Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Writing resolutions (an article)

One of the writing e-zines I receive on occasion had a topical article today. It's called Keeping your writing resolutions.

It's not the stuff of epiphanies; in fact it's stuff we all know. But it doesn't hurt to remind ourselves of some strategies from time to time.

The article is written by someone called Christina Hamlett, and her six main points made in the article are:

1. Find the 25th hour by keeping a record for a week of all the time you spend checking e-mails, surfing the internet . . er, playing Scrabble on Facebook . . . er, blogging . . . and then cutting back to find a writing hour you didn't know you had.

2. Get a 'workout' buddy - ie someone to whom you are accountable for words written. She maintains it's good to have someone reading it as you go, so they badger you for the next installment, but the idea of that kind of freaks me out. However, I'll extend the writing buddy concept to the writing retreat buddy. It's very helpful to have someone keeping you honest when you're writing together.

3. Reinvent a rhino (huh?), by which she means widening your writing focus and experiment with different styles and genres to maintain interest.

4. Exercise poetry in motion - basically see if you can write a synopsis of your story in 16-line rhyming verse. (I'm not sure why we'd want to do this?)

5. Get inside their heads by 'interviewing' your characters to get to know them better. Another take on this, which I rather like doing from time to time, is to write a personal diary for your characters. In fact, I've been contemplating starting another blog which will just be the personal diary of my main character. (Any thoughts?)

6. Keep to the code. This is the most important one in my view. Basically, write every day! The theory is that if you can do it for 21 days in a row (same time, same place) it will become habit. But you have to go back to the beginning if you miss a day. She also says you have to write at least a page a day. While I agree with this in principle, I think it's more important to write every day, even if it's only a paragraph. In fact, that's sometimes how I get myself started if I don't feel like it much. I tell myself I only have to write a paragraph, which of course leads onto more paragraphs (usually).

Sigh. Now is a good time to admit that I'm not quite making the progress I envisaged this week. However, I have written some new words, although I confess I think I might be coming down with the flu or something, so am not up to much.


  1. I'm happy to be your workout buddy...

    Ah, the 25th hour. We all need one of these...

  2. Fantastic list. Just what I need to get my sluggish writing going again. I'm keeping this in my writing journal!