Writerly Resolutions for 2013

2013-GoalsWriters benefit from New Year Resolutions as much or more than anyone. I realize we are already four days into the year, and for many, thoughts of resolutions last about as long as ice cubes in New Year’s Eve drinks.

But it's not too late. Durable, productive resolutions take time to craft. Besides, you need to do more than write two or five words about an outcome. You need to use your writerly skills to flesh out that description. Tell yourself or the world what it will look like, taste like, feel like (both tactile feel and emotional), and so forth. Then draft at least a rudimentary plan of getting from here to there, so you can track your progress.

I have two goals I’ll mention here. One is relatively new. In November I featured a guest post by Elizabeth Kim, who wrote about her experience publishing two Kindle Short eBooks, Dancing In the Rain and What My Mother Didn’t Know. Each of her books is what I refer to as a story album. Each is comprised of six or seven poignant and touching short stories that focus on a common theme.

This was not a new idea to me – I include instructions for compiling story albums in The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writingbut I have not, to date, published one of my own. Now that it’s become easy to do this in eBook format, it’s time to get the show on the road. I already had four stories about my adventures as a chilihead (someone addicted to the endorphin rush that follows hot chili intake and considers a day without chili rather like a day without sunshine). I have resolved to finish three more and publish this eBook story album by … April?

Process: finish drafting one story, then draft the other two on the list. Edit all three. Compile all seven stories into a single document, format, upload to Kindle and Smashwords. Celebrate.

I’d be more specific about dates, but my second goal may nudge this one aside. I have firmly resolved that this is the year I will finally finish the book on sensory description that I began a couple of years ago. Delays have made the content richer, and now it’s time to finish it and send it out to the world.

Surely you’re curious about this second project. I hope so! I’m working on finalizing the content, and will be announcing the title shortly with the advent of a Facebook page for it. You’ll be hearing more about it here, and I’ll be having book-related events. Stay tuned for details and excerpts! Subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already so you won’t  miss a post about it.

Write Now: Set at least one writerly goal you want to accomplish by the end of 2013. This may be a goal to write twelve stories, one a month. It might be to finish the draft of a memoir. It might be to journal at least five times a week through the year, or complete a story album of two dozen stories. Whatever it is, be sure you do believe you can complete it. Then write a description of the completed project, as discussed above, and create a simple outline of steps to get from here to there.


SuziCate said...

I look forward to reading your new books!
I've compiled quite a few family stories I've written and have considered publishing them for the family....haven't taken the time to organize/format the book though.

Sharon said...

SuziCate, formating is the easy part. My suggestion for everyone, whether preparing for print or digital publication is to download the Smashwords Style Guide from http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52. This book helps you clean up your manuscript and get it in good shape for easily applying your desired fonts, line-spacing, headers (only for print!) and so forth. Perhaps one of your writerly goals could be finishing this project in time for next Christmas.

Kevin said...

Thanks for the ideas and inspiration.
Getting started right away writing.

Sharon said...

Yay Kevin. Keep those fingers moving, and think like a writer when they aren't.

Samantha White said...

What a great idea, Sharon. I had not know about the reality of a "story album," but it resonates with me. I have all these little stories that are separate from each other, yet connected, would not make a cohesive full-length book, but might be just right for a short e-book. After reading your post I immediately downloaded "What My Mother Didn't Know" to my Kindle, and loved, loved reading it! I also see that the book is doing well in sales! So I've downloaded the Smashwords Style Guide, even though I have sworn that after writing my first book, which took so much out of me emotionally and time-wise, I'd never write another book. Yet here I am, thinking . . . maybe . . .?

Sharon said...

Samantha, welcome to the secret so many writers share. We swear each book will be our last. Anyway, I'm happy that the Story Album concept resonates with you. I love short stories because I can read them in short periods of time and feel finished. I'm so glad you loved Elizabeth's collection. She has such amazing stories to share. I wish you well on yours.