Writing Resolutions

I always make loads of New Year’s resolutions – multi-page lists, covering everything from the external (I will not leave my pajamas on the bathroom floor after I take a shower) to the internal (I will yell less; I will learn to breathe deeply; I will have the fortitude to drive in Washington, D.C.). When I saw Woody Guthrie’s list from 1942 floating around the internet a few years ago, I adapted his method, drawing little sketches and making sure I covered mind, body and art. My favorite on his list is No. 18: Stay glad.

Resolutions on writing are a big part of my list, too, and I’m always interested in the resolutions my friends make. Author Wendy Shang (The Great Wall of Lucy Wu, The Way Home Looks Now) sent me hers weeks ago, in an e-mail that said, My writing resolution for this year: Go there. I immediately envisioned her words framed on my office wall. And because my walls are never full enough, I checked in with some other kid-lit authors to find out their goals for 2015. They’re pretty useful, whether you’re a writer or not.

Gigi Amateau (Come August, Come Freedom, Macadoo of the Maury River) I resolve to approach each page with a sense of wonder. Why? Because I rush around too much elsewhere in my life.

Molly Burnham (Teddy Mars, Almost a World Record Breaker) My resolution is to have have a blast writing the third and last book in my series!

Cece Bell (El Deafo, Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover) Resolution: to continue working while standing up at my drawing table.

 Kathryn Erskine  (The Badger Knight, Mockingbird) Last January, even though it sounds a little hokey, I made a “vision book,” which included the vision for my writing. I found pictures that symbolized three books I wanted to finish and submit. As usually happens with me, I kind of forgot about the vision book until December when I realized that I had, indeed, finished and submitted three books (two of the ones from my vision book and a third, different book, but still … 3 books!). So I’m doing the same thing this January. I’m envisioning the books I want to finish and I hope to report next December that it worked! Even if I forget to look at my vision book for 11 months. :0)

Sara Lewis Holmes (Operation Yes, Letters from Rapunzel) When she found out that Wendy’s resolution was only two words, Sara thought about trying to one-up her with a one-word resolution, “begin,” before offering the following: Seriously, I don’t like New Year’s resolutions and always seem to rebel against the idea that something drastic has to change in each new year. It’s kind of like insisting to a tree: Grow! It will grow—if it has sunlight and water—the trick is noticing such slowly evolving change. So, um…mine is less a resolution (which also means an ending, of course) and more of an openness to revolution ( a charged word that can mean just a simple turning about something central, but can also be, of course, a radical upending or new beginning).

Michael Buckley (The Sisters Grimm, Nerds) My resolution is not to have people roll their eyes when they hear my resolutions.

Jacqueline Jules (The Freddie Ramos series, The Sofia Martinez Series) To focus on the privilege of being able to spend my days writing at this time in my life. To be grateful for the joy and purpose writing gives me. I love playing with words and discovering what they have to tell me. Putting words together in just the right order may not be always be lucrative, but it is always satisfying.

Marfé Ferguson Delano (Master George’s People, Explore My World, Butterflies) My writing resolution for 2015 is to continue writing daily “morning pages”:  3 pages of longhand, stream-of-conscious writing done first thing in the morning. I started doing this in early September, when I started a 12-week workshop based on Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way,” and so far I’ve only skipped one day. The practice has yielded unexpected treasures, in addition to giving me a great place to vent.

Miranda Kenneally (Breathe, Annie, Breathe, Catching Jordan) My New Year’s resolution is going to be learning how to focus, focus, focus! *abandons writing to read book* *abandons book to go find wine* (Originally a tweet, but M said I could repurpose it for this post=)

Danielle Ellison (Follow Me Through Darkness) I resolve to keep going. I want to keep giving 100% to something, even when I’m not seeing results I want. I usually tend to give up (especially on things that scare me or are for myself) but this year I want to keep going. To not let minor setbacks keep me back and to end the year knowing I tried everything to the absolute best of my ability…

Marty Rhodes Figley (Emily and Carlo, Clara Morgan and the Oregon Trail Journey) My resolution for this year is to write from the heart.  If an editor takes a shine to my work, then that’s icing on the cake.

Meg Medina (Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, Tia Isa Wants a Car) 1. Buy my own copy of the Chicago Manual of Style. 2. Start a middle grade novel.

Anne Marie Pace (Vampirina Ballerina Series, A Teacher for Bear) To write more consistently than I did last year, whatever that means.

Jama Rattigan (Dumpling Soup, Jama’s Alphabet Soup) I rarely make resolutions, but here is an ongoing goal of mine: I resolve to explain less and trust the reader to get it.

Madelyn Rosenberg, aka Me (How to Behave at a Tea Party, Nanny X) To think like a detective or, to be more pithy about it, to shake it like Sherlock. My goal is to consider the motivation of each character I write more closely, and to keep, foremost in my mind, the question, “Why?”

Linda Urban (The Center of Everything, A Crooked Kind of Perfect) I’ve found that for me, making grand, year-long resolutions is futile. I’ve learned to set small, attainable goals and to celebrate the process rather than the product.  I’ll start January with another daily writing goal (time, not number of words) and see what happens.

A.B. Westrick (Brotherhood) My writing resolution for 2015 is to finish my work-in-progress (a YA novel). I hope to get a contract on it in 2015!

What about you? Do you have any writing resolutions for 2015? If so, I hope you’ll leave them in the comments. And I hope that you have a fabulous new year.

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7 Responses to Writing Resolutions

  1. Jess Stork says:

    The contrast between everyone’s resolutions is so interesting. It just goes to show… there’s so many different experiences to being a writer. Thanks for gathering these all together!

  2. madelyn says:

    Perfect choice.

  3. I agree with Marty, I just want to wake up every morning and write from the heart.

  4. madelyn says:

    That’s a good one!!!

  5. My writing resolution for 2015 is to become more routine-oriented. Routine = Productivity

    Just Sayin’ http://tinyurl.com/qfwguey
    Dare U 2 Open This Book http://tinyurl.com/obwzv6c

  6. madelyn says:

    Thanks, Tabatha. I loved that one, too. I had actually been wondering about yours this morning. You always have such good insights!

  7. Tabatha says:

    I enjoyed this collection very much — thanks, Madelyn! So much wisdom in them… I like what Sara had to say about telling a tree to grow :-)