Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Wednesday Instructor: Hildie Block
Happy New Year!
And how are those resolutions coming along? Lost any weight yet? Battling the throngs at the gym for a sweaty turn at a machine?
But you are writing, right?
So what is your writing goal for 2009 – and please don’t say “Write More.” You wanna know why? ‘Cause you will never, ever write enough. Nope. Never. So you are doomed (DOOOoooom-ED) to failure.
So let’s set up for a successful 2009, shall we? Let’s get a couple things straight first.
First of all, last week had exactly 7 days and each one had 24 hours in it. Same with the week before, and the one before that. You used every single minute, eating, sleeping, working, watching TV, whatever. If you are going to “write more” this week, then something from last week has gotta go. Law and Order reruns? Lunch out of your office? Sleep? I don’t know what it is, but something has to get cut to make room for you to write.
Now, instead of “Write More,” make a concrete goal that you can achieve. Don’t say “Get Published” because that’s not in your power. Say, “Mail out 10 things a month.” Go to www.duotrope .com once a week – pick a day of the week to work on subs, but make it concrete and in your control.
Sound like a plan? Need more support in your resolutions? Sign up for a workshop!
And I notice a lot of folks posting a “Best of 2008” reading list. That’s a great exercise. You should try it! Make a list of your 5 -10 favorite books of ALL TIME. Take your time. I’ll wait.
Humming. Drumming fingers impatiently. Whistling tunelessly. Final Jeopardy music playing in background.
Okay then. Got your list? Eggggcelent. Oh, yes, I know that was hard. Now, look at it carefully. Any similarities? Oh, lookie! You like books in second person! Good to know. Are these books character or plot driven? Are there similar devices, similar main characters, similar type plots? Lots of twists? Written as a journal? Are some of the same genre? Does setting play a major role? This is INVALUABLE information to you as a writer – this is what is important to you as you write. Your first goal in writing ought to be to write a book you would want to read. Now you know what is important to you, study it. Make a science of it. Know it. And it will have a lasting effect on your writing. Promise!
And good luck with your writing in 2009! Keep at it. It will be worth it!
(Oh, and the best book I read in 2008? And Then We Came to the End, of course! ‘Cause it is written in First Person Plural! )
*See, that’s the name of the blog. That’s irony. And the end of the entry. See how I did that? Clever, eh? Okay, it’s late and clearly the coffee has worn off. Get writing!
Hildie S. Block, MA writing, Johns Hopkins is a writing instructor at American and George Washington Universities. She's the co-editor of NOT WHAT I EXPECTED: The Unpredictable Road from Womanhood to Motherhood published in 2007. She's published about 50 short stories in literary magazines like Gargoyle, Cortland Review, The First Line, San Francisco Review, LIterary Mama, Motherverse, The Imperfect Parent and elsewhere. Her essays have appeared places like PopMatters, In the Fray, Organic Family and elsewhere. Her blog for writers is http://hildieblog.livejournal.com
The next course she will teach for The Writer's Center is The Process of Fiction, which will be held in Arlington at the Cultural Affairs Division Building.