Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolutions for Writers

Making New Year's resolutions is not something I usually engage in. I'm the gal you hate who shows up at the gym three days a week unless I'm sick or have my annual gyny exam, and the other days I'm out for a three mile walk even in the coldest and hottest weather. I don't resolve to lose weight after the holidays, because I generally eat healthy all year long. After the little indulgence I allow myself, I actually look forward to getting my digestive system back on track. However, this year I do need to make some resolutions––about my writing.

So here goes:

RESOLVED to focus most of my creativity on my writing.

Each time I join a new volunteer organization I'm determined to remain only a foot soldier. Then my natural creativity kicks in causing me to suggest all kinds of new ideas and programs. As anyone who volunteers knows a suggestion is as good as a committee chair. This year I will downgrade all my volunteer activities, not in terms of time, but in terms of the thought I'm putting in to the detriment of my writing.

RESOLVED to submit more.

Writing is so much more fun than submitting, and as the rejections pile up it gets even harder to motivate myself. Until recently I had only about two or three pieces circulating at any one time to as many markets. That is not a formula for success. At a recent conference, one successful writer said he submits the same piece to seven markets at a time. If they all reject it, he revises and sends out seven more. Sounds like a good method, though I am going to send out just five at a time. It isn't as lucky but it's easier.

RESOLVED to do better research before submitting.

This is tough because it means "reading like a writer" which just isn't as much fun as reading solely for entertainment. It means homing in on what aspects different stories in the same publication have in common and that can mean reading a story in the same issue more than once. It's going to be hard, but while writing can be purely for enjoyment, getting published is a business like any other and involves some aspects that are more work than fun.

RESOLVED to spend more time reading current fiction.

No I'm not one of those writers who thinks I can get by without reading. I love to read. It's a matter of what. I read a lot of nonfiction, especially history, and tend not to get around to novel and short story collections until they've been around for a year or two. Also, as noted under "research" I like to read purely for entertainment and will skip the latest best-seller or the book by the current literary wunderkind if I the subject doesn't appeal to me. That's not good. As with any business one needs to stay up on the trends––like them or not.

The great thing about a blog is I can come back here next year and see what I wrote. Will I have kept my resolutions or will I be like those people who crowd the gym every January and disappear with the first crocus?

Do you have any writing-related resolutions? I'd love to hear them.



Angie Ledbetter said...

All good goals, Nannette. Got a lot of those on my own list. And blogged about it today too.

Happy, healthy, successful 09 to you!

sapheyerblu said...

I'm so impressed. First of all, I am NOT the health nut type, but I am a hopeless volunteer. And I will stop everything to read up on all the latest historic facts and finds.

My only goals for this year are to keep my blogs updated a little more and to finish my second e-book. I figure if I can achieve those 2 goals, then I've done okay. I'm not a great goal keeper, but I do what I can. LOL

Here's to you keeping your goals for this coming year. Happy New Year, Nanette


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