By way of an intro I must tell you that I found these on my computer while looking for something else. They were written for a column in 2007! And the shameful thing is, they are just as pressing – with minor updates (see notes in italics) – now, as they were then. Proving that Old Writers Never Learn – they just get bigger arses…. (or something!).
Whatever you resolve, I hope it comes to pass. Happy New Year!
New Year’s Resolutions for Writers
1. Writers’ Bottom
I will finally face the fact that Writing does not use up 500 calories an hour and that food eaten at the desk does count – particularly when it is two packets of Kettle chips dipped in houmous, a bar of chocolate and half a bottle of white wine. The excursion from computer to sofa to watch EastEnders does not constitute exercise. Writers Bottom is not a hereditary condition but caused by sitting on it for eight hours a day while cramming junk food. (Now of course I am the proud author of a tome designed to consign one’s writer’s derriere to a thing of the past. If you wanted to help my new year go with a bang you could always buy it :-))
I will remember that actually alcohol does not enhance creativity and that there is no point in writing down the brilliant idea I had for chapter seventeen when I was three sheets to the wind. Even if I can decipher it, it will still be drivel in the morning.
I will not scream: YOU JUST HAVE when family members walk into my writing room, saying “I won’t interrupt you but….”
Nor throw things at their heads when they answer: “But you were only looking out of the window… “
I will remind myself that the sensible, grown-up way to handle a deadline is write 2000 words a day, Monday to Friday, with Sunday off to allow for bracing walks and cooking the family roast. I will no longer spend five months and three weeks emailing and going out to lunch and then book into a hotel for seven days and stay up all night swearing.
I will go into bookshops to buy books. I will stop rearranging the bookshelves by moving myself from W (down in the corner at ankle level where the cobwebs lurk) to A where everyone can see me (especially if I put all copies face out over the top of Jeffrey Archer).
Alternatively I will change my name to Arkwright.
I will stop grinding my teeth over the Bestseller lists and be totally thrilled when someone who has never written a word in their entire life gets a six-figure sum and half a million quid’s worth of film rights for their memoir on eating slugs in the jungle or having a breast enhancement operation, live on Big Brother. After all, there’s room for all of us…
7. Humour. I will smile widely when the 4, 752nd person says: Ha, ha, ha – have you sold as many as 50 Shades of Grey yet? (of course when I first wrote this, it was J K Rowling. Doesn’t make it any better!)
Even when that person says it every time I meet him.
I will try and keep to these longer than I did last year (January 17th)
I will tell the truth. (It was Jan 4th)