Ten New Year’s Resolutions to Enhance Creativity
Bestselling authors offer their goals for creating balance.
Posted Dec 27, 2018
I’m not usually big on making New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve been in Mark Twain’s camp, who once famously wrote: "New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions."
This year, though, I need some help getting out of release mode for my debut novel, In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills, and back into creativity mode. I figure making a resolution for the New Year couldn’t hurt! As Oscar Wilde wrote, "Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account."
I turned to some of bestselling authors I know to be both creative and productive to find out their resolutions. Some of them surprised me, and had more to do with creating balance in their lives. So, that’s my resolution, to find balance between my creative endeavors, health, family and friend, and and maybe even find a hobby or two!
I hope these resolutions also inspire you:
"Harlan Ellison once said, 'You should always write for the wisest, wittiest, most intelligent audience in the universe—write for yourself.' My resolution is to remember I’m an artist, not a word factory.” -- Jamie Ford, Love and Other Consolation Prizes
"I'm going to make my resolution short and sweet: I'm going to write a thank you letter every week to someone who has helped or inspired me. Not a thank you email or tweet, but a real hand-written letter." -- Elise Hooper, Learning to See
"I am not a resolution maker. I can’t commit to a toothpaste if my whimsy desires a dental change. But because 2018 unwittingly became the year of simplifying I plan on continuing the theme in the coming year. Instead of my historic scattershot approach I am going to try a little focus. This is my year of the quiet no and clean teeth." -- Ann Garvin, I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around
"I am working on a new novel and it’s scaring me a bit, so I am resolving to: Be brave. Be bold. Follow my deepest creative instincts. Push through nagging inhibitions. Work five days a week, even if that means only 30 minutes a sitting, if that's all the time I have on a particular day." --Jessica Keener, Strangers in Budapest
"With the release of my first novel last January, this year has been an exhilarating, exhausting blur of events and book excitement, and making sure the bookstore my husband and I own continues to run smoothly. And though I’ve been grateful for every moment, I've kind of let my exercise time dwindle to a whisper of what it used to be. This year, as I work on novel #2, my resolution is to get back into exercising. The good thing is, I do much of my writing in my head so I can be creative while walking or at the gym!" -- Anna Quinn, The Night Child
"With a big, challenging book due in June, I know I'll be feeling a lot of pressure on my writing. When that happens, I tend to get too rigid about my work. So my resolution is to take up a new hobby--maybe sculling or pottery or the uke. Who knows. I might make my own yogurt or maybe I'll, I don't know, raise a pig. I'm looking for something that'll put me in that awkward, excited beginner mindset--and hoping I can import that freshness to my writing as well." – Claire Dederer, Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning
Here’s one final resolution from Neil Gaiman, a wise and prolific writer, which I am printing out and pinning on the wall above my computer: “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something. So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”