Monday, January 01, 2007

Your Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions that every writer should have:

1) Write More. Whether you regularly write a page a day or 20,000 words a week, double it. You can do it. You need to do it. The more you write, the better you get, so, in theory, if you write twice as much, by this time next year you’ll be twice as good. Triple it, and you’ll be Stephen fucking King.

2) Read More. You know all those books on your shelf that you proudly display and discuss eloquently with your party guests? Wouldn’t it be nice if you actually had read a few of them? Substitute an hour of TV watching with an hour of reading. Law and Order is probably a rerun anyway.

3) Drink Less. Right now you’re probably hungover from last night’s festivities, so you almost certainly agree with this resolution. But as soon as five o’clock hits, you and I both know you’ll be eyeing that beer in the fridge. Resist the temptation. Everyone knows that drinking hinders the writing process (with the exception of Tennessee Williams), so try and keep it to a minimum.

4) Exercise More. As with resolutions one and two, your immediate reaction is “When can I find time to do that?” But the days spent at the computer and the nights spent drinking have left you with a flabby gut, scrawny arms, and the inability to run a block without passing out. You need to remedy that. Join a gym and you can complete resolution number two while you’re on the exercise bike. Buy a couple of free weights and do bicep curls at the computer. Whatever it takes, you need to get in shape.

5) Procrastinate Less. Everyone complains about not having enough time. But how much of the little time you do have is wasted? How many games of spider solitaire did you play yesterday? How much time did you spend surfing the blog-o-sphere? (I mean, just bookmark my page and you can find it quicker!) Eliminate those beloved time-suckers and you can be more efficient and productive. Blocked about a certain scene? Do the dishes while you think it over. Did you complete a chapter and still have an hour to kill? Work on that freelance piece that’s due the next day. (Note to self: you have a freelance piece due tomorrow.)

6) Submit More. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, short or long, you need to be submitting all the time. While you’re finishing up that great American novel, submit a chapter to a literary magazine or pitch a story idea to your local newspaper. Publishing credits mean a lot and editors aren’t going to come knocking at your door begging to give them to you.

Stick to these resolutions and you are certain to become a better person and writer. If not, I’ll buy you a beer and a donut and leave you to your spider solitaire.

No comments: