

Here are just a few results from my Google search for writers’ New Year’s resolutions.

1) Setting realistic writing goals:

2) Tamera Craft offers writer’s resolutions in a short and sweet list with links to articles expanding on each resolution, such as how to make time for writing:

3) What writers say about New Year’s resolutions – quotes:

4) Sally Jenkins lists a few concrete resolutions involving contests, and gives the links if you want to try your hand at them:

5) Resolutions from a non-fiction writer:

6) Resolutions from a memoir writer:

7) Using a writing quote instead of a list of resolutions:

8) An entertaining New Year’s resolution article by Daniel Sanchez from 2009, but worth revisiting:

9) Ten popular resolutions for writers:

10) Creative writing prompts based on New Year’s Eve:

11) The Surly Muse takes a humorous look at resolutions:

About the Writer: Cathy Dilts is an assistant editor for the PPW blog. She writes cozy murder mystery and inspirational fiction, and has recently begun writing short stories because they’re easier to fit in to her busy schedule. Cathy’s publication experience is similar to fishing – getting lots of nibbles on the line, but no bites yet.

In her spare time, she enjoys raised bed gardening, which her husband claims look the perfect size for burying bodies, while reminding her that you can’t get rid of the bones.