Friday, December 28, 2007

Making Writing Resolutions

Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions? Do any of them pertain to writing? If so, they’re probably something like “write more” or “write for an hour every day” or “finish the book I’ve been working on for three years.” As writers, we all tend to make these kinds of resolutions or promises to ourselves.

This year, I’m trying something a bit different. There are plenty of resolutions I could make – and a lot of them I’ve made before. But in 2008 I’m going to try to become … and here I’m not quite sure of the word to use … more organized or less haphazard or more efficient or more structured.

I seem to be the kind of person who works best with structure and a check list. I’ve managed to put out a weekly newsletter for eight years partly because it always comes out on the same day each week. By the time Thursday rolls around, I’d dang well better have that newsletter ready to go. So I do. We don’t have overdue bills because I pay the bills on the same day every week. Each day I make a list of things I have to get done, then mark them off as I complete them. I actually think about efficiency. Instead of doing one thing, can I combine multiple tasks, thus being more efficient?

Man, I sound rigid.

But despite all that, I still spend way too many days doing other things and not doing any creative writing, other than the newsletter or the blog. There’s housework, editing work, websites to maintain, the dog, a husband who thinks he should eat everyday and so on and so on. So this coming year, I’ve decided I’ll resolve to become … drum roll please … more structured.

Not just in my writing, but in everything. So I’m working on a list, not of resolutions, but a way to organize myself. Just as I pay the bills every Tuesday, I’m setting up a task for each day that should be completed. I’m also listing things to do every day of the week, like write for an hour, exercise for thirty minutes, etc.

I don’t know whether this will work, but, for me, it sounds like it might. It’s not a vague decision to finish a rewrite of a book or to join a critique group, but a plan to get more writing done. If I knew how to take the list and make it the wallpaper on my laptop, I would. Since I don’t, I’ll print it out and put it within sight of the computer. I need to see it every day.

I don’t know whether this would be called a Resolution. I’m thinking of it more as a Plan for 2008. If I stop following the Plan, then I’ll have to review the list and get back on the Plan. Maybe I need rewards for following the Plan each week. Hmm … an extra hour of reading?

Before I start considering weekly rewards, I guess I’d better see if I can even stick to the Plan for a week. I’ll let ya know how it goes.


  1. I like that idea, Helen. Think I'll incorporate it in my own plans for 2008--lord knows--I need it!

    Happy 08 -- and we still need to get together for that coffee break!

  2. Today is the third day of my plan and, so far, so good. My January is looking pretty open, so let's set a date for coffee.


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