Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Writing in the New Year

by Shirley Drew


As a secular tradition, making New Year's resolutions is an opportunity to reflect upon the previous year, and at the same time make promises to ourselves regarding self-improvement for the upcoming year. I have a spotty history at best when it comes to keeping resolutions made over a glass of champagne during the final minutes of December 31st. But about ten years ago I made a resolution that I've managed to keep. I made a promise to STOP making New Year's resolutions. And voila! I was successful! Until now. I decided that 2014 was the year to break THAT resolution. As a college professor for the last 25 years, I've had to learn a completely new approach to writing. As such, I've spent some time reading books about writing creative non-fiction and doing online research about the topic. Based on my research, I've made a list of starting points for new writers. I haven’t done everything on the list below, but I have resolved to work through it during 2014:

1. Write for at least 15 minutes every day…and it will probably turn into 30 minutes, or even longer. Sometimes I only HAVE 15 minutes. This is usually during a lunch break at work.

2. Read more of the kinds of writing you want to do; for me it is creative non-fiction—more specifically, travel writing.

3. Subscribe to writers' blogs and websites about writing. There are several resources for writers listed on this blog page in the right hand column.

4. Go to at least one writing conference each year. If you haven’t been to the Northern Colorado Writers Conference, I highly recommend this. It has something for everyone. The people are friendly and inclusive. And you don’t have to live in Colorado to be a member. I’m from Kansas, after all. Check it out:

5. Enter at least one writing contest each year. There are dozens of reputable organizations both popular and literary. Here are the websites for two of my favorites: 

6. Join or start a local writer’s group. If that isn't possible, there are online groups that welcome new members. A simple search on the internet using key words like “online writing groups” is a good place to start.

7. Start your own blog. But make it work for you. If you are writing a book, use it to build chapters--or at least portions of chapters.

I think New Year’s resolutions should not only be doable, but enjoyable. If you enjoy writing, then the suggestions on this list should be both. Happy writing in 2014!


Sarah Sullivan said...

I was so excited about your initial resolution NOT to make resolutions and then you went and ruined it! Darn, I was almost justified in my laziness. Great goals. I'll probably have to steal some of them. I live in Montana and I have attended the NCWC the past two years. Nice to know there are other friendly interlopers.

Shirley Drew said...

Thanks, Sarah. Yeah, I was disappointed to break my resolution, too, but this seemed worthwhile. ;-)
Anyway, looking forward to meeting another "interloper" at the next conference. Sure hope you'll be there!

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