Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Writing in the New Year, One More Time

by Shirley Drew

While I had great intentions of completing my post for today far in advance, we all know that good intentions pave the road to you-know-where. So on this last day of 2014, I’m re-running my New Year’s Day post from last year:


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:

Northern Colorado Writers

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:

Northern Colorado Writers

Writer's Digest

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 2015!

* * * * *

By the way, as one who is generally opposed to New Year’s resolutions, I want to brag and say that I actually completed five of the seven on my list above. Finally, I want to say thank you to the Northern Colorado Writers for giving me the opportunity to be among the wonderful bloggers for The Writing Bug during this last year. This will be my last post, at least for now.

Have a happy and successful 2015 everyone!


Sarah Sullivan said...

Bless you, Shirley, for printing a re-run!! I hate to be the only slacker! : ) I really did have the best intentions. Do you have a blog? Otherwise, I'm going to miss your posts! Thank you for the New Year's inspiration!

Sarah Reichert said...

It was good last year, and its still great this year. You always have such good, and sound advice, Shirley! Thanks for posting!

Shirley Drew said...

Thanks, Sarahs! Kind words--and I'll still be reading your posts!

I do not currently have my own blog. Trying to focus on some other projects. But would love to hear from you both any time at:

And, Sarah S.: I stole your idea about re-running a post. I was SO glad I read yours--it SAVED me that day!

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