I have never been one to wade into the deep and murky waters of making New Year’s resolutions. I always felt that was a way of automatically setting myself up to fail. I work best when allow to float free without the confines of harsh restraints. That statement holds true in both my daily life and my writing life. For my personal life I have made three wishes for 2012 instead of making resolutions.
From NaNo this year I learned many things but one of them was that I am not the type of person who can set a goal number of words to reach each day and have the discipline to sit and stick to that count. I found I still was able to tackle a longer term goal such as the 50k word count goal in the same time period as others did through writing in longer time bursts. I used my weekends to do this and picked a time when I could write for hours as opposed to a shorter period of time. This means my goal for the year ahead will not be based on something as constricting as numbers (although I may revisit NaNo this year as I took other valuable lessons from it).
So what are my resolutions? They are the things I want to accomplish based on the traits I think a good writer has.
Firstly, a good writer takes moments, emotions and images, squashes them together and turns them into written words that portray a scene to others in a way that they too can see the moment through the words. This is a skill that I believe takes a lifetime to master but to get better at it each day is very attainable. I plan on paying more attention to people, objects, settings, situations, etc. The world around me is something I take for granted at times as it is easy to withdraw into my shell or become preoccupied with my own thoughts. I half listen to conversations. I don’t notice the birds singing around me. I live too much in my mind. I think taking more time to truly look at things will improve my writing.
Persistence is a trait every writer must develop for an entire myriad of reasons. For me I am not persistent enough with my stories. I abandon them halfway through and move on to the next one far too easily, usually around the time my confidence in them and me wavers. I have only a handful of completed first drafts but dozens of novels abandoned at around the 35-40k mark. That seems to be where I hit a wall. I hit it during NaNo but because of determination to complete NaNo I pushed through and carried on. The result was learning that I need to become more persistent. If I jump ship every single time something isn’t working in a novel then I will never be able to see them get published. So I will try to be more persistent.
Confidence in myself. This was alluded to above but I lack confidence in my ideas. This transfers into my confidence in each novel and it stifles its creation. When I wrote my first two novels which are nearing their last drafts I wrote for pure pleasure. I wrote them because they kept speaking to me and telling me to write them. I did not know the mechanics of novel writing. I knew nothing of word counts. I had no idea there were novel writing formulas or to outline first. I literally put pen to paper and wrote. I filled several notebooks. I later typed them into the computer. I added to them. I took stuff away. I was pleased with myself for what I had accomplished. It was only when I thought of publishing them that I began to think of others. I then started to look at them through a readers eyes. Would they be good enough? Would they be long enough? Doubt crept in. That doubt now plagues me when I write.
Now instead of writing a story with that complete blind naiveness of my first novels I over think them. I plan them. I look at the trends. I think of what is out there in that genre. I over think it. I lack confidence. It hinders the completion of my novels. Thinking like a reader is good during the editing stages but I need to relearn how to think like a writer during the creation stage. I need to regain my confidence.
So my writer resolutions for this year are to pay more attention to life and the things in it, become more persistent and develop my confidence. Not an easy goal set but probably more reachable than a more rigid one.
Have you made writer resolutions this year? I would be interested in hearing what they are if you don’t mind sharing them.