When Writer’s Relief decided to make a list of nine New Year’s resolutions, we first thought of old chestnuts such as giving up smoking (which gets complicated when one doesn’t smoke) and losing weight (easily accomplished by shedding one’s shoes at airport security).
But we’d rather offer nine writing-related resolutions that will help you improve your already-stellar work habits in 2012. Superstar rockers U2 sang that “nothing changes on New Year’s Day,” but we’d like to believe otherwise!
1. When you’re at your computer, don’t listen to great but distracting music such as…“New Year’s Day” by U2. Softer music, wordless music, or no music at all might be better for maintaining the concentration you need. And, yes, we resolve to ignore jokes about playing “The Sound of Silence” while you work.
2. Simon & Garfunkel also sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” which reminds us that it’s better to get a glass of water before you sit down to write instead of using thirst as an excuse to rise from your desk. If the water accidentally spills on your keyboard, please resolve not to gripe at us for the above advice.
3. Get more sleep! It’s hard finding enough hours to write (especially if you also have a day job and family responsibilities), but you’ll be more creative and productive with adequate shut-eye. Having your dozing head hit the keyboard could result in deathless prose such as “Why am I typing with my nose?”
4. Get more exercise! A relaxing walk will not only loosen your muscles but might loosen your brain enough for more ideas to enter. And to avoid fretting about forgetting those ideas before you return from the stroll, bring a notebook, digital voice recorder, or your living, breathing “Stenographers ‘R’ Us” purchase.
5. Reduce the number of typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors in your writing. Yule bee gladd u didd! Read more: How To Perfect Your Personal Proofreading.
6. Read, read, and then read some more. This will directly or indirectly help your writing, even though you might feel frustrated reading things that seem better than what you’re writing. Read books, short stories, essays, poems, the news, blogs, the back of cereal boxes, and blogs about the back of cereal boxes. Read more: How To Get The Most Out Of Your Reading.
7. You might also feel frustrated if you read a book/poem/story that is worse than what you’re writing but was published anyway because a celebrity (or ghostwriter for a celebrity) authored it. Resolve to work harder to overcome the lack-of-fame disadvantage. And if a kid comes to your door this Halloween dressed as a ghostwriter, try not to scream. Read more: How To Maintain a Positive Outlook For Your Writing Career.
8. Don’t give up on eventual acceptances when the rejections arrive. We know the “nays” hurt. We know they sow self-doubt. But we hope you’ll welcome each new rejection letter as a stepping stone. Read more: How To Interpret Rejection Letters.
9. “Change things up” here and there. Tackle a new topic or a new form. Literary historians are still puzzling over why Shakespeare didn’t diversify his canon with sonnets about Facebook. Read more: What To Do When You Get Stuck.
In conclusion, we’d like to name a final Simon & Garfunkel song. One of our resolutions for 2012 is to “Keep the Customer Satisfied.”
QUESTION: Do you have any writing-related New Year’s resolutions? We’d love to hear them!
I resolve to finally make a submission this year, no matter how scary it feels. Either that, or I’m dressing up asa ghostwriter for Halloween cuz that’s genius
Oh my goodness, this is one of the funniest articles I’ve read ALL YEAR! (Get it? Get it??) Seriously, though, what wonderful and delightful advice for getting off on the “write”-foot in 2012!
I resolve to velcro my butt to the chair and stay focused, background music be danged! Great column, thanks.
I resolve to quit dating my invoices 2011 — at least by March.
Howdy, Writer’s Relievers!
— When you’re at your computer, don’t listen to great but distracting music such as…”New Year’s Day” by U2. —
I would say “Ja!” to the rest of your “Auld Lang Nine!” — but I do not know about this one.
Some folks who killed their first million trees while on the staffs of daily newspapers back in the clickety-clack heyday of the manual typewriter are a bit deafened by the sound of silence. No offense to the Funkel Brothers, Simon and Gar!
So it is “Sunday Bloody Sunday” every week of the year, new or old, for them (and me) . . .
I resolve to be resolute in my resolutions. To maintain my maintenance maniacly while managing my manics with much musings.
Or, at the very least, to continue to contain them, for the most part, with contrasting constraints.
At least ’til I’ve completed this post –
I resolve to trust the ebbs and flows of creativity, to listen to the muse when she speaks and to kick the critical editor out of my head and out on his butt in the snow.
I resolve to celebrate the success of my other artist friends, knowing my celebration time is on the way.
I resolve to strive for excellence without becoming brittle.
I resolve to remember that every rejection takes me one step closer to an acceptance.
I resolve to write, with all of the strength of my mind, heart and spirit, knowing that my voice is unique, and trusting that it will be heard by whomever needs its message.
And so it is!
I resolve to write less and exercise more! At least that’s what my doctor, chiropractor, MRI specialist, back specialist all say. But for some reason, not my editor!
I resolve to start giving human beings the patience and understanding I give my fictional characters. Or at least try to. No promises. 😉
Ever since attending a conference in September, I’ve been doing some massive, overhaul editing, which I’ve actually had a lot of fun doing (no, that’s not a joke.) But because of said party editing, I haven’t written much in the past few months. My resolution was to write something every day, not matter how I felt. Then I accidentally killed my computer with my water bottle. Luckily it’s still under the extended spill-and-screen-crack warranty. But chances are I won’t have a computer until February. So, my resolution is to dream big until February, have patience with the computer repair guys, enjoy the down time, and THEN write something every day, no matter how I feel. Happy New Year Everyone!
I resolve to finish my second book, which will inspire other writers by being worse than anything they could come up with. Besides, my first book miraculously didn’t kill the publishing industry, so there’s hope for all of us.
I actually have a CD of music called “increasing creativity” or something like that. New age stuff that is supposed to go directly to the brain. I really should play it one of these days…