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Today marks the end of the Fiction Writing Class I started 12 weeks ago. As I was in the throes of this class I wondered what madness possessed me to take it on. I had assignments due every week which was good. A schedule to produce is much needed in my world. BUT isn’t there always a BUT! As I was saying but there were two major family holidays and two less major ones requiring organization thrown amongst the mix. Halloween and New Years (the less major ones), Thanksgiving and Christmas (the major ones). Now some of you might feel Halloween and New Years are also major holidays but…..there is that word again…It depends on how on you qualify a “Major Holiday.” For me hours of shopping, food planning, cooking and a limp exhausted plastic card are the criteria for a “Major Holiday.” So my point, well I stressed out over the holidays and I stressed out over the writing assignments. Today I realized just how stressed I was because today I am relaxed. So what did I do, I went looking for another writing class. I kid you not.
Friends of mine told me about this wonderful place called the Loft in Minneapolis. I went to the Loft website and as I was perusing it I came across a wonderful list of New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions that are not daunting or setting one up for a fall. Best of all there is not a single dumbell in sight!!!
January: Read a classic that has always been on your list. I’ve never read Virginia Woolf— embarrassing, yes. January is the time to conquer this hole in my education.
February: Write for at least 15 minutes every day. Take away the pressure and swear you’ll never show anyone this new work. You’ve heard it before, I’ll tell you again. Just get it flowing. Conquer the blank page. This is a short month. You can do it. If fifteen minutes turns into an hour, send yourself a valentine.
March: Go to at least two author readings at your local book store, library, or literary center. If your community does not have authors passing through, you can watch a reading online. After hearing from the author, read the book.
April: Celebrate the foolish. Find some of the best humor writing and see what makes you laugh out loud. “Right ho!” You can never go wrong with P.G. Wodehouse. Then, give yourself a humor writing assignment. After you make someone laugh from a quip or joke, try to write it down. Can you capture spoken humor in the written form?
May: Spend the month rereading your old work. I have a half-written novel waiting patiently for me on my computer. Why does this scare me so much to go back and read it? Read fragments, half-finished essays, and rejected work. Invite one piece back into your life for revisions, and a second chance.
June: Get an anthology of poetry and read the same poem twice every day—once in the morning, and once at night. Does coming back to it in the evening change it? Take June to think about language—what draws you in, what bores you?
July: Spend two hours a week working on one long piece. This could be a rescued piece discovered in May or something new. Take off the pressure: tell yourself just one month.
August: Reread your favorite book from childhood. Why did that book make such an impression on you? I often wonder if it is a coincidence that I fell madly in love with Robin Hood at the age of 11 and as an adult became a professional fundraiser.
September: Submit. Submit to your dream of being a writer. Submit your work to a contest, a local newspaper, a literary journal.
October: Read a best-selling mystery. What can you learn from a well-paced page turner?
November: Jump on the NaNoWriMo bandwagon and try to write a novel in a month. NaNoWriMo offers plenty of online resources and many communities have meet-ups. The Loft offers a weekend novel writing conference to offer inspiration in early November. Ahem! Don't know about this one???
December: Buy books, give books, talk about books, and spread your love of literature throughout the holidays.
"In one painless year, you’ve become an active participant in the literary community. You’ve read a classic, you’ve created new work, and you’ve heard new work, you’ve supported authors and not once were you encouraged to get more exercise or cut back on sweets and alcohol."
Jocelyn Hale, the Loft’s Executive Director.
I love these resolutions; well all except November…
Thanksgiving people, Major Holiday!
Wishing all my blogging/writerly friends a very Happy and Prosperous 2011.
May all your publishing dreams come true!!!