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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

My 2007 "Writerly" Resolutions

We writers need rejuvenation every now and then . . . especially when the rejection slips start to pile up, the endless “waiting game” becomes maddening and the mailman looks on us with pity as he hands us (yet another) fat envelope.
Since the start of a new year is a perfect time to begin again, and it's just around the corner, I thought I'd blog today about my writerly resolutions. Maybe they will spur you to make a few goals for yourself.

First, I will write regularly (even--no ESPECIALLY--if I don't have a deadline). There are a million other things that pull me away from the computer. I can justify them all, but those actions at times keep me from doing what I get paid to do--and what I love to do.
Second, I will take a break. I know this resolution sounds contradictory to the previous one. Often, however, I‘ve done my best writing after doing something else, such as reading or taking a walk. One good way to take a break without guilt is to set up a reward system. (one page completed=a soda, two=call to a friend, three=watching a favorite television show, etc.)
Third, I resolve to not let rejection slips and the word “no” crush me. Did you know that Richard Bach had his book, Johnathon Livingston Seagull, rejected 16 times before a publisher picked it up? It’s now a classic. Ironically, the company that finally accepted the book had turned the manuscript down one year earlier.

To increase my acceptances, I resolve to attend to a writer’s conference. As a creative person, I often find myself eager to shut the world out and “do my own thing.” And that’s fine at times. However, there are instances when a freelance writer MUST network and expand his or her contact base. What if the magazines and businesses an author regularly submits to began to close up shop? We must continually broaden our horizons and look for new magazines, editors and clients to work for. And that’s what a writer’s conference is all about.
Next, I resolve to branch out into new territory. I have never written a novel or screenplay. Those are just some of the arenas I want to learn more about—and play with-in 2007.
And finally, I will realize that I have a great job. Writing is full of frustrations, and it’s easy to get stuck in the mire of hopelessness and self-doubt by concentrating on the negatives: editors who won’t return phone calls, magazines who send back form rejection letters, computer problems, low pay, etc. But what about the perks? Setting our own schedule, meeting (and writing about) fascinating people, seeing our names in print and receiving a paycheck for doing what we love are all wonderful reasons to keep our fingers on the keyboard.
If we don’t feel that way as writers, even the most lucrative writing contract won’t bring us happiness. So I resolve to be grateful to the Lord for the gift of writing, use that gift faithfully, and smile back at the mailman. After all, he’s become one of my dearest friends!

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