Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Armed for 2016

With the end of the year comes thoughts of new beginnings. Everyone is making resolutions and reflecting on how they want 2016 to be different. Personally, there are many ways I would like 2016 to differ from 2015.

First and foremost, I want to be more deliberate making time to write. I let so many things get in the way that it's almost laughable to call myself a writer anymore. With two jobs, my volunteer commitments, and a child with an active social life who counts me as her chauffeur, there's not a lot of time or energy left in the day for writing. By the time I pull out my laptop, my brain is spent and the crap that comes out of me is hardly worth the ink it would take to print it. Yes, I know that the worse thing I write is better than anything I don't write, but as a perfectionist, I can't accept writing poorly, it aggravates me.

Having spent so much time and money on an MFA in writing, I feel like it's imperative that I write on some sort of regular basis, or it was all for naught. Writing brings me pleasure. It puts me in a better mood. Many times I am proud of what I write, even if I never share it. Despite all these positives, I have not made writing a priority. By writing, I mean new content, not revising. I did a ton of that in 2015. I hope to do more revising in 2016 because it means that perhaps I have another book that could potentially be sold. But, I also want to work on one of the many stories that I've started over the years. I believe in all of them, even though I wouldn't share all of them with my agent. They are all bits of me in one way or another. I need to find the time to feed them so they meet their fullest potential.

When I think about my schedule, I find pockets where I can write. Somehow, though I ended up filling those pockets with other stuff that put writing on the back burner. I can't continue to do that and think that I can still build a career out of writing. That doesn't make sense. Like any art, writing gets better with practice. The more I know myself as a writer, the better I can create stories, develop characters and map out plots that make readers want to read on and on. I've relied on writing in pockets of time in that past, but that isn't enough. Sustained success doesn't come in bursts. It comes steady, builds as you work at it. I'm failing myself when I don't do what it takes to achieve it.

Sadly, I know what it takes. I pushed writing into a predominant task while in school. For those two years it was not optional. I made choices that allowed me to have time to write at least every other day. I made time for reading so I could see writing techniques in action. Today I am lucky if I squeeze in a chapter before my eyelids close the night.

"Write every day" sounds so simple. There are so many things we make time for every day. Why can't writing be one of them? I can list over one hundred reasons, but I won't. That's not a favor to you, it's something that I am telling myself I won't accept. While I make it a point to write this blog every week, I need to make it just as imperative that I write creatively on a regular basis, too. This is not a resolution. It is a challenge to myself. So if you see me out and about, tell me to go write. 

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