Five New Year’s resolutions for a writer

I don’t know how it happened, but it’s 30th December, and that means it’s New Year’s Eve tomorrow, and that means it’s time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. I don’t want to think about sorting my life out, so here are my writer’s resolutions.

1. Read more

This year I feel as though I have had no time whatsoever to read for pleasure. But next year I’m going to make a proper effort to clear some time in my ridiculous schedule to read. Reading is the fastest way to overcome writer’s block, I find, and it is by far the most inspiring activity for a writer. Having been so hesitant about e-readers for so long, for Christmas I received a Kindle, and I realise now that I’ve been thinking about it all wrong. I can’t get a Kindle because I love real books. Well, I still love real books, and I still have shelves and shelves of the bloody things. But now I have space for even MORE ‘books’. I have so much to read now.

2. Write more

I’ve been much better about writing than I have reading. I mostly write in bed before I go to sleep when my mind is in overdrive. I have a little Moleskine notebook, which I use for ‘stylised thinking’. I have another notebook for one-page short stories. I have another for ‘scrappy thoughts’. I started a blog earlier this year which I wrote only between the hours of 12am and 2am, but I lost heart after someone told me they thought that what I wrote was weird. I didn’t care about that as such. I cared more that they felt the need to tell me. I always write by hand because it feels organic and raw. I have bought coloured pens for colourful ideas. I’m going to take my notebooks more places for thoughts that happen in new places. You can never have too many notebooks. I try not to dwell on the things I write in them too. They are for fleeting, ephemeral flurries of thinking.

Books in bookcase
@specialkayaa // Instagram

3. Learn to create plots

I have long been aware that I pick and choose the bits of stories I want to write. Namely, the dialogue and the description. But dialogue and description do not a story make, so I need to train myself into the structured thought processes required by plot development. I write short stories in part because I don’t enjoy complex plots, reading or writing, but even short stories need somewhere to go. So I’m going to make 2015 the year I prop up my stories with plots. Subplots might be pushing it a bit.

4. Watch more mumblecore films

I like to create the written equivalent of mumblecore films. They are quiet and dialogue driven, and often not an awful lot happens. I like to write that. The musical equivalent is shoegaze. These are all things I enjoy, so it’s what I want my writing to feel like. I need to immerse myself in all these beautiful creations and learn more about the quiet nothingness that comprises 90% of our lives. Because this is what gets left out when we focus too much on plot. These moments shouldn’t be lost, and I want to emulate the way they are brought to the forefront in films, and make it happen in words.

5. Write more letters

A friend and I wrote letters to one another earlier this year. I miss it, and I want to restart it. If you’re reading this, you know who you are, and we should reignite our handwriting again in 2015. Letterwriting is a real artform, and you have to think so carefully about what you want to commit to paper. Especially in my illegible handwriting. You have to be kind and not make your recipient waste their time on something which is difficult to read. It’s only polite.

What are your writer’s resolutions for 2015?

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