2018 Writing Resolutions: Locked and Loaded

Dear Reader,

There’s something about new years and resolutions that makes me happy. Ridiculously happy. More so than I need to be.

While some look at the year and at the projects that didn’t get done and the opportunities missed, I look at the sum of the year and ask one question: why?

Why did something work or didn’t work? Why did it become a big thing or didn’t get off the ground? Granted this is the type of reflection that takes hard work and for creatives, it’s not something we like to do too often. We believe in the magic of our words and the experience of creating and crafting.

But this analytical thinking helps make the magic on the page happen more often and puts the path directly in front of you.

So, here’s how I plan to work on my resolutions for 2018. Here’s what worked for me and what didn’t work in 2017 and how I plan on getting there.  Note: This is different from my three words for the year. The words are for my life. For my writing life, I need something more. See below.

Resolution: Increase submissions

In the past:

In 2016, my goal was to submit to three publications every month. That wasn’t much for me. It kept me working on new pieces, editing, and filling my submission form.  Each quarter, I’d report my progress on my blog to see how I did. Some months, I submitted to more than three publications.

In 2017, I decided to lay off the structure and guide my year by three words – enjoy, cultivate, and trust.  That means I would make decisions based on these three words. Would I enjoy it? How does it cultivate me or my goals? How and do I trust the universe to provide in this experience?

While this three-word thing worked for other parts of my life (I reflected each week on how I did with it), it didn’t work for my writing life. Also, I blogged WAY less in 2017.

Lesson: My writing life needs structure.

This year, I plan on returning to 2016 by submitting to three publications every month.  I also plan on returning to the accountability thing and reporting my progress on my blog. That worked for me well. But I also know I’m a different writer. I have a novel that will be finished this year. I am working on other aspects of my skills set. I also have a full-time gig. That can’t be overlooked in this resolution.  So, knowing that I need structure, I’ll need to carve out untouchable time to create. For means that the increase visits to my neighborhood Starbucks must happen or the one close to work. I may have to leave for work earlier (I teach hybrid classes this semester so it’s doable) or I may have to come home late.

Resolution: Journal every day or nearly every day

In the past:

In 2016, I didn’t journal much. It wasn’t a thing I did. I thought that if I had time to journal I had time to write.

Then I discovered daily pages in 2017 and it was everything. Even though I wrote less this year (less as in I didn’t have much to submit) I was able to write in my journal. This was very helpful during Hurricane Harvey and the depression I fell into after it. It was also helpful to write during the good times, when I felt the most like a writer.

So when I reviewed my year, I had an amazing collection of memories and thoughts and ideas that gave me a warm fuzzy. It’s also great fodder for future pieces.

Lesson: Journaling is part of my writing life

In 2018, I will continue my daily pages. The original thought of daily pages is to write continuously for three pages. Some days that’s just not doable. Some days one page will do. So, I will write at least one page most days. I know every day isn’t doable either but most days are. Therefore, I won’t beat myself up if I don’t do my daily pages for a day or two. But that also means that when I return, I have more than enough fodder for three pages are more.

How I plan on doing this is to have a set time to write my pages. The custom is the morning but I like doing my pages at night before I go to bed. It helps calm my head down from the day and helps me look toward the next day.

Also, a nice notebook helps.

Resolution: Keep learning my craft

In the past:

In 2016, I expanded into memoir writing. I continue tooling around with it in 2017 and added poetry. I’m a fiction writer by trade and training so I’m learning these new skills as I go and create.

I can see how it’s challenging me and making me grow as a writer and I love it. I look at how to approach scenes and dialogue differently.

I did try the #52essays2017 challenge. I didn’t complete it but what I did write I liked a lot. More practice is needed.

Lesson: Invest in my continued learning.

Whether it’s reading more nonfiction or taking classes, I need to invest in learning more about this part of my craft.

I’ve already started on this by taking a class with Vanessa Martir in December. I’ll be taking more classes at WriteSpace in Houston in the first quarter of the year and doing lots more practicing.

 

Well, there you go! My resolutions! I hope that these help you create your own resolutions and help keep me accountable!

Write on,

–Icess

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