Our 2017 Writing Resolutions

As we approach the end of the year, we reflect back on 2016 and look toward 2017. We here at The Mixed-Up Files have been thinking about our goals for the next year. So here are the writing resolutions of middle-grade authors. Reading resolutions will be posted on Friday.

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Some of us have been thinking of stretching our writing into other genres.

  • Julie Artz, for example, has resolved “to work on short story craft. I’m proud of my progress–I sold my first two stories this year–but I also think I have more room for improvement, so I’m keeping this as my goal for 2017 too.”
  • Michele Weber Hurwitz is “working on a middle grade novel in a different genre than I usually write, which is contemporary realistic fiction. This new WIP is magical realism with a bit of mystery and I’m having a lot of fun with it. I hope to finish and — cross fingers — sell that in 2017.”
  • Rosanne Parry has “a poetry event coming up in April in which I will read one or two of my poems alongside Sherman Alexie and Elizabeth Woody (Oregon’s poet laureate) So in preparation for that I want to write one new poem a week and practice reading poetry out loud.”

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Many people make New Year’s resolutions that have to do with time management, and authors are no different.

  • Michelle Houts resolves “to develop a more scheduled writing life (as opposed to the haphazard writing la-la land in which I currently dwell- ooh! Look! That project is shiny!)”
  • Jen Swanson intends to “work on my fiction manuscripts more and get them in shape. Try not to take on too many projects and/or get too over-committed.”
  • Jacqueline Houtman “will do more to prioritize my kidlit writing, even when I have freelance work on my plate. I will go back to regular writing sessions at my local coffee shop.”
  • Each week in the coming year, T.P. Jagger “will make progress on my own WIP, even when other writing and/or work-related deadlines are pressing.”

 Some of us want to go beyond time management and add productivity tools to our toolkits.  

  • Amie Borst intends “to effectively use my writing time with a voice to text program (because let’s face it, I have problems sitting still for extended periods of time and I need to enlist guilt-free techniques to meet my goals).”
  • Louise Galveston resolves “to write outside my usual comfort zone and to master Scrivener.”

The New Year is a time for new beginnings, so many of us are eyeing new projects.

  • Dorian Cirrone plans “to finally work on the novel I have been thinking about for literally twenty-five years.”
  • Kimberly Griffiths Little hopes to “hear back from my editor on my MG proposal I wrote more than a year ago and begin writing it! It might be my most challenging idea I’ve ever had.” 

Sometimes finishing a draft is harder than starting it.  

  • Jonathan Rosen vows to “write more often and finish another book before the summer.”
  • Sue Cowing wants “to finish drafting my book of poems about extinct animals and trust my wildest imagination in the final flourishes.”
  • Laurie J. Edwards resolves “to complete the 6 books I have under contract and to write the middle grade historical and science mystery series I started.”
  • “With joy and gratitude,” Hillary Homzie plans “to complete my middle grade science fantasy and the last two books in my forthcoming chapter book series, Ellie May (2018).”

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 As they say at a youth newspaper in my town, “Never turn in your first draft.” Every draft needs to be rewritten and revised.

  • Mindy Alyse Weiss  wants to “finish rewriting my current middle grade novel then flesh out and begin writing the shiny new MG idea that hit me during a workshop this past weekend.”
  • Valerie Stein resolves “to finish editing the book my publishing company releases this summer (middle school and up, about endangered species), and to edit and add new materials to our middle grade history project. That is others’ writing, though. For me, the goal is to finish read-through of my current work in progress (not middle grade), so changes can go on to beta readers. My stretch goal is to get that project in other hands and then apply for a writing grant for work on my first full middle grade manuscript in 2017.”
  • Andrea Pyros resolves to “Finish the revise of my MG novel. I’m getting there, slowly and steadily, but I’d like to have a completed second draft done SOON so I can show it to some people for critical (not too critical, I hope!) feedback.”

Some of our resolutions are not about specific projects, but about our attitudes.

  • Michael Hays will “keep pushing to produce work that supports and promotes the ideals of The Brown Bookshelf‘s “A Declaration in Support of Children” and finish two skill-stretching books in 2017.”
  • Tricia Springstubb wants to “remember that with every book–every book–I come to a place where I’m sure I’ll fail. Try not to despair but instead see this as a necessary (if vile) part of my process.”
  • Kate Manning’s resolution is “Joy! To have fun with my writing, try new things, and dig deep.”

The bloggers at The Mixed-Up Files wish you a happy holiday season and a productive new year. What are your writing resolutions for 2017? Share them in the comments.

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Jacqueline Houtman
Jacqueline Houtman is the author of the middle-grade novel THE REINVENTION OF EDISON THOMAS (Front Street/Boyds Mills Press 2010) and coauthor, with Walter Naegle and Michael G. Long, of the biography for young (and not-so-young) readers, BAYARD RUSTIN: THE INVISIBLE ACTIVIST (Quaker Press 2014). Find her at www.jhoutman.com