Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cleaning House

Happy New Year to all! I, for one, was very happy to see 2008 go—it was not my favorite year by a longshot. I think 2009 is very promising. I’m feeling enthusiastic and energetic. Maybe this is the year I’ll have the time to make some serious headway on my novel. I’ve just spent the morning reading bits of what I’ve written and I’m really happy with what I have so far.

I’m not normally one for New Year’s resolutions. I agree with Puzzle Master Will Shortz—self-improvement can take place any time of year, not just on January 1st. That being said, I have a few simple writing-related goals in mind and now is as good a time as any to get cracking. Here they are, in no particular order:

1) Clean My Desk. As you can see from the picture above, it’s a bit cluttered. Unfortunately, I don’t have separate areas for writing and general household management, so my writing space has become a dumping ground for everything, including toys (note the Barbie on the far right). Normally, the mess doesn’t prevent me from writing, but just looking at it can drain my energy.

2) Speak Correctly. In high school, I made the conscious effort to sound more “folksy” so I wouldn’t be accused of being “nerdy”. Dumb idea. If I really wanted to avoid being nerdy, I should have quit the math team and the marching band. Instead, I developed a life-long bad habit of using words like “gonna”, which I’m finding impossible to break myself from. Someday, if Charlie Rose calls for an interview and I haven’t broken my habit, I’m gonna be mortified.

3) Read More. I am embarrassed to say that I spend very little time reading. Stephen King once said something along the lines of: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.” His meaning, of course, was that writing and reading go hand in hand—you can’t be a good writer if you don’t read. Very true. I also take it as an affirmation: I have very little time to write and my lack of reading is proof. I actually read all kinds of things during the day—catalogs, magazines, children’s books, online articles—but what I truly need is more good fiction.

4) Write More. Sometimes I develop an all-or-nothing attitude toward writing. If I don’t have a significant block of time to write, it doesn’t seem worth making the attempt. While it’s hard to dig deep during short spurts, I think I need to try writing even when I only have ten minutes to spare.

5) Brush Up. I feel like there are giant holes in my general knowledge—particularly of history and grammar—that need filling. I’m going to dig out that old Strunk & White and some history books and try to plug the holes.

If you have any goals for 2009, I’d love to hear about them.


... Paige said...

What great goals you have listed. I hope you succeed. I only have a couple...
write a poem a day- I'm a poet, no really I am
submit - really submit something instead of just plannin on it

Stephanie Doyon said...

I hope you will send out your work. It really is exciting to have something out. I'm not quite sure what keeps writers from submitting--is it fear of rejection? Not knowing the process? I have plenty of old posts about submitting work, so be sure to check the archive. Keep us posted on your progress.