Revisiting Your Writing Resolutions

25 Jan

by Julie Eshbaugh

~~~

We are quickly approaching the end of the first month of 2011, and I thought today would be a good day to look back at our writing resolutions, assess our progress, and consider any new goals we should be setting.

At the start of the new year, we here at Let the Words Flow made the following resolutions:

My writing resolution is to be a more patient writer.  Right now I try to force my writing too much.  My goal is to let my writing flow more naturally.

-Julie

Gah, just one resolution? There’s a million things I want to do better. I just finished Bird by Bird and it’s really inspired me. Mostly though, I want to experience more. Whether that means reading more or just getting out of the house, I want to open myself up to more possibilities for inspiration.

-Savannah

After all the cookies I’ve been eating, I want to make use of the gym that’s included with my ridiculous tuition… but a more writerly resolution is to focus on one writing project at a time instead of jumping between several.

-Jenn

Oh, New Year’s resolutions….:] As far as writing goes (though I suppose this applies to all aspects of my life), I resolve to start practicing what I preach and develop my patience. Things will happen. Things will come. Just need to work at it, not fuss over it

-Kat

I have so many resolutions this year, but I think I’ll agree with Kat and say that I’d like for 2011 to be the year I learn to be patient. I’ve got a lot of waiting ahead of me this year (with QUEEN OF GLASS coming out in 2012), so learning to be patient will be a pretty useful skill! And I’d also like to stop eating so many double stuff oreos.

-Sarah

My resolution is to find a balance: between keeping up with my client’s needs, answering submissions, completing conference talks, meeting deadlines, and promoting current releases, there is always a lot to do. My Hope for 2011 is to continue the juggling act. And not drop any balls.

-Mandy

My resolutions this year are pretty simple for once! I want to complete the 2011 Debut Author Challenge, and finish up the manuscript I’m working on. Nothing too exciting from me this coming year!

-Sammy

As I read through these, I noticed that they could be broken down into three neat categories:

1.)    Patience (Julie, Kat, and Sarah)

2.)   Self-Discipline (Jenn and Mandy)

3.)   Reading more (Savannah and Sammy)

Since I think it’s probably safe to assume that other writers are struggling with similar goals, I’ve decided to look at each of these three and discuss tricks and tactics to help make these goals more easily attainable for all of us.

~~~

Patience…

I’ve yet to meet a patient writer, so if being more patient is one of your 2011 resolutions, you are in GOOD COMPANY!  Here are a few suggestions to make patience more attainable:

~ Keep busy!  Nothing makes the time pass more slowly than watching your inbox.  Start a new project.  Try turning off your internet/email access for a half an hour while you write.  You will not only feel more patient, you will stay more focused on your writing.

~Accept the things that are out of your control.  Agents need time to consider submissions.  So do editors.  Even once you have that long-awaited book deal, you cannot control your release date.  Instead, focus on the things you can control.  Take your time with your current project rather than submitting it prematurely.

~Find a good listener.  If you have a writing buddy, turn to that person when you feel like the waiting involved in writing is getting to you.  Avoid voicing your frustrations on your blog or through your twitter account!

~~~

Self-Discipline…

As a writer, you answer to yourself on everything from what you write to when you write it.  Here are some tips for holding yourself accountable and staying on course:

~If you feel like Jenn and want to focus on one project instead of starting three more, try concentrating on the end result – that completed manuscript!  There is definitely a long, dry hike between the thrill of starting something new and the satisfaction of seeing it finished.  If you are tempted to start a new project because you’ve gotten bored with the routine of your current task, mix it up a bit.  Try writing sprints; write as many words as you can in a set amount of time – say ten minutes.  You will need to go back and edit, but you will see your word count growing and feel inspired to stick with it.  Word sprints are even more fun if you can do them with a writing buddy.

~Budget your time.  If you’re like Mandy and wear several hats every day, it’s important to realize that you can’t do everything at once.  Decide which responsibility is going to get your full attention for a particular period of time, and commit yourself to that task.  Worrying about ten tasks at once only makes you less effective at all of them.

~Set small goals that you can keep, so that you don’t feel like a failure as soon as you start.  If your goal is to “write every day,” accept the fact that 15 minutes before you go to bed may be all that you can spare at times.  Allow yourself to “succeed” by keeping your goals realistic.

~~~

Reading…

We can’t be good writers if we don’t read, but how often have you heard a writer say that they don’t have time to read because they are too busy writing?  Here are some thoughts to help you get your reading done:

~Read what you like.  If EVERYONE is talking about a particular book but you just can’t get into it, don’t force it.  Granted, I do believe that you should be familiar with what people in your target audience are reading, but there will be books you prefer to others.  Read the ones you enjoy.

~Discover new authors.  Sammy has encouraged us all here at LTWF to join her in the 2011 Debut Author Challenge.  Reading newly published authors is a great way to stay inspired (and to keep your eyes off that inbox!)

~Read for research and inspiration.  If you have a strong curiosity about Machu Picchu, don’t feel guilty reading an article about it in a travel magazine.  Machu Picchu might turn out to be the setting of your next novel.  Or maybe you want to read about genealogy, or sailing, or asteroids.  Give yourself permission to read about things that seem unrelated to your writing.  You never know what might spark the idea for your next WIP.

Are you succeeding with your writing resolutions?  Have you already abandoned them?  Have you re-imagined them?  Please share your experiences in the comments!

~~~

Julie Eshbaugh is represented by Natalie Fischer.  She is also a freelance editor. You can read her blog here and find her on Twitter here.

 

Advertisements

16 Responses to “Revisiting Your Writing Resolutions”

  1. Brown Eyed Mystic January 25, 2011 at 12:10 AM #

    Being a freelance writer, my writing resolution is to gather more writing assignments and finish them with professional class and utmost honesty. And I am glad to say that yes, it’s working. Or so my clients say. 🙂

    I wish you good luck with your resolutions, which I feel can be made every day and not only every year, as need be!

    -BrownEyed

    • Julie Eshbaugh January 25, 2011 at 12:45 AM #

      Hey BrownEyed! You make a great point; resolutions can be made every day. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  2. Ashley January 25, 2011 at 2:05 AM #

    My writer’s resolution is to finish my current manuscript and do everything possible to make it query and publishing eligible. 🙂

    Also to learn patience, a virtue I’ve lacked my entire life, haha.

    • Julie Eshbaugh January 25, 2011 at 12:53 PM #

      Hey Ashley! I’m right there with you on the patience thing! Best of luck with your current manuscript! 🙂

      • Ashley January 25, 2011 at 5:18 PM #

        Thanks Julie! 🙂

  3. Rowenna January 25, 2011 at 10:02 AM #

    Great ideas! For me–I need to get back on track with writing, often. And working out. They’re related–really. Spacing out on the elliptical is the best way I know of to ferment ideas…so when I sit down to write they just flow 🙂 Thanks for the midwinter pep talk!!

    • Julie Eshbaugh January 25, 2011 at 12:55 PM #

      Hey Rowenna! I’m a big fan of the “work the thighs and the brain” combination too! I usually have music on while I work out, which also helps with the brainstorming. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  4. Deb January 25, 2011 at 10:12 AM #

    Thanks for this! My goals this year are driven by “Remember”. Remember why I started this writing journey in the first place–and that is my passion for kids lit and sharing it with others (kids especially). I want to write the kind of books (picture books, novels) that make it into the classroom and get kids buzzing…have you read this yet? And in the meantime–get out there, online and celebrate the books already out there!

    • Julie Eshbaugh January 25, 2011 at 12:57 PM #

      Ooh, Deb, I LOVE your attitude. The kind of book you describe – the one the kids pass around in the classroom – isn’t that what writing for kids is all about? Thanks for leaving that comment, and good luck with your “Remember” resolutions. 🙂

  5. Savannah J. Foley January 25, 2011 at 10:26 AM #

    Wonderful article concept, Julie! I’m proud to say I have been doing more this year… getting out to the park, going ice skating, and next weekend I’m going to visit Susan!

    • Julie Eshbaugh January 25, 2011 at 12:59 PM #

      Yay Savannah! It can be really difficult when you write to make sure you’re out in the “real world” enough. (I know I’m guilty of falling into hermit-like habits at times…) so I’m glad you’re getting out there! And it’s so great that you’ll be seeing Susan! 🙂

    • Sammy Bina January 26, 2011 at 2:51 AM #

      Everyone is meeting Sooz except me!

      Everyone being you and Sarah. But still.

      Give her a hug for me!

  6. brandimziegler January 25, 2011 at 8:59 PM #

    I didn’t make a writing resolution for the year, but I can definitely relate to the self-discipline dilemma. I have a high-stress job and demanding kids (read: my husband and his daughter) so telling my life to take a hike so I can write is a daily struggle. I hope I can make time for my writing (whether it’s revisions, tweaking my query, or adding to my WIP). Oh, and reading. Something’s wrong when the only time I have to read is during my lunch break at work! Does sneaking a blog read at work count? Great post, Julie!

    • Julie Eshbaugh January 25, 2011 at 9:33 PM #

      Hey Brandi! I would say… YES! Sneaking a blog read at work DEFINITELY COUNTS! Congrats on conquering so many obstacles to keep writing. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  7. Sammy Bina January 26, 2011 at 2:53 AM #

    This was a really great article, Julie. I didn’t even think of breaking our resolutions down into categories, but they totally make sense. I have to say, I’m doing a much better job of reading for fun these days! And I finished the first draft of SILENCE, so my resolutions are going pretty well! How are yours?

    • Julie Eshbaugh January 26, 2011 at 11:59 AM #

      Hey Sammy! My resolutions are going pretty well. I’m definitely being more patient with my current idea, letting it develop more organically rather than losing patience and forcing it to be something it’s not. Thanks for asking! 🙂

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: