Dorsey: Writing resolutions for 2011Written by John Dorsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Where does the time go? 2010 may be last year’s news, but if you’re anything like me, you’re still trying to catch up. So let’s make a few belated resolutions. I’m not talking about being a better friend or losing 40 pounds or finding true love. All of those things sound great, but I’m talking about writing.
This isn’t about your dreams or finding inspiration, but setting goals for your literary aspirations and sticking with them. Ask yourself, what do I want to accomplish over the next year? How do I plan to get there?
During Thanksgiving, my father and I had our annual family blowout. The topic is always the same — my complete and utter lack of discipline. As much as I hate to say it, my dad has always been spot on. So I’ll get us started. I want to find more time to write.
Who among us hasn’t let the day slip away from them? The No. 1 issue for most writers I know is managing their time, or more to the point, mismanaging it. So what can we do to make sure 2011 is time well spent? Write every day. I’ll admit this is something I’ve never been good at, but it has to be done.
You may be thinking, “That’s easy for you to say; you’re single and write for a living, I have three kids and work nights, or I’m unemployed, my seasonal depression is killing me, and I have bigger things to worry about than writing or not writing.”
What can I say — you’re right. There are plenty of reasons not to write and only one good reason to keep going — you have to. We tend to let things overwhelm us, but keep in mind I’m not talking about finishing the great American novel in one sitting or the next book of sonnets to rival Shakespeare. I’m just talking about sitting down and writing a few lines. Facing that blank page on a daily basis, until you really are giving the bard a run for his money.
My next few resolutions go hand in hand. I want to read more and become even more involved in my local literary community.
Think back; why did you start writing to begin with? Hopefully it wasn’t a love of ramen noodles and a hatred of financial stability, but a true connection with the written word. In my opinion, nothing keeps that original creative spark flowing more than reading, and nothing is more exciting than finding new creative talent in your own backyard.
Now I really don’t care what you’re reading, as long as you’re reading something, but I do think that reading or listening to local authors makes our own goals feel more within reach. That said, there is a larger world out there, and if you want to read about Keith Richards’ lifetime of misadventures, who am I to stop you? Just take something from the experience and put it into your own work however you can.
For me, all of this means getting off the road and spending more time at home. Seeking out inspiration right here. Writing what I know, what I see out my window every day. As someone who has spent years thinking about poetry and writing in general in a larger sense, I’ll admit this won’t be easy, but then maybe that’s why we have to make resolutions, to help tackle the hard stuff.
So what are your writing resolutions for the New Year? To make the grade? To publish? To win an award? To simply keep writing? Whatever they are, just set your eyes on the prize and get ready for a bumpy road and remember that I’m pulling for you. Writing may feel isolating, but it’s all of us together, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.
Until next time … keep your pencil sharp.
John Dorsey resides in Toledo’s Old West End. His work is widely published and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.