new year’s resolutions

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Writer’s Weigh In With Resolutions


I emailed all the poets and writers (as a certain magazine calls them) I know (and really don’t, but I needed a lot of responses to make up a post) and asked what their writerly resolutions were. If they’re anything like mine, they’re an amusing mix of wishful thinking, good intentions, and, in some cases, playful sarcasm. (Wait. Can sarcasm be playful?)

In no particular order, from the expected to the un-, here are those responses that returned to roost in my inbox:

  • “Mine was to write for two hours first thing each morning before checking my Inbox. Then I checked my Inbox first thing this morning and am responding to this. Does this count as writing (she asks sheepishly)?” — T.H.
  • “To absolutely refuse to submit to magazines that charge reading fees and to reward those who don’t by submitting my best stuff. If more writers did this, fewer magazines would charge the fees. The fact that more and more are doing it tells me that many writers are ponying up. Why?” — B.C.
  • “Read more poetry to better inform my own poetry.” — O.L.
  • “Save money for an M.F.A. program. Do you have any, by the way?” — R.W.
  • “I’m thinking too many weird thoughts, like how sad fish heads look on plates at a restaurant. How can I write when I’m feeling sorry for dead fish eyeing the mouths that are about to consume them?” — K.T.
  • “Stop saying yes to so many fellow writers asking me to read their stuff. I need time for my own stuff, but I’m too busy being Joan of Arc to everybody else.” — V.C.
  • “Get better paying part-time work.” — T.D.
  • “Be more honest with myself. I like to kid myself, I do. I’ve told myself it’s essential to writing success, but after two years of talking the talk more than walking the walk, maybe not. I’m playing Billy Joel (“Honesty”) right now. It’s such a lonely word!” — A.A.
  • “Dump my fellow writer friends who are too competitive and jealous while calling other writers competitive and jealous. Some writers are more talented at gossip and back-stabbing and putting words in other people’s mouths than they are at writing. Delete. Dump. Move on, are my resolutions! (Does this sound angry? Good.)” — R.E.
  • “Pray more.” — I.L.
  • “I want to pay less attention to the news. It distracts and upsets me, which is horrible for writing and creativity. It’s not easy being an American these days.” — K. E.
  • “Work on writing plot! I suck at writing plots!” — N.
  • “Actually follow the stupid old advice about carrying a small pad and pencil around so I can write ideas when I think of them vs. just forget them.” — O.B.
  • “Stop looking at Submittable so much! Stop submitting so many simultaneous submissions so much! Stop saying, “I need some good news!” so much! (Though it’s true, I do. Do you have any spare good news lying around, Ken?)” — R.B.
  • “Put my writing on the Keto Diet. I am way too wordy. I’ll call all the words I delete carbs or something. You like it?” — M.N.
  • “You still owe me $50. My resolution is to collect it by Feb. 1st.” — J.L.
  • “I want to be kinder and gentler on myself. Writers take rejections too much to heart. A lot of them give up, and I’ve often felt myself wanting to give up, but they have to repeat after me: It’s part of the game and all writers, even the very best, go through it.” — G.O.
  • “Turn off my phone! Delete my social media accounts! They are sucking the living daylight hours out of me! Help!” — C.S.
  • “Experiment more. Take more chances. Avoid telling myself I can’t write about certain topics. Write what I’d want to read because I know many other people like to read the same things.” — T.D.
  • “Read across the genres instead of just the genre I’m working on. Stop reading silly free-verse blogs (smiley face).” — H.H.
  • “Stop paying my cable TV bill. That will eliminate the expensive distraction known as a TV.” — A.T.
  • “Read Ulysses. I’ve been putting it off for 17 years.” — S.D.