Welcome, New Year. You have no idea what you’re getting into.
We’re a day into 2012. By now, over half of the New Year’s resolutions have already been broken. Don’t eat the entire bag of Cheetos. Don’t get drunk enough to swallow your own vomit. Be responsible. Lose fifty pounds. Write.
And what you fail in resolution, you fail without making revolution.
That’s why we’re Writing All Wrong.
Writing All Wrong,
What are some good New Year’s Resolutions for writers in 2012?
—Avinash Dvarakanath, Paterson, N.J.
No resolution trumps a New Year’s revolution. Go beyond “resolving” to do things. History has time and again proven that man’s resolve is insufficient to effect change. But a revolution? Ah, now we’re talking.
Revolution 1: Influence
If you’re like the rest of us, you’re human. If so, you’re susceptible to influence both good and bad. Don’t let yourself be influenced by lesser writers who entertain you on Twitter or by those who garner the acclaim of the masses of mediocrity. Take care in who you let bleed into your writing, consciously or otherwise.
Revolution 2: Substance
Stop drinking soda, drink more coffee. Beyond that, make your stories speak of stronger substance. Better to spend a month firming up the raw substance (topic matter, character, lucid plot) of storycraft and write for a day than to write for a month on a day’s worth of meager substance.
Revolution 3: Sustenance
Read stronger books. Classics, idiot. Enough with the vampire/zombie tales for now.
Revolution 4: Balance
All write and no play makes Jack an incomprehensible mess of an artist (and possibly a killer psycho ravaging the Stanley Hotel). You need life balance more than you think you do.
Revolution 5: Violence
Whatsoever thou doest, do with all thy might. Sometimes you need to get your hands dirty, bloody even, if you’re looking to make it happen in 2012. Cancel that dog-walking therapy this year. Skimp on birthday shopping if time is better used for writing. Shower coldly in the morning. Those who have moved earth with vehemence are those who grow the gardens to splendor.
Revolution 6: Relevance
You can be relevant and have your flash-in-the-pancake, or you can shoot for a slice of the eternal. Note: this means your vampire/zombie/undead fiction is going to be stale in a decade, more dead than when you wrote it. Read that last line again. A quick buck is less than a penny down the road.
Revolution 7: Obstinance
If you found, founded, or find something that works, it’s OK to keep doing that. The motive d’jour is change. Don’t change for change’s sake. If you’ve got enough to blast you beyond the stratosphere, then stick to what fuels that rocket. Be daring. Be unchanged.
Revolution 8: Abstinence
You don’t always need a word count each day to be a writer worth writing. You don’t always need support groups. You don’t always need to enter flash fiction contests. You don’t always need the tantalizing tickle of someone famous. You don’t always need blog hits or re-tweets. Abstain from such. Keep writing.
A classic. (And you probably saw that one coming.)
What revolutions do you plan for 2012?
Writing All Wrong can be reached via email (WritingAllWrong@me.com), followed on Twitter (@WritingAllWrong), and revolutionized for takeoff.