Reading & Writing

The Resolution to Write

I love New Year’s Resolutions. I tend to make a lot of them. But there’s one resolution I make year after year:

The resolution to write.

Then again, it isn’t really one resolution. Some years my resolutions are about word count. Sometimes they’re about establishing routines, carving out time–my “writer’s life,” if you will. There are dozens of ways to resolve to write, and that resolution can be regularly renewed or revamped. I’d say there are so many ways to resolve to write, that the blanket statement isn’t enough: we need to focus on a more specific, more concrete goal.

Since I’ve been resolving to write for so long, I thought I’d share some of my more specific resolutions. You’ll notice that they all come with a common theme: Don’t expect too much of yourself. I don’t want you to underestimate yourself, either, but it’s better to set yourself up for success than for failure.

  • I resolve to set a timer and write for one hour a day. (You can aim for more or less time but, especially if you’re just starting out, do not expect yourself to spend more than an hour or two sitting and writing. Yes, there are writers who supposedly write eight hours a day. Their writing time includes bathroom breaks, stretching, reading, daydreaming, et cetera–and/or they are superhuman robots–and/or they’re completely full of it.)
  • I resolve to write 1000 words per day. (Again, set your own goal–but 1000 is a good starting point, at least for prose. Poetry is a different monster.)
  • I resolve to draft a short story, beginning to end, in one month. (Notice I say “draft”–you might be able to write a fully polished piece in a month, but for many writers the polishing takes longer than the writing and comes after a cooling-down period in which the story is set aside and new projects are written.)
  • I resolve to write in my journal for ten minutes every night.
  • I resolve to carry a notebook with me and write down at least three beautiful images from my daily life each day.
  • I resolve to write a poem a week.
  • I resolve to write an ode, an aubade, an elegy, a sonnet, a prose poem, and a confessional poem in free verse.
  • I resolve to write one page every night before I can turn on the TV.

This year, I’m taking my resolution month by month. For January, I resolve to crank out 50,000 words (a la NaNoWriMo–I’d call it JaNoWriMo but that just sounds too cheesy) and thus push to the end of the draft of my current novel project. (For those of you new to writing, the NaNoWriMo promise that you’ll write a novel in a month is pure garbage–50,000 words is shorter than the average middle-reader book and the word counts only go up as the readers get older.) I’ve also resolved, this January, to help light a fire under my fellow writers by coordinating a month of writing prompts and discussion topics through my Facebook group, The Sensitive, Bookish Type Writer’s Group.

If you’d like to join us this January, head over to Facebook and join the group! Many of the writing prompts will appear here on the blog but there will be outside articles as well, and what I hope will be lively and supportive discussion.

Find out more at

I hope to see you there!


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