My inbox contained an email message from Amazon with the subject line: “What is your New Year’s writing resolution for 2017?” I thought I’d answer that question here.
Over the years my writing has gone through an evolution that has been hard for me to characterize until recently. It occurred to me what I was seeing in my writing when I looked at my kids. Our youngest is just four months old. She is smiling, laughing, grabbing at things, making sounds, experimenting with the world around her. She can’t do much more than that at this point, but she is doing her best to expand her horizons.
Our older daughter is in Kindergarten, finding her interests. She likes writing, and is constantly asking us to spell out words for her so that she can make cards and tickets to shows for us. She creates elaborate stories with her toys. It is fascinating to listen to the detail and emotion in these stories when she’d not aware I’m there.
Our son’s new favorite expression is “I have a question.” He’s always asking things. He is curious about the world, voraciously curious.
What my writing has been doing over the years—what has been so hard for me to characterize in the past—is growing up. Just like my kids. My writing started out like my four-month old. There wasn’t much to it. I was just making sounds, and occasionally, cracking a smile. I kept at it, was persistent, and it got better. I found something (science fiction) and pursued it with the single-mindedness that my oldest daughter pursues her own attempts at writing.
I sold stories. I sold articles. More than anything else this gave me confidence in my writing. I no longer needed the single-mindedness I had for science fiction stories (although I will always be grateful to science fiction for what it has brought me). I could branch out. Like my oldest, I could start to ask a lot of questions. Could I write about this subject or that one? Could I write about what I felt like writing about without worrying much about whether it sold or not? Could I write for the sheer joy writing brings me?
That is where I am today, and I suppose if I had any New Year’s writing resolution for 2017, it is to write what I want to write for the sheer joy of it. I no longer struggle with the motivation to write. The 825 consecutive day writing streak I held from February 2013 – October 2015 gave me all the confidence and training I needed to be able to write on command.
If it isn’t obvious, writing here on this blog brings me the greatest among of joy and pleasure of all of the writing I do, and I suspect it will continue to be the center of my writing in 2017. There is no way to measure a goal like that. Visits to the site, page views, click-throughs, these things aren’t measures of enjoyment. I’ve been trying to focus less on the metrics of the blog, and more on the writing that I do for it. Maybe that is another New Year’s writing resolution: don’t worry about the stats, just keep writing the best posts I can possibly write, and enjoy it while it lasts.