Monday, January 11, 2016

Instead of a Resolution...

Dreaded Resolution Time!
I find that lots of resolutions have an expiration date. After a month or so those great lofty goals to eat healthier or go running more often, suffer a terrible death the first time I come across White Castle hamburgers or sucomb to my potato chip addiction... yet again.

So instead of writing about resolutions this year, I thought I'd make a list of new things to try. Feel your writing is in a rut? Rather than making uncharacteristic goals, it's better to simply add a new aspect to the experience.

  1. Write in long hand. I came across this in a BuzzFeed article about Neil Gaiman's writing process. The article notes that he feels writing in long hand allows him to process the writing in a more thoughtful manner, ending up with better draft in the end. I noticed he also leaves the left pages blank to jot notes. This is one of the things I'm trying this new year with a snazzy new blank Star Wars blank book and pen set my husband got me for christmas. (There's something so inspiring about having C3PO on your pen.)
  1. Start a writing schedule. While it's sometimes difficult to fit in, I love having a set time during the day to write. There can be a lot of creative ways to set this into a schedule, (although I'll admit sometimes it is pretty impossible.) But with writing longhand, a commute on a bus or metro can be writing time. I also find those long waits in bureaucratic lines to be really useful for plot points. For ideas on getting a writing routine, try out the amazing book, Rituals, which chronicles the work routines of different artists.

  1. Try a new planning structure. While sometimes planning structures work and then sometimes they just don't, try out a new plot structure. You never know what it could spark, and nothing says you have to stick to it rigidly. Some that I've found interesting are: The Snowflake Method, The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet, The Three Act Structure.
  2. Try a new writing haunt. Write at home? Try a coffeehouse. Write at a desk? Try the couch with an afghan. Shaking things up a bit might also shake up your perspective.
  3. Take a walk. Don't worry, I'm not suggesting you start a new exercise regimen filled with crack of dawn sprints and raw eggs for protein afterwards. But taking a stroll could help loosen up some ideas that are stuck rattling around in your head. Or if you don't have time for that, fold laundry, do the dishes and keep a pad nearby for ideas.
Anyone else have new things they want to try in the New Year? I'm interested to hear. 


  1. Hi Jess, I loved this list. I have definitely tried writing in longhand when I feel like I'm in a rut. I especially use this when I'm revising. Somehow if I just open up the same old computer file I have a hard time making real changes. So if I want to do more than just switch out a couple words I've got to take more drastic measures. Now I buy legal pads in bulk :)

  2. Legal pads are probably easier. I've been trying a notebook, but then I can't skip to another scene without feeling like I need to finish the one I'm in. Glad the list was useful!