Recently, I was fortunate enough to be able to help with a writing class taught by Andrea Hurst called Start the New Year Write (punny!). Its location, set in Coupeville, WA, was pretty much made as a writing retreat, with a perfect mixture of ocean views, quaint houses, creative atmosphere and great local flavor. No wonder the class had a great turnout.

While I won’t spoil the finer points the class touched on, Mrs. Hurst did focus on a couple of very important things that every writer can benefit from:

  1. Passion for your work
  2. Starting the year with a writing goal in mind.

Passion is not something people usually consider when they think about writing their next great literary work. Sure, you want to LIKE what you’re writing (duh), but liking something and having passion for it are two different things. I love writing pretty much anything, but I have a passion for writing fantasy. Passion will keep you writing when the inevitable slog of plot snarls and editing hits. Passion will come through in your story and elevate it from something good to something great.

Take stock of your stories and ideas, even the one you’re writing right now. Which stories are you writing solely because you think people will like it? Which ones are you writing because you’re in love with the idea? The distinction can and will make a big difference.

Finally, starting this year with a goal in mind can, for some people, be the deciding factor between finishing a novel and merely having it stare at you from the dark corner of your desk, whispering, “Finish me! Finish me!”

Think of how creepy that would be. Don’t fall victim to creepy-manuscript-talking-to-you-syndrome. Finding time for writing is not about finding time in your busy day. I don’t know a single person who just has free time lying around. Time for writing is about making it; setting aside parts of your day to get your butt in the chair and hammer out some words. Your TV show can wait; trust me.

To the new(ish) year!

 

Sean

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