Monday, January 1, 2018

A Writing and Reading New Year's Promise by Judy Penz Sheluk

I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions, being of the mindset that if I want to do something life-altering, I shouldn’t wait for January 1st to do it. But this year, I'm going to make not a resolution, exactly, but a pledge to myself.

1) WRITE EVERY DAY: Because how else will the muse know when to show up?

I'm pretty good about doing this, even if all I have is an hour to spare, but occasionally I become a "fritterer." Even worse, when I fall into that fritter pit, it usually lasts several days, and I begin to get depressed, which leads to more frittering.

I've analyzed the potential reason why, and I've come to the conclusion that most of the time it's because I've fallen out of love with my current work-in-progress OR I'm at a loss as to where to take the story next (one of the downfalls of being a pantser). But sometimes I'm just feeling overwhelmed by it all: too many projects, too much social media, too many commitments (book club visits, editing work etc.)

My solution: Take a break from the novel and work on something else. And if I'm really feeling burned out, I'm not going to pretend otherwise. I'm going to give myself permission to take a day off and enjoy it to the fullest -- without Facebook, Twitter and other fritter pitfalls -- and with the promise to try again the next day, hopefully refreshed and ready to go.

2) READ EVERY DAY: Because reading is the best teacher

In 2017, I read 26 books, roughly one book every two weeks, and covered suspense, mystery, literary, writing advice, biography and short story collections. But with the exception of reading a newspaper or short story while eating lunch, there were days that I went into a reading lull. I've analyzed that as well, and have come to the conclusion that some books just don't call to me, and so I find myself watching more TV or frittering. Whereas, books I loved, I finished in a couple of days, or at least within a week if it was a particularly thick one (All The Light You Cannot See comes to mind.)

My solution: In 2018, I want to bump my books read to 30. That may mean giving up on some books midway through, to make time for another one that resonates. Life is too short to read books you don't enjoy.

Did you make any pledges for 2018? 

PS: Barking Rain Press is having an e-book SALE! Both my books are now on for $3.99 (regular price is $5.99) in all e-book formats. So if one of your NY resolutions is to read more...


  1. Good points. life is short and there has to be a mixture of pleasure, whether reading, writing, golfing, or whatever, thrown in with the deadlines we impose upon ourselves. I think the blending of activities is what gives us the spark for each of the things we do. Have a Happy 2018.

  2. Happy new year to you, Debra. And I've been writing today :-) and plan to read later on!

  3. Your post came at the right time as a reminder to me. I have to remember, I'm a writer. I'm a writer. I write. I read. I write and read. I edit. I laugh. I cry. I try, try, try.

    1. Exactly. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves! Glad this post helped you.