Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Recently, I've been reading a lot of posts about New Years resolutions. This makes a lot of sense considering the time of year, and normally I enjoy such posts. But, this year, they've been driving me a bit crazy.

It's not that I don't want other writers to make resolutions about how productive and inspired they're going to be in 2009. It's just that such resolutions inspire me to make some resolutions of my own.

But any resolutions I dream of making quickly get stopped in their tracks when I realize a simple fact... most writing resolutions simply don't make sense when one is less than three weeks away from giving birth.

How can I resolve to finish a novel or make more time for writing, when I know from past experience that my life is about to be turned upside down? I'm mentally prepared this time for the sleep deprived weeks that will immediately follow Baby's birth... but I doubt that being mentally prepared will make those weeks any easier. And I honestly don't expect the next few weeks or months to be a time of great writing productivity.

So when Anastasia Suen challenged the writers on the CW list to come up with our "one word" for 2009, my initial writing word was going to be "Submit". After all, no editor is ever going to accept a manuscript that's just sitting on my hard drive (which too many of them are). But that word for 2009 seems too remote for now-- a goal that I'll get to, but not for a while.

So I've decided that a more appropriate word for my situation at the start of 2009 is "Appreciate". Appreciate the wonderful miracle taking place inside of me that will put some of my writing goals on hold for a few months. Appreciate the sometimes cheerful, often stubborn, potty training toddler who still loves listening to Mommy's poems. Appreciate the time to think about my writing and the knowledge that, just like after the birth of my first child, the time for more intensive writing will once again come.

So at this start of 2009, I make some simple but important writing resolutions:
*to remember that time for my personal creativity is important (once it again seems humanly possible to carve some out).
*to set up a special writing space so once I get some writing time, I'm able to use it effectively.
and later in the year:
*to get those manuscripts off my hard drive and onto some editors' desks.
*to revise that stubbornly promising picture book manuscript.
*to complete the research and writing of that nonfiction project I've been inspired to write for so long.

Maybe I'll get more done in 2009. (I certainly hope so!) But by adjusting my expectations in this natural time of transition, I hope that I'll be able to keep myself on track and motivated.

So I'm curious, how have you dealt with times of transition in your own life as a writer?


  1. In answer to your last question about dealing with writing when your life is upside down, I've done exactly what you did: scaled back my goals to assure some measure of success.

    And I'm sure you WILL have success when you have writing time again!

  2. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Gale!

  3. The last few years have brought several transition/change/life-turned-upside-down events into my life. I'm not convinced I've handled any of them well, so I'm glad you have a plan, Brianna. You did amazingly well when your son was born so I am confident you'll be more productive than you think.

  4. I have experienced writus interruptus many times over the years, most recently, when my husband was laid off. To make ends meet, I put my fiction writing/revising/submitting on hold to resume freelancing full-time. It's frustrating but unavoidable, a part of life--mine anyway.

    I remain optimistic my beloved will land a new gig soon, financial equilibrium will be restored in our home, and I can get back to my fiction writing--hopefully before my critique group kicks me to the curb for inactivity. (Hi guys!)

    Until then, my fiction goals for 2009 remain the same: write/revise/submit. Start date tbd... :-)

  5. I agree to not sweat the writing. Maybe read while you are feeding the baby to keep you up on new books. But don't feel guilty about putting writing aside for a few months (or more). Enjoy this special time! You will know when to take the baby steps to start your writing process again.

  6. Brianna, you totally amazed me with your productivity after your son was born. I think you must thrive on stolen writing moments!

    Right now, I'm trying to make the most of my time and write as much as I possibly can. Tides are changing. I may have to go back to -- gulp -- work. I want to at least finish a draft of my WIP before that day comes.

  7. Sometimes you just have to accept that things aren't that way you want them to be. I still struggle with that, but it's what I try to tell myself when things are thrown for a loop.

    Appreciate is a great word for 2009! Sending wishes for you for an easy delivery and a happy, healthy baby!