Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

by Scott Rhoades

I thought I'd be totally original and write a New Year's Day post about some goals for 2010. Honestly, I'm not big on resolutions because they often just set us up for failure, but I thought I'd list a few ideas that might help writers in the new year. I hope most of these are new ideas you might not have thought of. Feel free to pick and choose from this list and take any ideas you like, and modify them if you want.

* Act like a child for a little while every day. Be silly. Play with play dough (and I don't mean making fancy adult-like creations--enjoy the pure joy of making simple snakes and other shapes you loved as a kid). Sing a nonsense song. Color outside the lines. Play with toys. Read a picture book, not as a writer but as a child, soaking in the words and the pictures. Take some advice from Woody Guthrie, who said, "I don't want the kids to be grownup. I want to see the grown folks be kids."

* Make more time for writing.

* Keep track of all of the books you read this year. I've done it two of the last three years, and it's really fun to look back and see how I fed my mind.

* Create or improve your writing space. It doesn't have to be a room. It can be a corner, a desk, or a personalized desktop on your computer. Make it fun and comfortable so it helps you feel creative and makes it easier to get your work done

* Read the biography, autobiography, or journal of a favorite author, one that talks about the challenges the writer faced so you realize that even famous authors struggle to get their words down. Some of my favorites include Twain's autobiography, Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath journal, and a biography of Douglas Adams.

* Commit to reading a certain number of local authors and other writers from your extended writing circles. While you're at it, extend your writing community.

* Join a critique group, either a face-to-face group or an online group.

* Read this blog regularly.

* Make every day an adventure. Go somewhere you've never been. It doesn't have to be far away. It can be in your town. Do something you've never done. Listen to a different kind of music. Eat something weird or scary. Every new experience is an adventure, and every adventure can lead to a story.

* Pick an author and make a plan to read everything he or she ever wrote, then do it

* Most importantly, be healthy and happy.

And have a great year!


Rebecca Talley said...

Those are some great ideas. I love the one about being a kid. I'm going to apply that one while I homeschool my daughter and make it more fun for both of us.

I also like the one about trying something totally new.


Deb Hockenberry said...

You offer some great advice here! Deb :-) ( a PA author)

Suzette Saxton said...

Great list. Thank you!

Taffy said...

Good start of the new year! THANKS

Michele said...

I just decided to do a variation on your "act like a child ..." idea --and woohoo, it's gonna be fun!

I've spent the month clearing out papers from my home office -- shredded a bunch, recycled a bunch. When I finish the rest of the shredding today ...

I'm gonna take it all out of the shredder and THROW IT IN THE AIR, LIKE CONFETTI -- and dance around in it, like my own recycled pile of leaves!

It's my room, and I'll have to clean it up eventually, but this sounds like such a fun reward for all my hard work!

Thanks for sharing your tips.


jessi said...

Great ideas and suggestions! I love a list that's fun, doable and rewarding.

Penny Ehrenkranz said...

Scott, this is a great list. Thanks for sharing. I find spending time with my granddaughter has helped me see things through her eyes. I would add that being a children's author, means spending time with kids. If you don't have any, volunteer at a school or library.

Valerie K said...

Very nice list, Scott. I have a piece of paper I've been carrying around for twenty five years with a similar perennial list. (Originally I used it to recover from depression, and it's been very effective for that.)
I'd love to reiterate a couple of things that have helped me as a writer--physical activity (ties in nicely to being a kid and doing something new) and giving back (ties into critique groups and supporting local writers.) Giving back or passing it on keeps the good energy moving, and is particularly beneficial when you are a little stuck.

Margaret Fieland said...

My favorite is "read this blog regularly."

Now you've got me convinced I need to generate a list, too. And here I was resolved not to resolve anything ...

Shyam Sunder said...

i am shyam sunder from india. i really admire your work for writing. my passion is also writing but i am not good at english language could you help me how to improve myself

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