Writing Resolutions 2016

A week or two ago one of my favourite authors & writing coaches Susan Dennard sent out her excellent newsletter (which you can subscribe to here – because why the hell not? She’s a delight), in which she talked about some of her writing resolutions for 2016. The three she shared were ones I could really relate to, in fact the resolution at the top of my list is basically the same as Sooz’s, hers could also apply beyond writing but mine in this post will focus on my hopes for my writing and another day (very soon since 2016 is almost here) I’ll put together a post with my resolutions for everything else. I’m not going to talk about what happened to my 2015 resolutions.

Writing Resolutions for 2016

  1. Be kinder to myself and my words. I spend rather a lot of time most days mentally berating myself for one thing or another that I’ve done wrong, or simply not done at all. This also extends to my writing- novel & blog- that get lambasted for being terrible on a frequent basis. It’s not that I have objective evidence to back up this claim against myself (if anyone does think my writing is shit they’re doing a wonderful job of keeping quiet about it), but when I read work by other writers both published and aspiring I lay into my own writing with unbridled viciousness. “Why can’t your descriptions be as beautiful as so-and-so’s? Your story is so dull after reading that awesome book. Why the hell are you even trying to revise this pile of festering turds?” et cetera, et cetera, et al, AD FUCKING NAUSEUM. You get the picture. I am my own worst critic and I often crave the validation of other people saying they like my writing in order to quell the urge to never show any of it again. It’s not healthy but trying to stop myself self-sabotaging is far harder than it sounds. But I need to try. So in 2016 I am going to try and be kinder to myself as a human and as a writer. I’m doing the best I can with what I have.
  2. Don’t worry about the numbers. By this I mean I want to stop feeling anxious over how long it takes me to write or how many words I write in any given time span. It’s unreasonable to keep comparing myself to other writers who can churn out a 60K draft in 8 weeks or whatever, or can edit several chapters in a day whereas I have spent weeks just on one. Worrying over statistics that can vary dramatically from person-to-person, hell day-to-day is only a shortcut to psyching myself out of writing altogether. Just get the words out however they come. One by one, or in a great tidal wave, it doesn’t matter so long as they make it to the page.
  3. Fall in love with the story again. I think part of the reason I have found it so hard to work on my novel this year compared to 2014 when I got almost 60K words written in the first half of the year, is because after being away from the story for several months I’ve fallen somewhat out of love with the story itself. The words don’t come easily because my heart’s not entirely in them, the characters aren’t as real to me as they were when I first imagined them and the plot feels as tired as I do. Any suggestions as to *how* the heck I fall back in love with my novel please leave them below because I need to figure this out before I can achieve the next resolution.
  4. Finish a draft I can be happy with. Pretty self-explanatory. I’m still plodding through a revision/drafting version of my novel that involves me reworking chapters I wrote last year as well as writing entirely new chapters for the scenes I never wrote out when I did the bulk of the drafting. My progress has been extremely slow, I started in July maybe and I’m still only on Chapter Fourteen out of what may end up as 50 chapters, I would rather like to speed up this rate in 2016 so I’m not thirty before this book is finished.
  5. Discover more stories I’d like to tell. It’s fairly safe to say that I’m a One WIP Gal, I am not one of those people who can bounce between six different stories depending on what mood I’m in on any given day. I don’t have the mental capacity to write more than one story at a time but what I would like to be able to do is have more than one novel idea developing alongside my main WIP so if I am having a blocked day I can break out another story and brainstorm some ideas on that instead so my time is not wasted scratching my head bloody in frustration. Hopefully if I have multiple book ideas brewing then by the time I finish the aforementioned draft I will have something that I could begin working on in earnest before I go back to revise the other book again.
  6. Be inspired by other writers, not envious of their achievements. This is something that I already try to do. I follow a lot of writers – published and not-yet-published – on twitter and I see them tweet often about their progress, milestones, successes and disappointments. They’re an astonishingly talented bunch of people and while I try my damnedest to be supportive of everyone there is still an ugly sliver of my mind that turns green every time someone tweets about having finished a draft or round of revisions, or even just a chapter. You will never see me bitch about anyone in particular on twitter but I know that I do occasionally post bitter tweets about my own dissatisfaction at my meagre writing progress. I’d like to be better in 2016 until one day the sight of a tweet about finishing a draft only motivates me to hurry the hell up and finish mine so I can share in that feeling of awesomeness.
  7. Write for myself above all else. In the end I am the one who gets to read my writing first. Some of it does find itself being swiftly emailed to Jess for her thoughts but I should be primarily concerned with making sure that I am happy with what I’m writing. Nothing will stifle my creativity more if I feel I’m forcing myself to produce work that other people will like rather than produce what *I* want to read. If I’m pleased with and proud of my writing then I will be much less anxious about sharing that work with other people in due course.

So there we have it. My list of Writing Resolutions for 2016. I seriously hope I do a better job of sticking to these than I did to 2015’s – they are not quite as restrictive I think, less outcome-orientated and more mindset-based. We shall have to see. I’m going to try to blog a bit more regularly next year both here and on my book blog since it’s all writing isn’t it?

Let me know what Resolutions you’re looking to keep in 2016!

Ray x

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Thursday’s Cup o’Thoughts (03/12/2015)

Shit. It’s Thursday and that nice list I did yesterday got shot to hell. Completely buggered. My essay deadline is today, technically at 12 noon but there is a grace period until midnight that I can still submit in and not be “late” as such. It has saved my ass more times that it should have to over my time as an OU student. So yesterday I did not finish my essay, I barely even started it and as I type I’m stuffing more avocado toast into my face so I can be fueled up for the inevitable panic to get it written, checked, referenced properly & submitted before midnight if at all possible. I have done this with a few assignments but none have been essays of this length so I’m a little worried that I might not make it. We’ll have to see.

It’s days like these that make everyone around me despair of my terrible studying habits where I leave everything until the very last second and then give myself a stress-induced heart attack trying to get the work done without being late. It’s like I don’t care enough to get it done early, but I still care enough that I *have* to get something like a decent mark even though I totally don’t deserve it.

I’ve already given Le Boyf permission to metaphorically kick my ass if this essay comes back with a good mark after all my bullshit. I’m a grossly lucky fucker.

Plan of Action for the Day

Morning: ESSAY, WORDS ON A PAGE, COHERENT ONES, INTELLIGENT ARGUMENTS, QUOTES & SHIT

Afternoon: MORE ESSAY, ALL THE WORDS, REFERENCES, CRITICAL ANALYSIS & ALL THAT JAZZ

Evening: ESSAY IF NOT DONE BY THIS POINT. Otherwise wine & something relaxing because…damn.

What am I looking forward to?

Not having to have this albatross strangling me after today.

What do I think I’ll find tricky?

Everything

How can I work through it?

Be better at this “student” shit

What song came up first on my iPod this morning?

I’m having the Mad Max: Fury Road soundtrack playing today, it’s got the angry energy I need.

Now off to work!

Ray 🙂

Wednesday’s Cup o’Thoughts (02/12/2015)

Well it’s certainly been a long time since I did one of these posts! I wore myself out with daily posts even before my uni modules started last October but I felt like bringing back this format for the days when I’m not at work so I have something to focus on first thing in the morning.

If you’d believe it I’m already onto my second cup of tea and I’m eating breakfast! Actual food I went out and bought to feed myself with! Boy was it yummy, I can’t remember if I had jumped onto the Avocado train when I was doing these posts before but basically avocado toast is now a quasi-religious experience for me. *nom*

I’ve got a fair few things to do today and a looming deadline *coughtomorrowcough* which I need to really focus on so once this post is done I’m going to have to be a mature grown-up and properly ban myself from social media until I’ve made significant progress. I did get Leechblock on my main browser which cuts me off from tumblr & youtube between 9am and 5pm which is definitely for the best XD. My twitter access will get revoked if I spend more than a certain amount of time on there per hour but I probably ought to lower that threshold so I don’t weasel around it.

Ok let’s get listy. Y’know how I love my lists.

Plan of Action for the Day

Morning: Top priority – Children’s Lit essay, I currently have 0 of 2000 words so I’d like to get at least 700 words done before noonEdit at 12:25 – This got effectively trashed within 5 mins of looking over the essay guidance and realising that I haven’t read enough stuff beyond the set books to refer to. *sigh*

In breaks – Chuck some washing on, empty the basket of clean washing into respective drawers, eat snacks.

Afternoon: Essay – Edit Now I’d just like to get a new workable essay plan that doesn’t make me want to scream.

In breaks – Swap washing into dryer, do the dishes, do some more of a book review.

Evening: Essay – Edit: 700 words on new essay question, more if going well.

In breaks/After – Work on book review, read, some chapter planning whatever I feel like.

What am I looking forward to?

Tea breaks. I bought some really yummy-looking cookies from the shop 😛

What do I think I’ll find tricky?

Getting my essay wordcount in the time I’ve set for myself. Edit: Maybe writing an essay I won’t get shit marks for will be the difficulty! ugh

How can I work through it?

Don’t spend forever scouring my books for a quote, paraphrase as best as I can remember then search for it later. Also STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA. Edit- caffeine, lots of it.

What song came up first on my iPod this morning?

I started the shuffle before I went to the shop and got- Dragon Racing from the How to Train Your Dragon 2 soundtrack. A lovely invigorating track for the day when you got some beasties to slay.

Now off to work!

Ray 🙂