Resolve to Write

No one said it would be easy. Whenever I think I’ve mastered this simple truth about writing, it seems I have to re-learn it. I like to think it’s because as we advance as writers, we embrace greater challenges, but in truth I know it’s also because sometimes we simply don’t know how we managed to come up with that last great novel or story or sentence, so we end up reinventing as we go.

My current challenge is the second chapter of the novel I’ve been working on since early September. Lest you think I’m progressing Flaubert-like, one precise word at a time, I should explain that I’d drafted about half the book before embracing a few key changes that sent me scuttling back to the start. It feels like a stronger novel already but, oh, this second chapter. I’m grateful to David Vann, who reminded us at last fall’s retreat that second chapters are both crucial and tough. With patience – and joy, I remind myself, the Gaudete duo of Advent – I’ll take another swing at it tomorrow, because that’s what writers do. We resolve to write.

After another ten days, the calendar flips. We’ll wipe the slate of what didn’t go as we’d planned in the old year and set our sights forward. As you ponder your writing resolutions for 2011, I offer this familiar cautionary note: be careful what you wish for. A few years back, one of my new year’s resolutions was to find a way to get better connected with other writers. Through this blog and the entire 49 Writers effort, my small resolution materialized in an almost embarrassing richness of community.

With the solitary demands of our craft, it’s no wonder writers crave community. That’s why at 49 Writers we’ll be inviting members and volunteers to a “Resolve to Write” potluck gathering on January 14 to share our writing resolutions for 2011 and to visit with a couple of local writers about their successes and challenges. Kent Sturgis from Epicenter Press will also be on hand to chat with guests about editing and trade publishing.

To keep the event informal and intimate, we’re limiting the Anchorage gathering to 49 Writers members and volunteers. Not a member or volunteer yet? If your resolution includes getting more involved in the writing community, we’ve made it easy to sign on as either a member or volunteer (or both!) at – click the “Get Involved” tab.

Beyond Anchorage, we’d love to see this event replicated in communities statewide, with no worries about crowds to limit the gathering to 49 Writers members or volunteers. Whether you’ve got two writers or twenty willing to swap resolutions, let us know if you’d like to host a “Resolve to Write” gathering in your hometown. And if you’d like to schedule your gathering for the same night as the Anchorage event, we could even arrange a short Skype to say hi, including a few moments with Kent Sturgis or one of our guest authors.

So be it resolved: save the date – January 14, 2011 – and watch for invitations to follow.

2 thoughts on “Resolve to Write”

  1. I'm totally hearing you, Deb. Writing is miserable and hard and I swear, it's the last thing I want to do some days.
    But it's also glorious and awe-inspiring and soul-filling, and I suppose that's why we keep plugging along.
    Cheers and happy holidays.

  2. "We’ll wipe the slate of what didn’t go as we’d planned in the old year and set our sights forward."

    This means, Deb, that some things did go as you had planned this past year.


    I hope that I can remember to head to town Jan 15 – if I'm not already way out of town.

    I really need to get more connected.

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