10 Bad New Year’s Resolutions for Writers (Bad Advice Wednesday: The Holiday Edition)

categories: Bad Advice / Cocktail Hour



1.  Stop writing this year.  Just quit.  You can do it.  Writing’s an addiction.

2.  Stop reading.  No media.  Nothing.  Listen to the rain.

3.  Quit your job and roam the planet going broke.

4.  If you have to write, write stuff that can’t be sold, then give it away on a street corner in Rome.

5.  Sit and think, or just sit.

6.  Invent a new medium, and for a while, be its best practitioner by far.

7.  Take ballet lessons.  Don’t write about them.

8.  Take a Bruce Springsteen or Joni Mitchell or Patti Smith song (or any other) and make a story out of it.

9.  Sing this story.

10.  Scratch very personal essays in the sand on long northern beaches.

  1. Barbarann Ayars writes:

    Jesu! I can’t get past #1! I write compulsively. I write because it beats ironing (yes, I iron). I write because there’s nothing on the telly at 3 A.M. I don’t know what a “wall” is. Which brings me to reading. #2. Can’t stop that, either, but notice that, since i have begun writing, I read very differently now. How’s that writer shape the plot, make me feel rain, taste turnips and finally appreciate why i don’t like them, walk a quiet beach, feel the comforted baby nestled into my neck and smell its milky breath? What can I steal, bend to my will, learn from, toss? I skim better, too, seeing what I don’t need to read, hear, feel, taste, smell. And when to discard because I’m not there with the writer on any page. And if I just sit and listen to the rain, pretty soon I’m up in the loft writing about the sound of rain, not here, but where it’s taken me: to Gramm’s, listening in a snug bed under a tin roof. And nodding off. Happy New year and thank you for so very much help.

  2. Chelle G writes:

    GIVE UP MY WRITING?! Holly cow! Bad advice, Bill. I know that’s the point, but just seeing it in print made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Gretel Ehrlich told me once that a writer is drawn to write–she “must.” I find that I must and my goal for next year is to publish more than last year–6 pieces, including a conference paper. We’ll see. But, I can see that for some a break might be a healthy option. Whatever your goals, may the new year bring success to you all. Happy New Year, Bill and Dave. 🙂