Writing Resolutions

Written by Ida Cerne

If a writer is dissatisfied with his output during the year, he probably manages to write a new years resolution to write more, or at least do something with all the scraps of beginnings of novels, short stories or other snippets of creative writing just waiting in some drawer or lurking in the shadows of the computer, waiting to be dealt with. So, being part of a network of writers, I think it a great idea – instead of exchanging gifts in the holiday season – to exchange new years resolutions about writing. Wouldn’t it be great if someone could finish my novel, and I would promise to sort their short stories into a collection. Or I could go through someone else’s scraps of paper with brilliant beginning or ideas that are too brilliant to throw away, and someone could page through the little notebooks I kept as a student and actually extract pearls of wisdom and throw the rest away. There is something about the New Year that calls for coming to grips with things, bringing order into our lives. Instinctively it is a time to set goals and change habits that hold us back.

I asked our other committee members how they would be approaching the new year of writing. Some very interesting answers!

This is what Tamara said:

My resolution for 2015 is to consciously make more time for creative writing as such, but also to come up with ideas for stories and actually focus on them and eventually finish them, rather than coming up with dozens of new ideas which seem much more interesting.

This is what Tim said:

When I was trying to get fit, I just ran for 15 minutes a day. It soon became habit. My resolution is to do the same with writing: at 10.00 a.m. every day, whatever else I happen to be doing, wherever it is (within reason), I want to write for a quarter of an hour. Of course this should soon turns into longer.

This is what Kirsten said:

My intent this year with my writing is to stop my habit of micro editing! I have a tendency to get very caught up in words, and details and find myself so up close to my characters that neither of us have breathing space. My new goal is to step back and observe my own writing from a distance, to watch the world the story lives in without changing anything. I think the big picture will enable me to achieve clarity of form and story.

How about you? Drop us a line here in the comment section and share your strategy, wisdom, or anti-resolution philosophy.

When Word Becomes Flesh

This week, some words from our very own Tamara Radak!

Five years ago, I co-wrote a play with 19 other authors, each of us between 13 and 27 years old at that time. Apart from the requirement that there should be a baby who turns up at school unexpectedly and causes considerable uproar and confusion among the teenage characters, there were no limitations as to what the text should be about. At the week-long workshop, we wrote short pieces based on automatic writing: specific or abstract images served as stimuli and we soon started creating short prose about depressed pillows, dialogues between two socks in a drawer or metaphysical explorations of the philosophical value of salt shakers. Occasionally, we would read out particularly interesting, but also hilariously silly bits and pieces from our collections. In this process of reading out not only polished and perfect set pieces, but also very immediate and honest drafts, we not only ended up bonding over the powerful language of literature, but also creating characters and story lines for what was later to become the Schrilles Herz, without having to sit through endless weeks and months of solitary drafting and editing. At the premiere, we were still somewhat dumbfounded that we had actually succeeded in creating a more or less coherent play. The feeling of hearing my own words on stage, intertwined with and in dialogue with those of others and even eliciting emotional responses from the audience is something I will never forget.