Tuesday, January 11, 2011

a writer's resolutions

You think: This is going to be a great year. I'm going to write 2,000 -- no, 5,000 words per day, at 6AM, every day! Right after my 3-mile run and my power breakfast of Wheaties and fresh fruit!

You do: Sleep until 9AM after activating your snooze alarm five times, eat two pop tarts, and spend two hours on Facebook and Twitter. When you open Word, you stare at it blankly, close it, and check what's on Food Network.

You think: This is the year I'm going to blog every single day, and it's going to be full of pith and wisdom and keep my readers clamouring for more!

You do: Stare at it in fear, day after day, wondering if the last wise thought you had came to you in a caffeine-induced hallucination during your 13-hr drive from Raleigh to Long Island. Come to think of it, did you ever have anything worthwhile to say?

You think: I'm going to write a novel and finish it in six months. No more of this two-year revision process! I'm a writer, dammit! This stuff oughtta just flow out of me like water! Heck, maybe I'll even write two novels this year!

You do: Re-read and revise, re-read and re-vise, re-read and revise, because it's that eighteenth draft that makes the difference, that scrutiny of choosing one word over another, that making sure you've woven your plot together without a dropped stitch somewhere that could potentially unravel the whole thing. It takes a little bit of time.

You think: I'm gonna sell a zillion copies, have my own merchandising empire with coffeecups and pillowcases and dolls that say catchphrases from my novel, and that's all before the movies get made!

You do: Publish your novel, obsessively check your Amazon rankings, and celebrate when the number of copies sold has exceeded your low expectations.

You think: This year I'm going to be the envy of my friends with my glamorous writing life!

You do: Thank God for your teaching job with health insurance while you're banging your head on the table after discovering halfway through your revisions that you wouldn't even buy this book if it were published. Heck, not even if it was free.

This year, I resolve to listen to what my characters have to say, write and read a little bit every day when I can (and some days writing is thinking), and accept that some days it's gonna suck and some days it's gonna be blissful. I'm going to try to be mindful in all areas of my life while allowing myself to play every chance I get. And when I'm not in the mood for any of it, I resolve to hug the teddy bear I got for Christmas (because I've decided you're never too old to have a teddy bear) and allow the words to come to me another day. Because they will. They always do.

As for the blog -- well, I can't make any promises.

Happy 2011, everyone. :)


Elspeth Antonelli said...

Or, you can resolve to eat more pop tarts and know that that 19th draft is going to be the one that only makes you throw up a little bit.

On the other hand, setting the bar low means it's easier to hit your head on it.

Have a great year, Elisa. I know you'll do well. As for me, well...we'll see.

Pass the pop tarts.

Elisa said...

*pass* the pop tarts? You mean I have to SHARE????


Elspeth Antonelli said...

No. We *EXCHANGE*. Variety is the spice of life. Or pop tarts. Whatever.

Elisa said...

Ahhhhh... Just like pie. :)

Elisa said...

And pop tarts.

Heather Grace Stewart said...

Pop tarts? Did someone say pop tarts?

Funny post Elisa. Just keep writing. That's all you gotta do. Just that one thing. Feel better?


Elisa said...

I say Heather can have some of our pop tarts. :)

Debbi said...

Boy, can I relate. Not every day can be a day you've written 2,000 words or even 200. Sometimes you just have to think about it.

I'm convinced that if you do the thinking first, when the words come, they're so much better for it.

PS: I'll be happy to share my Pop Tarts. ;)

Samual said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elisa said...

Hey, Debbi's sharing her pop tarts!

Seriously, thanks so much. I completely agree.

Guinevere said...

Great resolutions! this made me smile ruefully, since my resolution-setting tends to sound a little like that. I mean, why shouldn't I pound out a few thousand words a day and train for a marathon and lift weights twice a week and... yeah. Yours seem achievable, and keeping the fun in things!