Thursday, January 6, 2011

My 2011 Resolution

Many of my writer friends have spent considerable time setting their writing goals for 2011. Some are determined to write more during 2011 than they did during 2010. While others are determine to up their daily output. One writer said he was definitely going to write 5000 words a day without fail. I’m guessing he has no idea how hard that will be.

I only set one writing goal each year. For me, any goal I set that has anything to do with output is unrealistic. I will write what I write. I know, for instance, how many words I wrote each day in 2010. I only reached 5000 words per day on two days. The rest of the year, I probably averaged somewhere around 1000 words a day. There was one day when my total output was 79 words. If I had set goal of X number of words per day, that one day would have been a disaster. Instead, I was able to put down that number and not even blink an eye. There were days when I didn’t write a single word. I have no idea why I didn’t write on any particular day, although I suspect life got in the way. That happens to us all - a lot. Did I beat myself up because I didn’t reach some unrealistic goal that day? No. I simply sat down the next day and wrote.

I’m not sure when or why I decided to track the number of words I write every day. Probably because some recessive obsessive/compulsive gene made me do it. The days that I get frustrated are the days when I’m editing a completed book.

I recently pulled a book off the virtual shelf and began reading it. I remember liking the characters, setting, storyline, etc. After reading the first chapter, I realized why it had been sitting on the shelf for three years. What it also said, in no uncertain terms, was how much I have learned about writing in the ensuing years. I decided that since I still liked the book, I’d edit it and see what happens.There were days when I deleted more words than I added. I finished the edits yesterday.

Now that I’ve finished those edits, I know what’s still wrong with the book. Today, I’m going to go back to page one and start editing again.

Over the past few months, I’ve read some really, really good books. I’ve also read some really, really awful books. Each of those books has taught me things about writing and the kind of writer I want to be. Suddenly, I knew what my 2011 resolution would be.

My writing goal for 2011 is to be a better writer than I was in 2010.

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