Writing Resolutions: Lessons Learned from the Past

I’ve always been a resolution-maker. Looking back in my writing notebooks, I found a few examples of past resolutions.

January 1, 2002: Win the Newberry. I had just finished my first novel-length manuscript. In my naïveté about the entire publishing process, I thought that I would easily find an editor, see my novel published a few months later, and win the coveted award, which I spelled wrong. So maybe I did win the Newberry–with two Rs–if it’s an award for sending a manuscript to publishers before it’s ready.

I’ve learned not to make goals that are outside of my control.

January 1, 2004: Write three middle-grade novels. I didn’t understand the importance of rest and revision (and revision and revision). I’ve written one middle-grade novel since making that resolution, preferring to write YA, and never completing more than one entirely new, completely polished manuscript in a year.

I’ve learned to honor my writing process.

January 1, 2005: Do writing exercises 5x a week, read 2 children’s novels a month, write 10 magazine pieces, write 2 novels (I listed 2 ideas), et cetera. I created a list of 10 resolutions–with an asterisk adding one more item at the end. Ultimately, I failed at each one of these very specific items.

I’ve learned that my writing cannot be reduced to numbers.

January 1, 2008: Revise with joy. I’m certain that I didn’t always feel particularly joyful while hammering away at my 2008 WIP, but I did work toward changing my attitude toward revision–and I really do enjoy that part of the writing process now. But it took time

I’ve learned that resolutions about changing my behavior or mindset are more successful.

January 1, 2013: Finish revising WIP. See? I’m starting my year off with joy!

Happy 2013 to you!!!

Leave a Comment