Speaking with a friend, and fellow writer, I found that I was not the only one with several (five, actually) “novels-in-progress” which pretty much are a result of four, successful, NaNoWriMo challenges. One of them is, of course, of my own prompting when first I decided to write a novel. From this conversation I realized that we are, most likely, two out of thousands who’ve found themselves in this same situation. As we begin another new year we realize we have now been afforded another opportunity to bring at least one, possibly more, of these products of our imaginations to their intended conclusion, submission, and hopefully…publication.
I cannot be certain of many things, but I can be of this one: many other writers will join me in this same New Year’s resolution to awaken our characters from their long and deep sleep and put them back into active status; to work with them, each and every day, to meet the goal and cross the finish line of a written and re-written, fully edited, completed novel. However, what is it that makes this year different from the last, or the one before? Every year I resolve to finish my unfinished novel/s; write something every day; resurrect my age-old short stories, poetry, and give them the resuscitation, I believe, they deserve. What is so different about this New Year that will cause me to bring this resolve to fruition? Absolutely nothing!
Given this stark reality it seemed to me that I needed to take a closer look at why my annual resolution these past five years has not survived the test of time. It wasn’t long before I decided it has been exactly that: my lack of “taking a closer look” and not keeping my resolution in mind, allowing it to wander off into the dark recesses of who knows where, to hibernate, without accountability until the next New Year rolled around. This year, though, I’ve made a second writer’s resolution. In addition to write, write, write…I’ve resolved to work, work, work.
As writers well know our writing is not a chore, it is not a job, it is something that comes naturally and easily to us and it is a passion that fills our hearts with joy. At the same time it serves to release our inner yearnings and pathos; sometimes expressing thoughts of outrageous horror and psychosis, unrequited love and unfulfilled romance…whatever. We write because we can’t help ourselves. It’s who we are, and what we do. That is, unless we don’t write for a day, or two, or more.
It’s a fact of life that our writers’ minds are not always creative. It is during those dry spells, those writers’ block days where we lose track of our characters and put our novels aside, just for a moment. Unfortunately, that moment often becomes another year. During that year we continue to write, because it’s our nature to write, but now we’ve stared a new novel, a new short story, several new poems, and our original work/s stay put aside; dormant. In sad silence they’re unable to recover from the dread writer’s block of which that particular writing has been afflicted.
That is where my second resolution, my resolve to “work” fits in for me this year. I think this year I need to take a new approach. So, I have resolved to go back to each of those unfinished novels, short stories, pieces of poems, one-by-one, individually, and actually “work” to complete them, one at a time, despite any perceived creative block that’s been stopping me from bringing these to their appropriate conclusion. I’ve come to the realization that, yes, I am a writer, and as a writer I need to work at my craft. One definition of “writer” given in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “someone whose work is to write books, poems, stories, etc.”
So now…I think get it! These will be my resolutions in this New Year: I will work to complete one (or more) of my novels and one (or more) of my short stories and work to complete the rewrites and edits and finally…work…to submit them, to have them viewed and critiqued; to be killed off, if that’s what happens, or possibly to live on.
So, wish me well in my endeavor; in my New Year’s resolutions. Maybe these will become the writers’ resolutions for others in this New Year that is open to extraordinarily great and wonderful opportunity and accomplishment.
Happy New Year everyone!