Start the New Year Write

Happy-New-Year-20017

What do you plan to write in 2017? Are you setting writing resolutions for the year?

I gave up setting formal New Year’s Resolutions decades ago, but I still do spend some time thinking about what the year may hold and what I’d like to get done. My intentions for 2016 were to get settled in a new home and new community. That included finding local writing community.

The year unfolded just as I’d intended. As 2017 rolls in, I do feel settled. I still have a few embellishments to complete, but my previously adobe-colored office is now a cheery pale lemon ice with yards of white shelves on the walls. It has become the comfortable, creativity enhancing “room of my own” that I’ve always dreamed of having, and I no longer share space with the laundry.

Sure enough, community roots are spreading. I found a wonderful book club at my local library branch. We’ve connected with several neighbors in our larger community. We’re enjoying family events.

Starting to teach again…
I was unsure whether I wanted to return to teaching after our move, but Olga Wise, a writer friend I made at the 2008 Story Circle conference, insisted I get involved with Austin’s Lifetime Learning Institute (LLI), the rough equivalent of the Osher programs I was involved with in Pittsburgh. I’m forever grateful to Olga. That energizing experience reminded me why I love teaching lifestory writing.

You know how sometimes things seem preordained? I began mentioning to people I met in random places that I was teaching a lifestory writing class. “When are you doing it again? I’ve been looking for something like that!” I told them about LLI and took their names. I already knew demand is high. LLI offered three classes on some aspect of life writing last fall, and all were filled to capacity. Mine had 19 sign up with a limit of 18, and nobody here knew who I was.

That obvious enthusiasm nudged me to contact the program manager for Austin Public Libraries to explore possibilities for setting up library sponsored lifestory writing groups in branches. We concurred that starting small makes sense. Valentine’s week I’ll begin leading free, six-week classes in two library locations, with the stated goal that they’ll transform into self-sufficient, self-sustaining, ongoing writing groups when the classes end. We’ll see how that goes.

Meanwhile, about half the fall LLI class decided to keep meeting and they have become an officially sanctioned library group in a third location.

New book project …
My biggest writing project for the year is a new book, yet to be titled, to take the place of the now out-of-print Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing. This book will cover the basics of writing piles of short stories that can later be incorporated into anthologies, memoirs, autobiographies, or some form of informal lifestory. You’ll be hearing a lot more about that project.

So, my writing vision for 2017 is a finished book by the end of the year, and at least fifty people engaged with lifestory writing groups here in Austin. If anyone feels inclined to begin teaching or starting groups in your community, please send me an email. I’ll be happy to help, however I can.

What about you?
What writing projects do you envision starting and/or completing in 2017? If you leave a brief comment about your hopes or committed plans, you’ll strengthen the likelihood you’ll actually  get them done.

If you don’t already have a project in mind, I have a suggestion: Finish an anthology of two dozen stories and use CreateSpace to print copies for family holiday gifts next year.

What have you accomplished in 2016? Toot your horn in a comment!

6 comments :

Amy said...

Quite a year! And you didn't even mention all the time you spent helping me!!

As for my writing goals for 2016, I feel quite proud that I not only got Ernest's memoir out in print and ebook, but as of a week ago, my novel is now available on Amazon in both formats. I haven't yet done anything to promote it as I knew it would get lost in the holiday rush. But one goal for 2017 is to find a way to promote my own book, even if only among family and friends.

And for 2017? The blog will continue, of course, but I want to find a new writing project that goes beyond writing the family history and genealogy. I really enjoyed writing the novel, but maybe it's time to try something shorter---some stories, whether life stories or stories inspired by the research I've done about others. I need to focus on what will be next.

Happy New Year, Sharon! May 2017 be all you hope and want it to be.

Sharon Lippincott said...

2016 was a productive year for you Amy, in terms of both writing and learning a lot about publishing. Congratulations! I send fervent hopes that next year will be equally rewarding.

Edna said...

I envision having a finished memoir ready to be published early next year.

Mike Donnavan said...

This year I would like to get an experience in rewriting. No, I do not want just copy/paste with few changes in the article, I will paraphrase for teaching myself for better using of synonyms. This what I am waiting from the New 2017! :)

Sharon Lippincott said...

Edna, you go girl! Best wishes for all success.

Sharon Lippincott said...

Mike, working on synonyms is a worthy endeavor. Hope you have fun with it!