Finish That Novel!

I’m a member of a big critique group, eighteen in all. For the past three years, we’ve submitted our writing resolutions to one of our group members, who compiles them into a handy chart (thanks, Denise!)

At our January meeting, we take turns sharing our resolutions from the previous year. We celebrate or gently nudge, as appropriate. After announcing our new resolutions, we record whatever negative thoughts we’re harboring about our writing on flash paper, set it on fire, and watch it go up in flames. Woo-hoo!

It’s turned into a powerful ritual for us. The simple act of writing our goals for the year is empowering. It forces us to think about what we intend to accomplish, and evaluate what we accomplished last year. Symbolically bidding goodbye to our writing demons has been freeing, at least temporarily. And amusing…as the paper catches fire and we scream.

I did a very unscientific and informal analysis of our resolutions. Here’s what my not-so-scientific analysis showed: the most frequently mentioned goal was to complete a manuscript. Eleven of us mentioned it. So I guess this affirms the advice one hears over and over again from agents, editors, writers, writing teachers, etc. Take that most important step.

Finish a book.

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