Every writer begins a new year with high expectations:
Write more, publish more, reach more readers. As a writer, editor, teacher, and
literary agent, I have a front row seat at the circus that is writers
struggling to pound out pages, puzzle out plot problems, ponder the depths of
character, revise and revise and revise again—all within deadline, be that
deadline is contracted or self-imposed. So I know how quickly even the best
intentions can be derailed—my own included.
My own (contracted) deadline is fast approaching, and after
a holiday season filled with too much fudge and too little writing, I'm feeling
sluggish at all levels. Time to get back on track—and I'm counting on these
writing resolutions to help me do that:
Set a daily word count goal. I usually set a
writing time goal—two hours a day—but when I'm on deadline, I find a word count
goal more useful and productive. For 2016, I'm abandoning the writing time goal
and switching to this word count goal full-time, deadline or no deadline..
Keep a writer’s log. I've never been good at
keeping a journal, but this year I plan on keeping a Bridget Jones’s style
daily writer’s log: # hours writing, # words written, # snacks, # cups of
coffee, # interruptions (and taking names!), # distractions (including
Read “for fun” an hour a day. As an agent, I
have a lot to read--my clients’ work, prospective clients’ work, students’
work. I also need to keep up with what's selling, so I read blogs, articles,
break-out novels, nonfiction best sellers, and more. Sometimes I suffer
reader’s fatigue—and the cure is always reading something purely for the thrill
of it. So this year I'm reading an hour a day just for fun—anything and
everything I want, from HGTV magazine and Yoga Journal to Lee Child and Jane
Austen and Alice Hoffman and on and on and on. On my “fun” stack right now: Ordinary Grace,
by William Kent Krueger;
by Joyce Carol Oates; The
by Kristin Hannah; Circling
by Paula McClain; Marie Kondo’s new book Spark Joy
and Elizabeth Strout’s new novel My Name Is Lucy Barton,
both out this month.
Move an hour a day. Nothing like an hour of walking or yoga to clear my head and
jumpstart my creativity. Not to mention the only way to keep “writer’s spread”
Schedule 5,000-word rewards. I’m a sucker for a
good reward. So I’ve made a list of good things—new film, lunch date with
friends, Starbucks Coffee and Critique with a fellow writer, field trip to
Staples, HBO and a bowl of popcorn, etc.—and every time I log another 5000
words, I’m gonna treat myself to one.
That's it for me. May you make—and keep—all your writing resolutions in 2016. Here's to a
happy new year of writing for all of us!
Now I gotta go. I have a book to write—and I’m only 5000
words away from my next reward. Onward!
Labels: 2016, book, HBO, HGTV, New Year's resolution, novel, Staples, Starbucks, writing, yoga