30 December 2005

New Year's Resolutions

This year I resolve to write a novel. And to read War and Peace, Crime and Punishment and The Three Musketeers.
Sounds pretty impressive, doesn't it? It's also far flung, even for this Word Nerd.
Word Nerd has been contemplating what kind of writing/reading goals to set for 2006. First things first -- writing a whole novel isn't one of them. Why? Where to begin. That's exactly why. Same with the major classic novels. Maybe they look better as paperweights on the coffee table.

At least for this Word Nerd, writing goals need to be smaller, manageable, doable chunks. Like write 10,000 words by Valentine's day, or have the revisions to the next section of the work in progess done before your birthday.

So if 2006 is the year to get serious about writing/reading, how to write that resolution?
If you haven't started writing, start. Do exercises with writing prompts to practice getting that pen going on paper (or fingers on the keyboard).
If you have started writing, what's your weakness/struggle/area that would be a challenge? Finishing something? Sending out finished manuscripts for publication? Writing something longer than 5,000 words? Writing something really short?

If 2006 is the year to start reading more, define what you mean... more than what? More fiction? More non-fiction? More magazines? More about current events? Then seek out recommendations. Nothing will kill this goal quicker than picking up bad books.

And for this Word Nerd?
  • Read more non-fiction. That would be at least 12 non-fiction books for 2006.
  • Read more fiction books that were written at least 50 years ago (the threshold for classics is a little low, but Graham Greene has to count or Word Nerd will never make it). That would be at least 4.
  • Write the synopsis for the Work in Progress.
  • Revise/edit/add where needed to the next 20,000-some words of the Work in Progress.

There. Word Nerd will welcome suggestions for what to read in the non-fiction and classics category. (A caveat on the classics category... don't suggest Jane Austen, or anything by the Bronte sisters. Or Thomas Hardy. This is fun, not college lit class).


Anonymous said...

I will forever suggest my favorite book: Prince of Tides (Beach Music is good, too) by Pat Conroy.

Other good ones: Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald. I'm also not ashamed to say I love Oprah books, and discovered Wally Lamb b/c of her. I would suggest She's Come Undone or I Know This Much is True by Lamb.

Angels & Demons and Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - though I think A&D is better.

Books I have gotten that are sitting on my bedside table, waiting for me to read: A Million Little Pieces, James Frey; The Case for Faith, Lee Strobel; The Memory of Running, Ron McLarty; Perfect Match, Jodi Picoult.

I'm also going to reread The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath.

This is my reading resolution for 06 - to get this stuff read !!

Anonymous said...

ALSO, Word Nerd, I clearly don't read directions. None of my books are more than 50 years old. And they are all non-fiction. Except one. Anyway, my point is, I don't follow the crowd.

So my post is meant to be "Jamie talks about books she likes and what she is going to read in the coming year."