Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Saturday, 3 January 2015

My Writing Resolutions

Here we go again... Image from Wikimedia
It’s that time of year again, when I sit down and write my long, long list of resolutions, only to throw  them up in the air to see how many (if any) will stick. Usually at least one of them does; it’s how I managed to crack my computer solitaire habit, and also how I stopped biting my nails. Of course many of them fall by the wayside, but that’s the law of averages for you.

This year I’ve taken a slightly different approach and I’ve drawn up a list of writing resolutions. All are admirable and all — with a little bit of discipline — are achievable.

I will treat writing like a business.

Because it is a business. Because what divides the good writer from the successful writer boils down to of a professional approach, a lot of hard grind and hours spent telling people how wonderful your books are. I may not like doing it, but it has to be done.

I will write every day. Or edit. Or plot.

Actually I think this will prove the easiest of my resolutions to stick to, because I almost do it already. I haven’t set myself a word count and I’m not limiting myself to fiction. But if there’s one thing I learned from the annual stampede that is NaNoWriMo, it’s that there are no excuses for not doing it. All it takes is ten minutes with pen in hand. I’ll think of it next time I’m toying with the idea of that killer sudoku puzzle. I’ll do the puzzle. But not until I’ve done my ‘daily write’.

I like this one because it’s quantifiable. A green sticker in the page of my diary for every day that I’ve made progress. This blog counts, so that’ll be three out of three already. Aren’t I doing well?

I will be less sensitive to criticism.

This is the most difficult, and also the most important, of my resolutions. No-one likes to think they can’t take constructive criticism (I prefer to describe myself as defensive) but I rely on my fellow writers for good advice and insight and they aren’t going to offer it if I can’t take it, especially because I’m not shy of dishing it out. So this year I’ll listen and I’ll digest before i reject anything out of hand, because even the comments I disagree with probably have a good deal of sense behind them.

Some criticism isn’t constructive, of course. Some of it isn’t meant to be. Out in the big wide world you put up your baby in the book-beauty-contest and some untouchable soul will give it a one star review just because they were reading it when a stranger spilt coffee on them on the 9.45 to Croydon. Or — heaven forbid — a reader might not actually like my book. Do you know what? That’s okay. I’ll learn to live with it.

I’ve made other resolutions, but these are the ones which will offer me a serious challenge and, even if I’m only partially successful, improve me as a writer. And if you have any more suggestion feel free to challenge me.

Jennifer Young


8 comments:

  1. It all boils down to self-discipline, doesn;t it? Whether it's dieting, giving up the booze/fags/gambling habit, or writing......and writing is probably the hardest of the three because life sort of gets in the way - well it often does for me. Good luck!

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    1. That's the core of my resolution, Linda - not to let life stand between me and the page!

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  2. Yes, good luck, Jennifer. You will achieve all three, I know it. You write more than almost anyone I know, it's going to be terrifying if you start writing even more!

    As for my smile ... it's a sympathetic one!

    Here's to 2015.

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    1. You could argue that I should focus more on quality than quantity, though. (That's why I let editing count!)

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  3. Good luck, Jennifer. You certainly sound very determined. As Linda says, it is down to self-discipline. Well done on weaning yourself off solitaire. I managed it when I was on holiday for a fortnight and thought I'd cracked it but it only took a couple of games to pick up the habit again - such a time waster, it is. Maybe that's what my resolution should be - no more spider solitaire.

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    1. I gave up solitaire at the second attempt - the first time I only got as far as August and one moment of weakness cost me! But yes, this year I'm determined!

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  4. I haven't any to add but think these are incredibly useful so I'm going to adopt them for me, too. At the end of the year we can compare notes! But oh, being less sensitive (she says, cringing at the thought of her poor tender feelings).

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    1. Maybe we can amend that Gill - be sensitive (but don't show it)? I'll be fascinated to see how we all get on if we do compare. I'll be happy with two out of the three, I think.

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