Like so many people, there’s a good chance you’ve recently reflected on the past year and made some resolutions or goals for the upcoming year. As writers, there’s a good chance writing is one of the things you evaluated heavily. We regret all the time that has past where we didn’t write and make ambitious resolutions to write massive quantities in the upcoming year.
Yeah, me too.
Last year was not at all about writing for me. It was about bringing my second child into the world and finishing my master’s degree. (Woo hoo!) I managed to keep somewhat up to date on my journal, and of course write a little bit about writing. But creating new fictional content, or even revising and editing some of my works-in-progress just wasn’t in the cards. And that’s okay. Even though one must write to be a writer, sometimes there’s the rest of life, you know?
This year is going to be different. It’s a new year and I don’t know about you, but I’m going to fulfill old promises to myself of working on my writing. Almost every year I renew my personal commitment to myself, and some years have gone better than others. This is going to be one of those better years.
But I’ve decided to do something different this year. Instead of resolving to write so many words per day or month, or to finish that novel that’s been itching at my brain, I decided to set up some tasks instead. A list of tasks feels more imminent to me (something I can’t ignore), rather than a list of resolutions (something that doesn’t have to get done because it’s not on my to-do list).
The tasks are trying two new things with the intent of making progress on my writing. To not entirely overwhelm myself, I’m limiting both of these experiments for now to short stories instead of one of my work-in-progress novels.
Task #1: Re-write one of my short stories based on this Pinterest post: Writing advice you’re not going to like
Of course I had to find out what this advice was once I read the title. The advice is to take out a fresh piece of paper, or open a new document and completely re-write your work. Line by line. The idea feels . . . magical. Yes, completely re-writing sounds insane, but it also feels like it might be genius. I’m a little nervous that it won’t change my life or be as revolutionary as the post states, but I’m willing to try it. I feel like I need to try it.
Task #2: Write a complete story on my mobile device (Based off this Medium post.)
This dude wrote a full 70,000 word novel on his mobile device! He is my writing hero. I want to be the person who did that.
I always struggle to find the perfect writing setup. Theoretically, the perfect writing setup is in my office at home. The problem is, I’m often not there and have always struggled to figure out the best way to write when I’m away. While I love physical journals, I’m never consistent and I don’t always carry them with me, and I don’t like the idea of transcribing what I wrote (which, if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice is kinda a contradiction to the first idea . . . but ignore that).
I do always have my phone with me. But while I’m reasonably speedy when it comes to input, I’m not as fast as I am on a regular keyboard, which is frustrating. I have a bluetooth keyboard, but there’s again the problem of always having it handy.
Instead, I’ll accept that I’m going to write a sentence here and a sentence there. I might write one or two while waiting for a meeting to begin. Another in the checkout line. Maybe while standing in the kitchen waiting for a pot of water to boil. Or while I wait for the Kiddo to tie his shoes. Places where I don’t need to write pages and pages at a time.
(August Birch, the guy who did it, also wrote a “how-to” follow-up post. The primary difference is that I’m going to work in Evernote. Okay, maybe I’ll use Google Docs. I have both and use both and do you see how I have these issues of figuring out the best way to do that that prevents me from getting started?)
Each of these tasks should result in a complete story. Then I’ll evaluate the techniques and see if they worked and see if it’s useful for the future. Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you how it went in my next blog post.
Good luck on your own writing journey this year. I’d love to hear about your resolutions and goals in the comments, especially any non-traditional ones.