How I Will Avoid Dropping the Ball After the Ball Drops: My 2012 Writer’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year again– New Year’s resolution time. With a new year and a new semester on that way, it’s a great moment to start considering the goals you want to reach as a writer in the coming year. I have set some of my own so that I may continue to grow as a writer in 2012.

  1. Allow myself to be messy with my writing. I am a perfectionist. When I write, I want the perfect word, the best description, the most unique story, and/or a fully convincing argument, and I want to get it right the first time around. Sometimes, my drive for perfection keeps me from exploring ideas that are more difficult to dive into. This year, I want to allow myself to write less linearly, to do more freewriting, and to allow myself to produce garbage writing that will help lead me to golden nuggets of words and ideas.
  2. Read for craft. As a doctoral student, I spend a ton of time emerged in books and articles. I’m usually reading for content, though, trying to absorb new information. This year, especially as I approach writing my dissertation, I want to do more reading for craft. This includes paying careful attention to style, form, rhythm, and word choice. I want to explore how people make things sound pretty or assertive, examine how the forms writers chose carry across their messages, and look into new ways to approach old problems. This year will no longer be just about who says what, but how it is said.
  3.  Be more open to letting others read my work. I find it very difficult to share my writing with others, especially pieces of poetry and fiction and particularly with people with whom I have a close relationship. I have this fear of being judged, not only for my writing ability but for the content. For example, just because I write graphically about suicide, I don’t want people to assume that I want to commit suicide or approve of it in any way. This year, though, I want to push myself to be more open to sharing and allowing people to react to my work. As a consultant and First Year Writing instructor, I know that getting feedback from an outside audience is incredibly valuable. It can help you see things in new ways, ways that would have been impossible to imagine on your own.

While these three resolutions seem simple on the surface, I know that they are not always going to be easy to keep. I’m still going to want to get things right on the first try. I’m still going to want to read quickly for information. I’m still going to be shy about sharing my work. Writing these in stone (blog, whatever), however, might be a driving force for me to stay motivated. I can’t let my audience down, after all! Hopefully, by 2013, I will see these resolutions becoming habits instead of struggles.

What are your writer’s resolutions?

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