Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Not A Dumbell In Sight

Thank you Google Images
The New Year is moving along as time has a habit of doing and here it is week two of 2011.  How did that happen?  I have no idea where the first eleven days of January went!

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!!!


Jan Morrison said...

Geesh! No wonder you haven't been around lately. I think taking courses is great. Good luck with it all. I want to take courses in anything this time of year but (yes there's always a but) I don't like driving in snowy weather. so.....

The Words Crafter said...

Hey, that's a pretty cool list of do-able resolutions! I don't know if we have any authors coming around my neck of the woods. I'll have to find out....

I did nano this past Nov. and this year, I may just stick to polishing and revision. Actually, that should be the other way around :)

Good luck! I hope to enroll in a writing class this summer. We'll see....

Sondrae Bennett said...

I love this whole plan! How fun!

Mary said...

Great New Year Resolutions ...wish I spotted them before signing up for the spinning classes! Don't think you'll have time for lifting those dumbbells Ann. Looking forward to more writing this year.

Old Kitty said...

Wow!!! I love the whole writerly year mapped out like so!! Thanks for the info lovely Ann!!! I might just print it off and see how I get on!! Yay!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Well done you for finishing your course inspite of all the wonderful non-writerly distractions!!!! Double yay!!!

May you and yours have an amazing 2011 too!! Take care

walk2write said...

Some good ideas for sure! I do wish the NanoWriMo was not in November. October would be better. The brain gets overloaded with all of the holiday stuff. At least the married/maternal female one does:)

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm glad you took the class!

I really like this idea. It's like getting a present of the month. I may print this and do it, Ann.

But I probably won't do NaNoWriMo. What's a good substitute? Maybe helping a new writer or writing a shorty story?

Maybe you'll exercise tomorrow. Maybe not.

Tracy said...

Goodness Lady, you have lofty goals...I just hope to take one day at a time and do the best I can do each and everyday!
Good Luck with all of your endeavors, AND good for you for making it to this point of the year!

Catherine said...

Hi Ann - Happy New Year and thanks for visiting the blog and commenting! I love this literary spin on New Year Resolutions. I can give some a shot- I bought myself Soundings for Christmas in a fit of nostalgia - it's been rehashed with the original graffitied cover and it's got all the notes I had in school poetry and all the old faves. So I'm enjoying dipping into it like a poem at bedtime! It's a do-able list!
I know how you feel about holidays and I only had Christmas to contend with - didn't really do Hallowe'en and New Year was a quiet stay-at-home one with water rationing putting paid to any party plans we had like last year. So hence the knitting and crochet-fest! Have a great year,hope we meet up!
Catherine xxx

KarenG said...

Haha, I love your definition of a "major holiday" and what a great idea to do goals per month rather than for the entire year. Except that now I'd have to change my 3 goals to 12!

Joanna St. James said...

ha ha even i paused when I saw the plan for November - I thot to myself "wasnt she one of the cheerleaders on the sidelines last year?"

I must check out the loft it sounds like fun

Brigid said...

Great post, Ann. They are terrific and achievable.
Gosh, your holidays sound hectic, glad you have some chance to take a breath now, good luck with your writing for 2011.

Ellen Brickley said...

They are great resolutions, Ann - they seem manageable but if you achieved all of them, you would have done a lot!

And I agree about PG Wodehouse.

'Very good,' I said coldly. 'In that case, tinkerty tonk.'
And I meant it to sting.


Samantha Vérant said...

What an awesome plan! Good luck! (I just may copy you...although I'd have to watch author readings online)

Hart Johnson said...

Great to have such a specific list to work with! And I love that when the wind down starts, your instinct is to jump into another class--great for your momentum! Good luck hitting all your goals!

Susannah said...

That's a great list Ann, thanks for sharing it. It made me realise how many 'doable' things there were that I could start.

As for the Nanowrimo novel, I did it this year and it taught me so much, not least how much you could get written when you commit to it! I aimed for 2000 words a day, a thousand in the morning and a thousand in the evening (so I could get ahead of myself in case I had to miss a day or two).

The key to getting so much done was not editing as you go. I am doing my editing now! So even if you can't do it in November because of Thankgiving, you could still do the novel. :-) Actually I think they run another at another time of the year?

Anyway, it is good to have you back! A very happy new year to you and your family. x

Words A Day said...

I like these!

They are nice resolutions - nice and gentle except for NAMO - but thats a while away yet!

The holidays are tiring all right - esp for the cook and shopper - glad you are feeling relaxed now! Thats interesting that you liked Robin Hood and became a fundraiser (there's a story there!)

WritingNut said...

These are great resolutions! :) Good luck with them all.

I had a complicated relationship with NaNo last year... it's a very long story, but I'm not sure I'm going to try it again this year -- at least not during November because apparently I'm a rebel like that ;)

Len said...

Hi Ann! I am definitely with you one these goals, errrrm except for November - I dont think I'm ready for the NaNoWriMo. I will decide near the time perhaps? :) Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

Lola Sharp said...

Damn girl, you did a 12 week course DURING the holidays?! Dude. That's hardcore. Kudos. No one can deny your commitment to improving your craft.

I love this list of resolutions. (even Nov.'s Nano. I enjoy doing nano every year...it's a good exercise in hitting a prof. level of daily word count)

Also, my birthday is April 1st. Yes, April Fools Day. Truer words have not been said...I am indeed a fool and often foolish. I encourage April's goal of celebrating the foolish! :)

Fab post, Ann.
Happy 2011!

Talli Roland said...

Happy New Year, Ann! Love the resolutions - especially 'write a best-selling crime thriller'. Sure, no problem! :)

N. R. Williams said...

Excellent list.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Jen Daiker said...

Seriously hardcore what you're producing here. I'm impressed and amazed. I am pretty sure my mouth dropped open midway through and I was forced to pick it up.

Al said...

What a full list.
I can't imagine planning so far ahead with my writing.
I am in awe of you.

Thank you for your warm words about my girls.
As you know my girls have left Queensland now, they have paused for a bit of R&R in Sydney (about half way home). It is a huge relief, but it will be even better when they walk in the front door.

Barbara Scully said...

Love that resolution list - very positive and doable! Thanks for sharing it Ann