Friday, December 30, 2011

Five New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

New Year Sunrise
Image by joka2000 via Flickr

In just two short days, 2012 will dawn, bringing with it the same promise of every previous new year. Many of us will make resolutions to ourselves and our loved ones: to eat less, exercise more, be nicer, become organized, etc.

If you are a writer, chances are good that by March, most of those resolutions will have gone out the window. When you are stuck on your storyline, that bag of chips or box of cookies will practically jump into your hands. When your creative juices are flowing, who has time to jump on a treadmill? Whether your writing is going well or poorly, the chance that you will snap off the hand (or various other extremities) of anyone interrupting you is close to 100 percent. And, of course, any writer who claims to be organized must be fooling himself.

Therefore, I present to you a few resolutions you might actually keep:

1. Avoid Gloating. That five-star review that’s got you over the moon today? Go ahead and share it. However, don’t assume that every reader will think you are the next (insert most-admired author’s name here). In fact, tomorrow you may suffer the crushing blow of a one-star review. Which leads to…

2. Don’t Lash Out in Anger. Remember, people, the internet is forever. Just because someone doesn’t like your work, doesn’t mean he or she is an imbecile or a monster. If you call him or her that, you are the one who winds up looking like a fool and probably losing readers as a result.

3. Finish that Novel/Novella/Short Story. I understand that not everyone writes at the same pace. However, endlessly polishing your work (yes, I am talking about that manuscript that is now in its fifteenth draft) is just another form of procrastination. It’s done. Publish it already. After that…

4. Write More. We are all proud of our first novels. When we finally put them out into the world, we can’t help but believe our baby is going to shine brighter than any literary star out there. And maybe it will, someday. In the meantime, it’s going to be overshadowed by the brilliance of other works. You know what will help your baby grow brighter? A few siblings. A cluster of stars always shines more brightly – think of the Milky Way.

5. Be Kind to Fellow Travelers. Writing is often a solitary road, even in today’s connected world. Therefore, when you read someone else’s good news on Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else, take a moment to congratulate them. If someone is down, offer comfort and encouragement. If you know the answer to a question, share it. Try not to trample the dreams of others. That dream might be the only lifeline they have left.

 Happy New Year! Here’s wishing all of you a bright, productive 2012!

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1 comment:

  1. I love these resolutions and I promise to try and follow them! TY Susan and I hope 2012 is a promising one for us all!


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