A writer’s blueprint for 2013
There is something about the turning of the year that uncoils energy, stirs the imagination, and ignites the passion to get things done. This year proves no different. I’ve been busy, busy, busy and my keyboard is humming from all the finger tapping.
Resolutions? Well, maybe my version of them: they’re the kind that are somewhat open-ended. I like to leave things free enough to be able to respond in the moment to new opportunities or ideas, especially if I don’t have a contract or any other real deadline. It’s more of a road map with allowances for bends, swerves, and potential u-turns.
The 2013 Roadmap – Reading
For the last year I’ve been intent on rekindling my first love: reading. To that end, I set up two projects: The Classics Club and the Short Stories Challenge. They will continue with some added tweaks:
- The TBR Pile Challenge 2013 – This is simply an emphasis to read books that have been unread on my shelves for more than a year.
- The 2013 Essay Challenge – This simply brings to the fore my love of the short nonfiction form, the personal essay in particular.
- The Classics Club 1st 24 hour Readathon – This event is January 5th and a quick way to set things in motion, and I’ll look for more readathon opportunities during the year.
- Continue the Moby Dick Big Read which should end later this month.
- Choose another classic book for a chapter-a-day read similar to the Moby Dick program. (Would be great to have audio but not necessary.)
- Allow time for deep thinking and, when prompted, post reviews.
Now you may be wondering about all this reading. Unfortunately there are far too many writers today who simply don’t read. When you don’t read, or don’t read outside your genre, or disregard the classics, you do yourself a disservice. You miss the conversations and wind up lacking depth and texture in your thinking and, therefore, in your writing. And when I say reading, I don’t mean skimming or reading so fast you neglect to think and even prevent the deeper meanings of the work to sink into your subconscious to mingle and merge and morph into that vast ocean that spawns your imagination. Take time to do some deep reading and deep thinking.
The 2013 Roadmap – Writing
I admit this is a bit of a sticky wicket for me. Writing has been all but out of reach for me, and by writing I mean fiction writing. The nonfiction has, after much work, returned, as has the reading, but the fictional landscape remains elusive. I’ve been silent about these issues that started in the months precipitating my dad’s death in 2008.
High stress generated from my dad’s deep decline in health coupled with the strain and aftermath of a physical problem affecting the blood vessels in my brain, left me unable to function at the same cognitive level. Reading was impossible. Writing, forget it. I couldn’t even generate a sentence. With a lot of time and practice the nonfiction skills returned. Fiction, not so much. I plan the following:
- Participate in the January 31 minutes daily writing challenge focusing on fiction.
- Work on some short stories and vignettes.
- Continue work on the novel but don’t push it too hard to keep the deep mental fatigue at bay.
- Continue blogging and writing other nonfiction, including personal essays.
- Allow for deep thinking to influence and prompt the writing.
For me, reading begat writing for I was a reader long before I ever thought of becoming a writer. I want to honor that inner principle. So if you visit me here, expect to find a continued blend of conversation about reading and about writing and how the two come together to create a writer’s life.
Go here to read my 2012 wrap-up.
____________Read more: TBR Pile Reading Challenge 2013; Essay Challenge 2013; The Classics Club; Classics Club Readathon; Short Stories Challenge; Moby Dick Big Read (Image credits: Dominos via Dreamstime Free Images; Classics Club Readathon badge via The Classics Club; Amazon book cover via Amazon.com affiliate)