We think of resolutions as occurring with the new year, but when it comes to creative endeavors, commitment, and often re-commitment, resolutions arise year ‘round.
I love getting emails from writers who say, “I’ve dusted off my old novel (memoir, how-to, etc.), and am back to it.”
The love of the written word, and how we all connect with it, always warms my heart.
But like dieting resolutions, scaling back a hair will help you successfully meet your goals. So, let’s put our writing resolutions on a diet, so that we can bolster the power behind making our dreams come true, and focus on the crux of the issue.
Here are 5 ways:
Number One: Slow Down.
Everyone wants to be published yesterday. That in itself isn’t a bad thing—it’s one of those goals that keep you slogging through the slough of despond, as John Bunyan would say.
But I can promise you this is one of those instances where the tortoise beats the hare.
The number-1 thing I see that trips writers up is rushing.
I always cringe when someone comes back to me with revisions quickly—because I know before even looking that everything will have to be redone! Hurrying will leave cracks in the walls of your story’s structure someone will drive a Mack truck through. And it’s a true creativity killer.
Number Two: Take a Publishing-News Fast.
Let’s face it—the news from publishing is mostly depressing. Major imprints closing down. Editors losing jobs all over the place. The latest news of print sales rising is, of course, compared to a steep fall in previous years.
Some of us have no choice but to follow the business end of things, but you don’t—you can take a nice long fast from this and let your creativity soar.
Whenever I’m writing, I let publishing go take a long hike—in the opposite direction from the path I walk.
Number Three: Let your Creativity Soar!
Write, write, write, and write. Don’t self-edit as you go, just tag along behind your characters and see where they take you. Follow every thread, no matter how whimsical it seems. In fact, the more fantastical in the creative phase, the better!
Run with it. Laugh, play, dance with the drama. You will go into book editing and revision way on down the line (so you never have to worry that you’ll be embarrassed later about some bone-head move now). For now, be free!
Number Four: Damn the Naysayers.
And those are legion! Let their lists of all the ways you can’t make it in publishing roll off your shoulders. Easier said than done? Nah. Just let them ramble on and as they’re doing so, say (silently), whether to your own demons or those of your mother-in-law: “You’re probably right. But at this minute, I’m immersed in novel development; I have a scene, chapter, story to write. I’ll get with you later.”
Number Five: Remember that Writing Well is a Journey.
This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Again, our point isn’t to be published next week. Our point is to write beautiful stories with characters who leap off the page, and with whom we all want to tag along for their journeys.
All we’re looking for is progress, growth, the ability to see that what you’ve written today was better than yesterday, or last week, or last year . . . And I can absolutely guarantee that if you write, if you read and study your craft, and write again, you will get better.
And one day, maybe even in 2016, you will look up and realize: I am a writer!