2023 Reading & Writing Resolutions

Resolutions are not everyone’s cup of tea. I’ve never cared for them, convinced that if I wanted to improve an aspect of my life, I should just keep working on it. Resolutions for a new calendar year seemed like well-meaning, doomed gestures to me. But that was short-sighted of younger me.

The end of the year is a time of retrospection. To wit, I posted my favourite reads of 2022 on this very blog (though I shamefully forgot Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow). When we look back at the year that was and think about our lives, what we’ve accomplished and what we haven’t, there are bound to be cracks we’d like to patch over. It’s only fitting that when welcome the New Year and its dazzling combination of digits, we want to break out the spackle.

Since a new year feels like a fresh start, it can be the perfect opportunity to make a change. Sweeping alterations are a no-go, a sure-fire way to set ourselves up for failure. Small tweaks intended to better our lives are a safer bet, especially if there are ideas we’ve been entertaining for a while. It’s time to codify them.

And it’s time for me to formulate my resolutions.

Read and write more poetry

I wrote more than a few poems when I was young. In college, my creative-writing teacher was surprised when I decided to write a novella for my term project instead of a poetry collection. I haven’t written much in this form since, but after reading a couple of collections last year, I want to get back to it.

Poetry involves an economy of words that forces creativity in vocabulary and structure, which should help me hone my wordcraft. I dabbled last year with writing a few poems, but I’d like to focus on that more, and reading other people’s work will be essential in improving.

Same, but for short stories

Short stories are a great medium for exploring ideas and narrative formats, and can be completed much faster than manuscripts. While I’ve written several, I haven’t been doing it as consistently as I’d like. That will have to change, even if it means more “Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately…” in my inbox.

As with poetry, keeping abreast of what magazines are publishing will help me write better, more relevant work.

Use my eyes more often

These past few years, I’ve consumed books mostly by listening to them. Audiobooks are a fantastic means of keeping up with the latest releases while taking a walk or cooking for the family. However, I can’t pay as much attention to the prose in these situations, which is why I reserve some authors’ works, like Victoria Schwab’s, for my e-reader. I want to see how the greats twist the fabric of their sentences, which words they put to the page. Thus, to work on my own abilities, I’ve resolved to devote more time to reading with my eyes.

This is not a dig at audiobooks, by the way. They’ll still make up most of my reading. But as a writer, it’s easier for me to study the form if I can look at it.

Get into indies

I feel bad about this. I have yet to dip a toe into the vast sea of indie novels, as there is already a long list of traditionally-published books I want to read. And there are so many self-published titles, it can be hard to know where to start. Thankfully, I’ve come across a few recommendations, so I might make a dent into this mountain of indie works vying for our attention. I’ll be sure to report any must-reads so you don’t miss out either.

It will take effort to settle into a good groove with these resolutions, to figure out how to integrate them into my routine, but I expect the benefits to be worth it. Let’s reconvene at the end of the year to see how I did, shall we? And if I never bring them up again, you’ll know exactly how I did.


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