Welcome to the Creative Writing Blog for Seattle University!

Hi, Everybody! I'm Sharon Cumberland, the Director of Seattle U's Creative Writing Program. I'm starting this blog so that our English majors--both CW and Lit--will know what's going on in the program--our readings, our trips to the opera, our free "Writer's Chronicles"--as well as getting information about our successful grads and their publications. This will be the place for faculty, students, alums and friends of the program to talk to each other, find out what's up,and talk about craft. Come join us!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year's Eve--A Writer's Resolutions

The custom of making a New Year's Resolution can be fraught with anxiety for writers--can I make up for all the writing I didn't do last year? Will I be able to write regularly this year? Will I find a publisher, a writing group, a class, a mentor? Am I dreaming? What's a realistic goal?

My take on this problem is based on the research that says you get more accomplished if you work on your writing for 20 minutes each day than if you wait for a block of time to sit down and do a huge push. That's not to say that NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month in November) isn't a productive exercise, but forcing yourself to write 20-30 minutes per day keeps the pump primed. As one of my teachers, Skye Moody, says "If you sit down in the same place every day, the Muse will know where to find you."

What works best for me is having a weekly writing group. The Greenwood Poets are in their eighth year of meeting every week for two hours (they're mostly retired--those of us still laboring in the vineyards work our schedule around to make the time). So every Tuesday morning I say "OMG! I don't have a poem for the group!" and then I sit down and write one, or revise the one I brought in last week. This has caused me to produce a LOT of poetry over the last eight years. So I'm an example of someone who does well with a weekly writing session rather than a daily writing session. It's all I can manage at this point, but it's been enough to get the work out.

So what's my resolution? I have all my writing projects listed on a white board in my office. I resolve to work on each project steadily through the year--look at the board daily, decide on priorities, noodle away at the things that seem alive and current. I have one hope (I don't dare to make it a resolution) and that is that after my poetry book is out in October (Peculiar Honors, Black Heron Press) that I can return to my long-abandoned-but-much-thought-about novel.

What's your New Year's Resolution? Tell the rest of us--sharing a resolution helps you to keep it!

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