Last night, my writing group and I gathered for our monthly meeting at our usual spot–a seafood chain restaurant in a hotel. It’s a strange meeting place, but since alcohol specials like Happy Hour are illegal in Boston, Bostonians have to settle for specials on appetizers and bar food instead, and this chain restaurant happens to have some pretty decent food deals and a quiet bar in which there are always tables available. In honor of the holiday season, and in recognition of the fact that most of us wouldn’t have a lot of time to write during the holidays, we decided to give ourselves a break and a treat–rather than critiquing one another’s writing while eating cheap appetizers, we’d relax and chat and order from the real menu.
It was a disaster. Our drinks took forever, we had to practically beg the bar to bring us water, they ran out of several menu items, and the steaks my friends ordered were all either over cooked or under cooked–by a lot. I spoke to the manager and we got the questionable meals taken off the bill, but we might need a new writing group meeting spot. We still managed to have a great time, though.
Anyway, that’s not the point of this post. The point of this post is that we all shared our writing goals for the upcoming year. And all of them shared a similar theme–just to write more often. We’re all busy women and it’s tough to find the energy and time required to write. One friend made a very good point in that when she was younger, she wrote as a form of escape. Writing was fun. Now that she’s a “real” writer, publishing stories and books and working on a novel, she says she feels like writing has become another obligation in the long list of other adult obligations. All of us agreed–writing has become just another chore on the to-do list.
I love writing. It helps me sort my feelings and practice creativity. I’ve never been an artist or a musician or a crafter–writing is my only creative outlet. I consider writing an essential part of my identity, though I still hesitate to call myself a “writer.” So why is it so hard to just sit down and write?
I don’t make writing a priority in my life. I rationalize that I’m too busy with other things–work, maintaining relationships, the gym, being an adult who pays her bills and does her laundry and buys groceries. But the truth is, watching tv and playing on the Internet and staring into space also takes up a good portion of my time. And if that stuff takes up time, then I have time to spare. It’s that simple.
So my first, more broad, writing resolution for 2015 is to make writing a priority. It’s not going to take a backseat to things that are less important to me anymore, just because those things are easier or more convenient or more fun.
Here are my other writing resolutions for the year ahead–all lining up to help me make writing a real priority in my life.
- Blog more. I love this space and I’ve been neglecting it for no real reason this year. Count on seeing more frequent updates–my goal is to have at least 3 new posts a week. Hold me accountable for this one! You’re allowed to send me threatening emails, tweets, and Facebook comments if I don’t stick to this. (Nice, encouraging notes will also be accepted).
- Finish the essay I’m currently working on and send it to at least ten magazines. I often have a problem with finishing what I start to a form that’s acceptable to me, and even once I “finish” something, I’m terrified of putting it out into the world. I have GOT to get in the habit of putting myself out there in terms of submissions. Ten is my goal, but I realize it may take more.
- Write in some form every day–this doesn’t mean sitting down at my desk and starting a novel (necessarily), but writing in my journal, doing a quick writing exercise, or blogging. Long emails to friends count too.
- I’d love to try NaNoWriMo again in 2015. Unfortunately, though I successfully completed the challenge in 2013, I have some pretty painful associations with it, so I was unable to muster the wherewithal to take it on this year, but I’m hoping that in 2015, I’ll be better equipped to take it on again.
- Take another Grub Street writing class. The Master Fiction class I took last spring was really, really good for my writing, and I also took a one-night Personal Essay class that was really informative.
- Inspired by my good friend Rebekah, I’d love to take my own writing retreat sometime this year–just me, my laptop, and a room somewhere pretty for the weekend.
So that’s it. Nothing grand, like writing for two hours every morning, or writing a novel, or getting published. Really, it all boils down to trying harder, and taking writing more seriously. Because if I can’t take my writing seriously, who else will?
Thanks for reading, and for sticking with me during my periods of silence.