Distractions and excuses have no place in 2015. Whether it’s laundry, grading papers, gabbing girlfriends, or a new episode of my favorite show I’m striving to implement the opposite of my norm. Instead of putting off writing, I plan to write and put off ALL (ok, most of) the things that make me feel guilty about not finishing the next chapter or writing a relevant blog post.

This is great news for readers, because I plan to finish and release Defend by late Spring. I also plan to complete a fantasy novel I’ve been toying with since last Summer, as well as a children’s picture book. Writing is a pastime that I feel compelled to practice, but my passion has dwindled between holiday breaks, lesson plans, and dusting. So, what can I do to kindle my burning desire to write?

Here’s a list of things I plan to practice, because practice makes perfect! Maybe one or two will be helpful to you during 2015.

  1. image1-5Blog more. Seems obvious, right? Well, I think that the way we look at blogging can dampen the spark that it’s able to provide in our writing life. Several people I know look at blogging as a tool to reach more readers or connect with other authors/ moms/ professionals/ bloggers. Networking is good. Having more followers is encouraging. Getting comments on posts is even more exhilarating. It makes us feel validated. My questions is, what are you validated in? If blogging is about popularity points then it’s probably lost the creative compliment that could be a brilliant accessory to your writing. Create a blogging culture that adds to your stories and motivates you to move from the blog post to your book pages more fluidly.
  2. Journal more. I have outlandish ideas on a regular basis, and while you may enjoy diagnosing me after hearing/reading about said ideas, some of the feelings and details should remain private. My goal is to journal every day. Two paragraphs or two pages, the journaling will help me decompress. It will also be a great way to catalogue crazy ideas and play with my vocabulary. There’s nothing better than experimenting with adjectives and verbs. (I’m a practicing jargon juggler!)
  3. DSC_0032_thumb[2]Plan more. I know it’s tough to actually carve out writing time. Even when I write it in my calendar, something always seems to overrule the curly green ink scrolled in the 9am-Noon block. My mind is set, and my writing time will win each battle in 2015. My pen might have to be my literal sword, fighting off the vacuum cleaner every Thursday morning. To add to my schedule and word count, I’m also blasting my planner with writing time in the evening. I’m naturally a night person, so why not keep myself up with tales of underground battles and overzealous villains? I wouldn’t cancel a planned get together with my best girlfriends, so why am I canceling time to write about my favorite characters?
  4. Read more. Great readers make great writers. My goal is to be a great writer some day, and to achieve that I’ve got to incorporate some great books into my mental library. I hope to complete two books a month. Remember, what you put in will eventually come out… So, scoop in as many great words as you can. The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater, will be my first read of 2015.9780545424929_p0_v1_s260x420
  5. Explore more. This last one may seem odd, but I’ve found that the more I learn or research about a potential story, the more alive it feels when I’m writing it. I plan to go beyond the google search, to check out books at the library and drive to a location and walk the earth where my story takes place. Even a fantasy novel has to include realistic elements that the reader can familiarize themselves with. It’s how we connect with a quirky alien or amiable creature. Take a drive, go for a walk, explore your setting in person, and dig deeper into the psyche of your characters.

I’ll keep you posted throughout the year, and hopefully I can report gargantuan word counts and a wildfire of passion for the stories I’m writing. If you have anything to add, I’d love to know what your writing will look like in 2015. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.