10 Writing Commitments for 2016 (Guest Post by Author Claire Fullerton)

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Becoming a full-time writer was a growth process that began with a weekly column in my hometown newspaper followed by magazine publications, awards in contests, and multiple publications in the world-wide book series, “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”  After I wrote and began promoting my first novel, I wrote a second, and spent the majority of 2015 promoting it, while I continued to write my third.  And while all this may seem like a vortex of work, it’s the life I’ve worked painstakingly to achieve, and I love every minute of the build.

 I’ve discovered that my career all comes down to a disciplinary juggling act of priorities in order to complete my goals. But the thing about working towards goals is one size doesn’t fit all: it’s an individual process predicated on many variables including outside interests, other responsibilities, and even temperament. I thought I had all my vagaries in a manageable rhythm until I took a good look at my writing habits and realized I’d been wasting time. What became glaringly clear to me is no well-intentioned goal in the world can compete with that which stands in the way, and oh the humility that came from realizing I needed to prioritize my time. I know now that my progress isn’t so much about a daily agenda as it is about resisting the temptation to become sidetracked, so I’ve resolved to change all that in this New Year by committing to a schedule that focuses on habits to break.

1.       I will no longer turn on my computer each morning and get caught up in my homepage. Mine is customized with my interests and therefore holds all the danger of a runaway train. I will no longer become involved in the weather forecast, my horoscope, nor which celebrity has pulled what shenanigan.

2.       I will no longer look at Facebook before I begin my day’s task to see who’s living the high-life in what locale. It occurs to me that my friend list can do without my immediate likes and comments.

3.       Although I will check my e-mail for anything urgent, I will resist the temptation to look at anything superfluous that has wormed its way to my in-box. All writers’ groups I’ve joined, with their ongoing discussions, can wait as can all promotions from retail outlets I ordered from in the past.

4.       Once I’ve called up my prioritized work, I will silence my inner critic, who suggests another writer could say it better. I will not look over my own shoulder as I write; I will remember writing is about re-writing. 

5.       I will not concern myself with producing a certain amount of words or pages per day. I will write from my natural flow and call it the best I’ve got for the day.

6.       With regard to novel writing, I will let go of my tendency to review what I wrote days, or even weeks before. The temptation is too keen to scratch the itch of editing, which can become a complete time-waster. I will allow myself to look at a preceding scene in order to keep a flow, but I will keep a firm line of demarcation and set my sight on moving forward until my first draft is complete.

7.       I will let go of the need to be brilliant. I will trust my own voice.

8.       I will stop looking at my words through another’s eyes.

9.       I will throw away the thought that I will be judged (especially if I’m writing a first draft.)

10.     I will remember I write because I love it, and that it is its own reward.

In 2016, I will adhere to this list like a daily devotional.  

I will print it out and display it on the bulletin board hanging above my desk with a straight-pin whose head says, “Imagine.”  

I will put it beside the autograph of a writer who inspires me (whose name I’ll withhold because that’s another kettle of fish.)  

I will straighten up the room where I write and call it hallowed ground, then take out my yellow highlighter and emphasize the tenth point on my list until it glows.

Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton in the Forest

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30 thoughts on “10 Writing Commitments for 2016 (Guest Post by Author Claire Fullerton)

  1. Great post Claire! I’m grateful I’ve mastered your points 1 thur 10. When I write, I write. The computer is much to easily used as a diversion; once on it I could get lost in that world. We have to be accountable and answer to ourselves if we want to commit to our writing.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d highlight numbers 2, 3, 4 and 10 and – oh, might as well highlight them all. It’s sticking to such resolutions I find difficult. Why am I reading blog posts before I have written a single word of my own work????🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s important to tailor goals to your needs and not select them because others swear by them. I know writers who compare word counts and then escalate them routinely like a competitiion. I am no believer in daily word counts, but I do know that once I’ve begun a new project, especially a novel, committing to a word count is important to keep my mind focused and on track even if the words I produce that day are shit. Some days life intervenes and I move on to the next day.

    The important thing for readers to understand is that these particular goals serve as an epiphany to inspire, motivate and and keep this writer working. The goals of ignoring the detritus until her work day is done are not just goal, but excellent advice for any writer (unless that detritus is part of your paying job). Build goals that are doable for you and that you can get excited about. If your new goals aren’t working, ditch them for another set you can accomplish.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m not a writer, just someone with ambitions to build up my blog readership a bit. Nevertheless, I think a number of these resolutions apply even to me. I don’t get much beyond the first one a lot of days, sadly.

    Liked by 1 person

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