Posted by: Corri van de Stege | August 26, 2008

Writing resolutions

Via Eudaemonia I stumbled across Acme Authors Site, with an excellent post on writing and writing resolutions by Timothy Hallinan.   I just want to copy it here,  because it is just so, well, just the kind of resolution that I want to subscribe to and that should be stuck to the wall over my desk:

1. Write daily, and by that I mean seven days a week. I will take a day off only when it’s absolutely unavoidable and never, under any circumstances, take two days off in a row.

2. Read widely, not just the kinds of books I write, but classics, science, history, biography, poetry, drama — remembering, as Nero Wolfe says, “The more you put into a brain, the more it can hold.”

3. Live consciously, remembering that everything in the world, even the things that are most unpleasant (and maybe especially those things) are all material.

4. Take chances every time I write. Try to write things I haven’t written before and don’t know how to write. Take myself off the map of the familiar.

5. Avoid glibness and try instead to bring the words from the heart. Remember that clever isn’t the same thing as smart.

6. Follow my characters rather than trying to push them around like chess pieces. Remember that plot is what characters do, not a box to jam them into.
7. Remember that the book I eventually write will not be the book I thought I was going to write. Have the courage to take off in new directions as they present themselves, and to discover, as you do when you travel, that it’s possible to get on the wrong bus and then realize it’s the right bus after all.

8. Be grateful that I’m allowed to take part in this internal miracle, in which whole worlds appear inside my head, usually one vivid glimpse or one turn of phrase at a time, and I have the freedom to chase them down and try to get them on the page.

9. Be open to criticism from my circle of first readers, without getting defensive; remember, if nobody likes it, it’s just barely possible that there’s something I didn’t get on the page.

10. Write hot, edit cold: when I am writing, have the thermostat on high; be open, fecund, and grateful for everything that comes through. Rewrite only when something obviously better presents itself. When I am editing, be cold, assessing, and gimlet-eyed, willing to sacrifice even the most precious of my babies in the cause of the book’s greater good.

In addition, I’d like to add that as far as I’m concerned, any kind of writing will do , I must not beat myself over the head for not writing THAT novel, as long as I write and as long as I work on my craft in whatever format, that’ll do.  I do have a day job as well which involves quite a bit of writing actually.   Or is that cheating????

I’d also like to signpost you to this site here, where Hallinan gives good writing tips, go and visit all you aspiring and real writers, there might just be something there that helps you finish that story/book/article. 

This should be my motto: ‘A writer is someone who finishes’ – Thomas Farber (again, I pinched this from Hallinan’s header) .



  1. Thanks for the kind words. I hope both you and I keep the resolutions.

    And isn’t Eudaemonia a great site?


  2. Great to read your posts too – and yes, must try and keep these resolutions! As I said, I hope ‘work’ writing counts as I am now mustering up enough energy to write a chapter on ‘stakeholder interviews’ that I carried out. 😦
    I love all my blog pals – they keep me going 🙂

  3. […] Writing resolutions […]

  4. […] Yesterday I posted some resolutions that I copied from Tim Hannilan’s blog and it appears to chime in beautifully with Becca’s post today under Write on Wednesday:  that resolution to write every day, whatever it is, in order to practise and make sure that you keep your fingers and brains fine tuned to the written word.  Yes, I try and practice, just like I used to practice for volleybal and tennis matches in the past.  Do a bit of it every day or minimally at regular times in the week and then you notice how you improve, become more agile, sharper.  The same goes for writing, I am convinced of it.  And to write, you also need to read, plenty and regularly. […]

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