Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2018 New Year's Resolution for Writers: Finish

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Every year I write a New Year's Resolution on this blog. Last year I resolved to write what I feared. Writers tend to find a niche for themselves, be it a genre, like science fiction, or a form, like poetry. It's not a bad thing to have an area of expertise, but to truly expand, writers need to venture into unknown territory. Fiction writers need to experiment with nonfiction, poets with essays, memoirists with fiction.

Often these experiments produce godawful results, but just making the attempt to force one's mind into a different form of expression can awaken new areas of creativity.

Not being a hypocrite (well, not much), I embarked valiantly on the form of writing I most feared: the truth. Writing in first person about actual events has always made me squirm, and just as I suspected, writing my memoir proved to be about as entertaining as pulling my own teeth. I got nowhere for months. And then, voila! I realized it was the same as writing fiction! There is a story arc, characters to develop, a whole world to explore.

So, now that I have faced my terror, there is only one more resolution in store for me.

Finish.

How many of us have half-written novels, notes for short stories and essays, books in need of revision, ideas languishing on the backs of envelopes in illegible scrawls? I certainly do. These half-completed projects have begun to haunt me, like pets I have forgotten to feed. They follow me around in my mind, whining pitifully.

My New Year's Resolution is to feed my little darlings, wrap them up in comfy prose, tuck them in with some nice plot structure, put them out of their half-finished misery, even when I am not motivated, inspired, or even thrilled. Finishing is a responsibility.

This year I will finish every one of my stories.

(Oh God, what have I just committed myself to?)

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