Resolving to Write?

Here it comes: New Year’s resolution time.  I’ve always fancied myself as somehow above the Resolvers.  I think the faulty thinking goes something like I’m always striving; how could I work any harder? Or maybe it’s something like–Why should New Year’s be any different than any other day? Or simply: Resolutions don’t work.  I’ve even–I have to admit–rolled my eyes when the Resolvers flooded into the gym. I might have even  once said something disparaging like, “Can’t wait for mid-February when the Resolvers are gone.”

Okay, so we’ve established that I’m deluded AND evil.

But the truth is I don’t make resolutions because–I’m sure you see this coming–I don’t want to fail.  While I work pretty hard at my life as a writer–promoting my work, blogging, freelancing, teaching writing–the one area where I know I could make more effort, want to make more effort, must make more effort is the writing itself: Spending more time on what I consider “my own” writing.  There are two ways to measure writing output–time and amount (pages or words)–and I’ve played with both of those means of measurement trying to up the amount of myself that I devote to my own work.  I will write a page a day, 1000 words a day, 1500 words a day.  I will write an hour a day, two hours, 1.5 hours.  Even 15 minutes.  And all of these “resolutions” (although not made on New Year’s so my superiority still reigns, right?) have had short-term results, but frankly, I’m not satisfied with the measuring approach as an enduring means to get to the page more often and stay there longer.

I guess I feel like as long as I’m measuring my work and trying to meet a certain number, I’m trying to impose “desire” from the outside. The reason I began writing in the first place was because I WANTED to. I want to keep writing from the wanting place, not from the imposed place.  I envy writers who have a daily number count and write until they get there, but because I’ve never been able to get that to work for me consistently I feel like I must explore new ways of inducing greater productivity.  And, I think it’s possible.   Resolutions about exercise (i will go to the gym x number of times a week) have never worked for me either, but coming to love certain types of exercise (yoga, hiking) has made me bustle over to yoga class or the trail.

So this coming year I resolve to keep my love for writing alive–to really enjoy my writing time and to follow my writing wherever it wants to take me.   And part of what inspires love, for me, is the absence of rules and regulations.

What about you?  What have you got in mind for your writing for the new year?

About Theo Pauline Nestor

Author of Writing Is My Drink (Simon & Schuster) and How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed. Learn more about my courses, editing, and coaching at
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6 Responses to Resolving to Write?

  1. Star Roberts says:

    Hi Theo. As I sit here checking e-mails the list of things I have resolved to do(but haven’t done) is long. I connect with your ‘resolutions don’t work for me’ message. Like you, I write when I am writing from the want to place instead of the have to place. It’s the rebel in me (or as she likes to be called, F**K it Girl) that resists the whole idea of a program, even one that is of my own doing. So a few years back, instead of resolutions, I started looking for a word to carry into the New Year with me. I like words. Even when they don’t like me back. My word for 2010 was Purge. It resonated on a few levels – pounds, clutter, toxic friendships. I’ve had some success(I ditched a long-time, high-maintenance friend) but I think my 2010 word will be hanging with me for awhile into the New Year, or at least until I get my office cleaned out. So, here comes 2011 and here I sit with still more purging and writing to do. What is my word for this new year? As I type this it hits me, my word is Forgiveness. It feels right. I think it will look good on that blank page.

  2. Sharry says:

    I agree, one word sounds doable. I too, have never been a resolutions person – I’m not going to make myself do something I really don’t want to do. However, like you, Theo, I can do the things that seem onerous (like exercising) by finding a related activity that I love. I’ve been wanting to write more for myself, so I started a blog a few months ago. I want to be healthier and fitter, so I indulge my passion for cycling and am developing one for triathlon (I have also used this in the writing arena, too, by becoming the cycling editor for BellaOnline). So, no resolutions for me this year, just finding ways to do the things I really want to do anyway.

  3. Annie Parker says:

    Keep that one resolution, Theo—Keep your “love for writing alive.” I can’t wait to see what you do, whenever and however you do it.

  4. Rick Roberts says:

    I love a “blank page” and that’s what keeps me going. My resolution this year is to set up my submissions tracker, and submit something once a month.

  5. Rick Roberts says:

    The blank page awaits. I love them, and they love me. I have started so many, but finished so few.

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