Resolutions for the Writer

by Dallas Beams, Electric Moon team member

Oye Vey. Resolutions, again. If I see one more inspirational quote entitled “New year, new me” on social media, I may scoop out my eyeballs with a melon baller. And yet, here I am spouting five New Year’s resolutions for the writer. However, mine come with a theme. A mantra, really. A mantra I’ve recently adopted into my own life.

I’ve found myself comparing myself to others more often than I’d like to admit through the years. I see healthy women with healthy bodies, and think negative things about myself.

You are so fat.

I see women who are attentive and patient with their children.

You can never be as good a mother as she.

I see happy couples feeding one another at restaurants.

Your marriage will never be that happy.

Why do we do this to ourselves? I know I’m not the only one who struggles with it; I’ve heard plenty of people complain about these very things. But, instead of hating ourselves for what others do well, why can’t these people be aspirations? Something we try to be, rather than complain about? So my mantra and theme for my New Year is to stop complaining and BE what I want to be. I want to be a better mother, I want to be a better wife, I want to be a better writer. So, I am going to BE those things.

1.       Write every day. Yes, writers hear this all the time, but it really does make all the difference. Stop watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix, log off Facebook, ignore that text from the special someone you used to date who really isn’t all that special anyway. Get rid of the distractions and do. Even if you don’t write in that ever procrastinated novel of yours, just write! Keep a journal, write a blog, pen a letter.

2.      Make a writing space for yourself. I’ve just recently made myself a writing area, and it has had such an impact. It’s not an entire room decorated to support my imagination and creativity, just a meek corner in the basement near my kids play area. But, it is my space, nonetheless. Having an area with things that inspire me and seduce me to write is beneficial to more than just my writing. It lifts my spirits and makes me feel like what I am doing is important. And to a work-from-home-mom, that is everything.

3.       Read more. Read well. Study the masters of writing who came before you, and that means branching out to more than just your favorite authors. Pick a new genre, honing your craft is more than just reading your favorites. Expand your repertoire, expand your writing technique.

4.       Listen. The Greek philosopher Epictetus said, “We have two ears and one mouth, so that we may listen twice as much as we speak”. As painful as it is to hear constructive criticism about our own writing, shut up and listen. The criticism you hear is what your readers think of you, and that is important.

5.       Call yourself a writer. This may be the most important resolution for 2016…nay… all of your days. At times, I struggle when people ask me what I do for a living. Replying “writer” seems to not quite cover it, or it seems to say too much. Oh, she’s a writer. She must be struggling because I haven’t heard her name, I wonder what brand of cardboard box she is living in. There is more to life than the amount of money you have in your bank account. Writing is my passion. Think about that word, passion, I didn’t say “writing is my job.” I said passion. I yearn to write. And I get to write every day. I am a writer.

That’s it. It’s not asking too much. Rather than just writing the traditional list of New Year’s resolutions and forgetting it in the back of your sock drawer, tape this to your bathroom mirror. Look at it every day. Inspire yourself. BE who you aspire to be.