"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Monday, January 03, 2011


It's the new year! All bright and shiny! One zero, two ones, and one two (that comes out to be 2011). A new year is a perfect time to set writing resolutions, but maybe you aren't sure what your resolutions should be. Maybe everything seems too overwhelming. Or then again, maybe you just want to know what our resolutions are going to be :)

Well, we here at the place (being K. A. Holt, Jessica Lee Anderson , E. Kristin Anderson, Madeline Smoot, and sometimes members Mari Mancusi and Jenny Ziegler) have the answers you need.

We give you our Top Ten New Year's Writing Resolutions:

1) Pull five manuscripts out from under your bed. Burn three, tear one to pieces, and resurrect the other. Or burn it and start something new.
The key thing is to pick something to work on.

2) Write everyday.
Blogging doesn't count.
Emails don't count.
Write words and sentences in a manuscript everyday.

3) Read everyday.
Internet doesn't count.
Magazines don't count.
Read words and sentences in an actual book everyday.
(If you're looking for some suggestions, perhaps check out the books by those of us who write at The Place.)

4) Make a schedule so that (2) and (3) are actually feasible.
Once you make the schedule, stick to it. Life is so much nicer when a schedule is involved.


5) Submit something somewhere by the end of the year.

Of course that means you have to

6) Have something finished and good enough to start submitting by the end of the year.

7) Stop tweaking your manuscript!
You've been working on it forever and it's time to let go, query, and submit!


8 ) Sell that book!
See above suggestions if you need help getting to this point.


9) Never be without pen and paper.
Travel with a notebook, write everything down.
Eavesdrop on conversations and record observations.
Make note of every idea, no matter how silly it seems at the time.

(gratuitous Star Trek reference)


10) Enjoy the process more and not worry so much about the destination.
I suggest reading this poem daily on your journey to Ithaca.


Lynn Colt said...

These are all great! #10 is the one I really need to take to heart :) I just posted about my New Year's resolutions, but I should go back and add that one!

Karen Denise said...

Such great writing resolutions! I'm going to adopt most of them today! Oh, and, thanks for the poem. I love it!

E. Kristin Anderson said...

Now if only we can stick to our own resolutions, huh?

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great goals, especially #10. This whole discussion is getting me to reconsider whether I should have more concrete goals.

Christine Marciniak said...

Those are some great writing resolutions. And I really like how you worked the gratuitous Star Trek reference in. Well done!

C.R. Evers said...

great list.

Kelly H-Y said...

Great writing resolutions! #7 ... oh my, I'll tweak forever, second-guessing everything!

PJ Hoover said...

Lynn, I love #10. I have to remind myself of it frequently, but it is so important!

You're welcome, Karen! I was introduced to the poem about a year ago, and now I want to memorize it.

We can, Emily! Write on!

PJ Hoover said...

Agreed, Natalie! As for concrete goals, the whole discussion is making me consider the same thing :)

Thanks, Chris! Live Long and Prosper.

Thanks, Christy! Happy New Year!

Stop tweaking, Kelly! Well, after you've tweaked until it's just right :)

storyqueen said...

You know, I really needed a gratuitous Star Trek reference on a day like today!



Gail said...

These are great...now, if I would follow them.

Book Monster said...

Ooh you have inspired me with writing XD

PJ Hoover said...

You are welcome, Shelley! I find they always brighten my days!

Good luck, Gail! You can do it!

Thanks, Book Monster! I'm glad!

carla said...

love this.

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Carla!