Outtakes 227


by Cait Collins

About this time every year people begin making resolutions. We plan to do this, quit that, or finish something, but before many weeks pass, the resolutions are forgotten. Therefore, I resolve not to resolve. In other words, I will not make resolutions for 2016. However, I do plan to write better and write smarter.

Writing better means…

Removing unnecessary modifiers from my work and replacing them with more vivid nouns and action verbs.

I will create better setting using photographs to guide my words.

I will not skimp on the research. This may mean using “place holders” while I do the research and continue the creative process.

I will not stress over little things like names, color of eyes, or height. I will let the small stuff reveal itself and then edit. I will get the story down and fill in the blanks later. This will be a working draft that I will use to craft the manuscript, but it will not be presented to my critique group.

I will time-line and character-sketch, but I will not outline.

I will not force the process. If I can’t seem to move forward in the story, I’ll take a break and do something else creative. I have a new book of 500 Writing Prompts. Maybe I’ll describe my Sweet 16 birthday or perhaps I’ll open one of my adult coloring books and create beauty.

Writing smarter means…

The first draft will be better and more reader-ready. I will no longer hide behind excuses like “I had this idea and just had to get it on paper.” I’ve used that line with my critique group on too many occasions. No more excuses.

I will not wait until the last minute to prepare for a critique meeting. No more writing my chapter on my lunch break and then rushing home to print it.

I will not pre-plan or over-write the story to the point it has lost its life and emotion.

While I prefer books for my research, I will make better use of on-line sources for fast answers

I will stop trying to juggle three or four projects at a time.

This is not a resolution for 2016; it is a plan to make myself more productive and less frustrated. I anticipate I will finish the edits on my memoir and make good progress on my new work, Three by Three, if I stick to the plan.

I wish all writers a productive and prosperous New Year.

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