Sunday, December 22, 2013

New in 2014: One Writer’s Resolutions

 By Jodie Cain Smith

As 2013 draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the last 12 months. I perfected the most flattering angle when taking a selfie. I learned the answer to a question I never thought to ask regarding what a fox might say and that I am completely unprepared for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. I was confused by men in skinny, high-water pants and prayed for the sagging trend to finally end. (My prayers were not answered.) To be truthful, I revel in the opportunity to leave narcissistic photos, annoying earworms, the compulsion to build a bunker, and strange fashion choices in the past.

However, 2013 wasn’t a complete bust. It provided so many writing lessons that I feel compelled to make a few New Year’s resolutions in order to capitalize on what I have learned. (Please note that as a realist with a fragile ego I try to avoid situations in which I set myself up for failure. Therefore, I rarely make resolutions. Is it fair for me to vow on December 31st to go to the gym five days a week knowing that I will fall off the fitness wagon by February? No. That just paves the road to self-loathing, which I detest.) Yes, failure is quite possible, but with all of you holding me accountable, I may succeed. So, in 2014, I resolve to:

1.      Stop being lazy. I recently learned that I used the word had 480 times in my novel, The Woods at Barlow Bend. Rather than choose a better, more descriptive verb, I remained faithful to had, using it every chance I got. Had been. Had seen. Had gone. Had had. The word lost all meaning by page 200. Thank goodness for editors.

2.      Get out of my lead characters’ minds. As fascinating as I believe my leads to be, after all I created them, perhaps their constant reflections and silent soliloquys are not the best way to tell a story. Can we get a little action on those pages, Jodie?

3.      Break up with adverbs. Seriously, I absolutely promise to only use adverbs sparingly in 2014.
4.      Be ever cognizant of perspective. This will be my hardest resolution to keep, as I prefer to write first person narratives and struggle with laziness (See #1). I fear that around March 2014 I will falter and begin creating character after character with psychic abilities and the superpower to read minds.

I challenge each of you to create your own list of writing resolutions for the New Year. Would you like to explore a new genre? Perhaps your goal is to submit more pieces for publication. Or, maybe your resolution is to write without fear, to destroy inhibitions with every sentence? Maybe, just maybe, we will become as brave and skilled with our writing as we are with the built-in camera of our cell phones. Now, should we discuss all those photos you’ve been posting?


Sarah Herlong said...

My resolution is to finish the first draft of The Haunting of Phoebe Katz in 2014. You may laugh at this thinking I'm over halfway through, what an easy resolution.....but for me the process is at a crawl. I'm actually busy writing book excerpts to splice into my story. So it's like I'm writing five books!!
Ok my next resolution is to stop leaving comments when I'm on Ambien. And sending emails, and buying books online all on Ambien.If you listen closely you can hear me slurring my words.

WritePersona said...

I resolve to finish and publish a sequel to my novels, which I've been working on for over a year. I've been away from the manuscript (a first draft) since October, and in that time I've made mental notes about more changes. And I had thought it was almost done.

I make resolutions every year. Without deadlines, whether it be keeping up with friends or cleaning the sink, I drift around like a leaf in the Edisto River (which is near my childhood home).

Leigh Stevenson said...


I resolve to just write MORE. Put it in front of all the other things pulling at my attention.

LOL, Sarah! I love buying books online, too. The Ambien is just an enabler.

Bonnie, drifting is my second career.