Literary resolutions for the new year

When I was a kid and teachers asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, I always said "I want to be a writer!" I couldn't manage any greater accomplishment than telling a story that caught people's imaginations as the books I was reading had caught mine. I spent summers devouring every work of fiction I could get my hands on at the public library, and delighted in books like "A Wrinkle in Time" as well as "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe."

Fast forward 25+ years, and well, I have yet to write a fiction piece, despite it making my new year's resolutions several years in a row. However, thanks to the Loft Literary Center's director Jocelyn Hale, this just might be the year to make it happen.

On the Loft blog "Writers' Block," Hale offers "12 Literary Resolutions for 2011," and as I scrolled down the list I was delighted to hear myself saying "I could do that!"

What's makes Hale's tips so managable is that they are broken down by month. So you don't have to do anything for more than 31 days. Now that's a commitment I'm much more likely to make.

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Then, she makes many of the resolutions downright FUN. For instance: "read a classic that's always been on your list" and "attend two local author readings." One month she tells you to read some really great comic writing, and another month, to check out a great mystery.

Inbetween, she gives good basic writing advice with the voice of a reassuring friend. Here's her suggested resolution for February:

Write for at least 15 minutes every day. Take away the pressure and swear you'll never show anyone this new work. You've heard it before, I'll tell you again. Just get it flowing. Conquer the blank page. This is a short month. You can do it. If fifteen minutes turns into an hour, send yourself a valentine.

By September Hale has you submitting a work to a literary journal or a local newspaper, and by November she has you participating in National Novel Writing Month! Who knew you had it in you?

Alright - now off I go to find that copy of Anna Karenina...