Your 2015 New Year’s Resolution Top 10 List

Make a New Year’s resolution list that includes 10 goals. They don’t all have to be writing-related, but at least 3 of them do. Then refer to this post often this year and update it as you complete your goals.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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320 thoughts on “Your 2015 New Year’s Resolution Top 10 List

  1. Dew

    1. Write three complete Screenplays. (Ideas currently exist. Just need actual writing.)
    2. Try to write at least a little every day… or every week. You know.
    3. Be a better friend, because I could always be better, and I don’t want to let her down again.
    4. See Paris. (Hehehe)
    5. Improve word typing speed. -_-‘
    6. Improve relationship… with certain members of my family…
    7. Lose those last ornery 15 pounds.
    8. Take a good chunk out of my current car loan.
    9. Stop being afraid to experience things.
    10. Enjoy every aspect of my INTP self.

  2. Priya

    I love this exercise. I’ve seen many inspiring goals. Mine are:

    1. revise my family script
    2. write first draft of another family script
    3. write first chapter book
    4. read books/blogs on writing craft
    5. work up to daily writing habit
    6. enjoy life, nature, yoga
    7. read 25 books
    8. think of story concepts
    9. practice yoga
    10. keep the vibration high

  3. Nicki EagerReader

    OK, one more resolution on the spur of the moment: UNPLUG THE TELEPHONE BEFORE I SIT DOWN TO WRITE.
    Because there’s nothing like your mom ringing you up to tell you about her stiff neck to derail the inspiration express.

    1. turtles87

      Ugh, I so get you! I hate it when I like have the perfect opening sentence or like best closing line and my family interrupt my train of thought. I mean, the train was just about to enter into the station!! It’s like they have this sixth sense to know when you have inspiration or not.

      Anyway, best wishes! 😀

    2. Observer Tim

      I know the feeling, except that my distractions (roomies) show up in person. I woke up at 2:00 this morning (my prime writing time) and 2 of 3 other people were there to distract me.

      There must be a polite way to say “You’re wonderful people, but GO AWAY!”

  4. Cceynowa

    New Year’s Resolutions 2015

    “You’ve started already,” Grace observed when she logged on at ten, her voice out of sync with her face on my computer screen. We Skype now-a-days due to our low-income jobs restricting air travel. I’d been online since putting the twins to bed at eight. Ken had wanted to let them stay up to celebrate the New Year. We’d argued about the day-after rebellion following a break in routine. The kids were three; they’d get over it. He’d stomped off to a bar to celebrate and I’d put the kids to bed. No break in routine at my house.

    Tipping my wine glass I answered, “Yeah. Ken is off drinking somewhere, so I thought I would be too.”

    “Guess I’ll have to catch up then.”

    “Where’s Jorden tonight?”

    “At his Dad’s; I’m supposed to have him, but Jeff and I did a trade. I want an extra week in summer to visit family,” Grace explained as she popped the top on her beer bottle.

    “That’s great! Family can be the first on our list this year. God knows I need more time with Memaw,” Laura chimed in as Grace and I tipped our drinks back. Ever the organized one, she popped a shared notes screen up for all of us too see. From three thousand miles away I watched her type:

    1. More time with family

    2. Less swearing

    “Less swearing? Really Laura, I’m the mother of twins,” I said, “Can we change it to ‘no swearing where others can hear you?’ I’ve got to have my closed door time.”

    Grace was nodding. “Fine,” Laura agreed while pouring amber colored liquid into a glass. “But we all need to try to cut it down. You two for your children’s sake and me for my job.”

    “Did you get that promotion?”

    “Not quite yet. But I should soon. Just need to focus a bit more”

    “Add it.” Diligently, Laura typed:

    3. Be more focused while at work

    “How are things with Ken,” she asked me.

    “Let’s make number four: pick your battles wisely.”

    “That sounds like a fortune cookie. We need to be more specific.”

    4. No more going to bed mad.

    “How would that apply to you Laura,” Grace asked. “This list is for all of us after all. I go to bed plenty mad, mostly at myself. Maybe I should meditate. Or should that be a separate goal?”

    “Same for me,” Laura answered. “And my new guy Rick and I are having issues. I like him, but he’s pushing me….”

    We talked for a couple hours longer, and by midnight we had a final list for the next year:

    1. More time with family

    2. Less swearing (in public)

    3. Be more focused at work

    4. No more going to bed mad

    5. Take up yoga/meditation

    6. Keep a dream diary

    7. Enter at least one (writing/running) contest

    8. Write a handwritten letter a month, and mail it

    9. Finish a project (writing/crafting) once started

    10. Drink less cheap sh*t – buy only the good stuff

    1. lionetravail

      Good stuff. And I agree a huge amount with number 10 – over the years I have selected better and better quality things; let’s talk sometime 🙂

      Happy and healthy new year! (Number 5 will help with that- works for me to turn back the aging clock.)

  5. blanderson

    1. Write something most days of the week.
    2. Attend a writing workshop.
    3. Read a quality book about the craft (suggestions welcome).
    4. Visit a writing site other than WD regularly.
    5. Don’t waste time on the Internet during my writing time.
    6. Observe everyday things and write about them.
    7. Write a character sketch about my current main character.
    8. Photograph things and print them out so I can write about them.
    9. Focus on being creative.
    10. Don’t be afraid of the aforementioned creativity.

    1. Observer Tim

      This is a great set of ideas, BL (I’m assuming that’s where your name breaks).

      Re #3, I found that Polti’s “The 36 Dramatic Situations” is a good read on the topic of creating tension and narrative; I don’t always agree with it since my perspective is about a century away from his, but it’s still full of good ideas. I also often recommend “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves” on the grammar side.

      For $9 and #6, I have a suggestion as well. When you find an ordinary thing, ask yourself two questions – “How could this be worse?” and “How could this be better?” – then make sure you write something (short) for both. As writers we have to see things from different angles, and much of creativity is asking yourself that question nobody normally would.

    2. Hiba Gardezi

      Nice ! The character sketch is a good idea, i’ll try that ,too. Quality books on the craft? I have some…’ Writing 21st century fiction’ by Donald Maass, ‘Between the lines ‘ by Jessica Morrell,and ’90 days to your novel’ by Sarah Domet.

    3. lionetravail

      A good, solid list, though I will caveat that #5 is not bad when you add it to #9… it’s okay to follow random thoughts, particularly as pertains to research for a book, and let it distract you. Happens to me all the time when I write sci fi or any period piece, because I look up how things work or how they were, then chase that idea into related links until I come back to what I was writing with something new and worth it.

      Happened in the “Nosy Elf on a Shelf” prompt- i was looking back to when the first Christmas was celebrated (326 AD, declared by Emperor Constantine), and learned that Rome was a hodge podge of religions, including the Winter celebration of Jesus’ birthday AND Saturn’s winter festival of feasting, fellowship, and gift giving. Suddenly, I had the crux of my story; Saturn had segued to Santa while maintaining the gift giving/feasting winter holiday, and whammo, I learned stuff which was directly applicable to writing the thing I’d actually been working on.

      So, um. Yeah- 5 and 9 together might work okay 🙂 Happy and healthy new year!

    4. Nicki EagerReader

      “On Writing” by Stephen King. It’s part biography, and apart from being good for a laugh it taught me that collecting rejection slips is the past time of every budding writer.
      “Elements of Style” by Strunk and White. Not the know-all and end-all but so concise you’ll weep tears of joy.

      You compiled a nice list and I really liked #10. When I read it I suddenly realized that in the past years I totally turned away from horror stories, I won’t allow my imagination to explore the metaphorical dark corner in the closet of my mind for the simple reason that I’m not sure I’d still be able to sleep at night… thanks a lot for pushing my face into the fact! It’s time I changed that (and invested in a nightlight 😉 ).

    5. Critique

      An excellent list in my view blanderson. I may incorporate a few of them into my list 🙂
      A few books (and I’ve read many on writing) that I’ve found helpful:
      Immediate Fictions, by: Jerry Cleaver. He knows how to get the creative juices flowing in my view.
      On Writing, by : Stephen King
      The Maeve Binchy Writers’ Club, by Maeve Binchy.

  6. dedewitt

    My 2015 Writing Resolutions

    #1 – Read. Then read some more. Then read even more.
    #2 – Do activities that expand my creativity and imagination.
    #3 – Tell my inner critic to pipe down and threaten him when he gets out of hand.
    #4 – Stop thinking about publishers, agents, websites, and public opinion until AFTER my novel is finished.
    #5 – Write stories I want to read, not stories I think will land me popularity.
    #6 – Take notes from random pages in Wikipedia that might make for good stories
    #7 – Collect adjectives, verbs, and character traits that will strengthen my writing.
    #8 – Have FUN. Fun results in imagination, creativity, passion.
    #9 – Stop hating Twitter.
    #10 – Write. Then write some more. Then write even more.

    1. Observer Tim

      I love it, dedewitt. I suggest you buy your inner critic a nice dinner and get it to sit down and start playing teacher to those adjectives and verbs. That way even its spare time will be helpful.

      Something I’ve found helps with #2 is to look through (not deep-read) one of those free newspapers and see if there are any stories that fire the imagination. For example, yesterday there was a story in Metro about a 7-year old who (a) survived a small plane crash and (b) walked several miles to find help. Change a few details and there’s about a hundred great stories hiding in there.

      But mostly, number 1 and number 10.

      1. dedewitt

        Thanks, Observer Tim! Great idea!

        Funny you should mention that story. Someone told me about that yesterday and my first reaction was, “Sounds like the intro to a great action/adventure film.” In hindsight, that probably wasn’t the most sensitive of responses, but, you know, writer’s minds…

        1. Observer Tim

          Welcome to the world of being a writer, dedewitt.

          At least this story is harrowing rather than tragic. It’s awful that this child lost both her parents (and was there when it happened), but at least she’s still here to feel awful. A genuine miracle.

    2. lionetravail

      A good, solid list, and beginning and ending in the most appropriate places. I mentioned somewhere well below, reading outside one’s comfort zone is probably as effective as practicing writing outside it: both will make us better, as you allude to with #s 1 and 10.

      Happy and healthy new year!

  7. willowtree

    This is my first post of Writers Digest and albeit a little intimidating looking at the fabulous content readers and writers contribute, is extremely exciting! Here are my goals for 2015:

    1. Work like it is my job on my book.
    2. Increase vocabulary: learn a new word a day (or week if it proves too much).
    3. Publish a story on my blog once a week.
    4. Be more present; be more observant; absorb the seemingly mundane.
    5. Get stronger and commit to continual oiling of the machine that is my body.
    6. Act, speak and feel with love.
    7. Continue my daily practice of yoga and meditation.
    8. Continue to eat nourishingly.
    9. Try to take life less seriously!
    10. Draw more frequently.

    Thanks for the inspiring lists from everybody else and good luck with all your goals 🙂

    1. dedewitt

      Don’t be intimidated. We’re not that fabulous. 😛

      Great goals! You might want to think about doing something like Memrise for #2. Create flash cards with words for the week and go through them when you have free time. I might do it myself!

      Write on!

    2. Observer Tim

      Great list, Willowtree. I really like number 4, which should be obvious from my user name. 😉

      I could try about half of these, and I think everyone can spend more time on number 6 (the list item, not Patrick McGoohan. Sorry, it’s an ‘in’-joke for us old folks).

    3. Hiba Gardezi

      Welcome! I myself am very new here and from time to time feel like an amateur in a group of polished writers but DON’T feel intimidated…we are all here to learn from and help each other. I really like this list, especially 2 and 6… 😀
      Hope to see you next week!

    4. lionetravail

      Great list here, Willowtree, and welcome. About a year ago I was brand new to the site, and started posting stories with some trepidation. However, I’m sure you will also find that the community here is supportive in all the best ways, so I look forward to reading some of your work.

      Good luck in pursuing these goals, and yes, remember that perfection makes a better goal than a destination. 🙂

      Happy and healthy new year wishes!

  8. Critique

    I’m not a cheerleader for New Year’s resolutions but I believe in the value of setting goals so in the spirit of this prompt I’m attempting basic quarterly goals this year – less daunting. At the end of March I’ll regroup to see how industrious – or not – I’ve been and then I’ll add a continuum to the list for another quarter. This way I hope to keep procrastination from sabotaging me at the close of the year.

    I’ve read the prompts and I’m inspired with the fun and the thoughtful resolutions on the lists. I wish all of you every success with your resolutions and all the best in the New Year!

    January to March

    1. Write every day – even if its nonsense.
    2. Comment more on the wonderful imaginative stories on this blog.
    3. Practice gratitude.
    4. Work on my novel.
    5. Pray for peace and take time to pursue/reflect on the wisdom found in the Bible.
    6. Consciously sit up straighter – hold in those abs, stretch often and breathe deeply when writing.
    7. Don’t take myself too seriously. Share the gift of a smile 0 often.
    8. Dance to music, do yoga, work up a sweat in a spin class – doing weights – running up and down some stairs, go for a walk. Ten minutes of exercise daily is better than none right?
    9. Drink more water, eat more fruit, and fresh vegetables.
    10. Get out of my comfort zone – take risks – see the end from the beginning.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I’m with snuz and cosi on your great list. Looks like we will have a great first part of the year, The forum, I can tell, is straining at the leash, waiting for the first prompt of a brand new year. Let’s hope the ice box doesn’t last. Ir’s 25 degrees in sunny San Antonio. BRRRRRR!

  9. Whitebubble2

    hi guys! 🙂 I feel like this year is going to be totally awesome 2015 new years resolutions
    1. Graduate high school
    step 1A. keep up my grades
    step 2: try to ignore distractions
    2. try to talk my parents into getting another dog
    3. write my novel and hopefully publish it.
    3. a outline
    b. Edit
    c. revise
    d. write second draft
    4. help out the less fortunate

    1. lionetravail

      Heya Whitebubble2- wishing you all success with your list, and with your novel. And, what the heck, with your whole year 🙂 Happy and healthy new year!

  10. snuzcook

    Resolutions are simply theoretical without an Action Strategies. Here are mine:

    1) Attitude:
    a. Step a) decide if I need to adjust my attitude, or commit to it as it is;
    b. Step b) act accordingly without remorse;
    c. Step c) return to step (a) often

    2) Playing well with others:
    a. Step a) determine where in my life it is enriching to myself or others to make and/or maintain contact;
    b. Step b) grow arms and hands, eyes, ears and mouth as needed for the purpose making and maintaining those contacts;
    c. Step c) return to step (a) often but delay impulses to retract (b) until certain it is contrary to step (a)

    3) Writing—practice reading to improve writing:
    a. Step a) set aside 30 minutes reading time daily NOT AT BED TIME (I fall asleep after about a page and a half)
    b. Step b) complete reading those novels currently sprouting bookmarks partway through
    c. Step c) complete four classic novels I have not read before by the end of summer

    4) Writing—practice craft:
    a. Step a) do 2 exercises in writer’s resources textbooks each month
    b. Step b) seek out exercises specific for issues with script project
    c. Step c) respond to every Writers Digest prompt BUT leave the first draft for at least two hours before rereading and posting.

    5) Writing—let go
    a. Submit four stories for publication and/or contests this year
    b. When story is not lauded, go back to Resolution #1 and Resolution #2
    c. Finish at least one anthology project in 2015

    To round out the TEN, here are other personal challenges always needed on my list:
    6) PRACTICE KINDNESS, with self as well as with others
    7) PRACTICE GRATITUDE, both privately and publicly
    8) Do something that is good for me that I don’t want to do every day.
    9) PRACTICE GENEROSITY (review Resolution 1 and 2)
    10) LIVE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT because it is the only one I can choose (in other words, DRIVE THE CHARIOT instead of letting the horses run amok)

    This seems like a wonderful opportunity to thank all the other fabulous participants on this site who teach me so much and model each of these resolutions for me, and particularly practicing Kindness, Gratitude, Generosity and choosing to show up for the moment every week. Thank all of you for sharing your gifts!

    1. Observer Tim

      Great work Snuz/Susan. I love the substeps, though I doubt I would have the mental discipline to follow them. It’s a new year and a chance to reaffirm what we do. I certainly wish you all the luck you so strongly deserve in all that you’re doing. And I look forward to reading your posts, which are always a pleasure.


    2. lionetravail

      These are awesome, though I think you practice 6,7, and 9 pretty clearly through the site. Snuz, it’s wonderful to read your work, and a learning experience for me every time. Your comments are always spot on and welcome. I wish you all success, happiness, and health in the coming year(s). 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Awesome list. You hit on one I would have placed first on my list, your number 10, Live in the present moment. This is so important to me, I have no idea why I left it off my list. Keep your marvelous stories flowing each week. “A week is not complete without snuz”.

          1. Kerry Charlton

            I can do! My degree is in Marketing and I’ve got 57 years of rough and tumble, hands on business experience. When do we start?

    3. snuzcook

      I have to share:
      I wrote this list with two black eyes and an over-sized nose and knees that won’t tolerate the slightest pressure–I looked like I was an extra from an martial arts movie. On New Year’s Eve morning I tripped on my way into work and did a face plant into a wood window frame. So many circumstances of this event were the best of all possible worlds, and despite scaring a few people, I am not truly any worse for wear.
      It occurs to me that life is hitting me between the eyes with a few reminders. #1 through 4 were drafted before the accident. The rest came after.
      I recognize that the technical edits of my post are wanting (excuse–jostled brain) but the content reflects somewhat the ‘gentle’ adjustment I received.

      1. Critique

        I just read your list – it sounds ambitious and inspiring! I always enjoy reading your stories snuzcook and look forward to more in the New Year.
        Yikes, sorry to hear about your mishap and glad your okay. If someone were to remark on your appearance you might say: “What? This? You should see the other guy.” jk
        Wishing you a complete recovery and all the best in the New Year 🙂

    4. jmcody

      Thoughtful, as I would expect from you. You have a mind that is patient, probing and insightful, which is your great strength as a writer.

      Glad you are okay and the lesson wasn’t too severe, but what a way to start the new year! My mind has been running along similar lines, trying to discern what life is trying to tell me with the long succession of faceplants over the past few years. I must be very dense. But I think you’re right that there’s a reason for all of it. It is to your credit that you were able to find positive meaning in a painful episode.

      I am looking forward to reading much more of your writing in the coming year. I think I have said before that you are one of my favorites. Sooner or later one of your stories will be appropriately lauded and you will have to write a Resolution #5D. In the meantime, I am happy to be one of many beneficiaries of your weekly writing exercises. Thanks for all your contributions to this forum, and I hope 2015 brings you the recognition you truly deserve.

      Happy New Year Snuzz!

      1. snuzcook

        Thank you for your kind words, JM. It is always hard to know what to say in response, when much of what you say is exactly what I want to say to you.

        I look forward to what we will both create, learn and share in the upcoming year!

  11. Matthew

    It has been a while since I’ve written on here. I’m going to be starting back up posting. Here are my goals for 2015.
    1. Write Write Write. I have stories I want to tell. People that I want to touch. The only way I can do this is to get over my fears and write.
    2. Spend less time on videogames. (You ate the reason I have such a hard time doing #1.)
    3. Comment on every story that I read and give constructive feedback.
    4. Work with the feedback that I get from others.
    5. Get one of my stories into a competition.
    6. Explore more writing genres.
    7. Publish a story.
    8. Write (Yes this is on here twice, actually 4 times.)
    9. Learn from others and WD articles.
    10. Read more than just my favorite genre.

    I have trouble sticking to goals so going to change that for this year.

    1. Observer Tim

      Welcome back, Matthew. It’s good to see you again and good to have you here. Great set of resolutions to test your resolve. It’s an ambitious set, and I wish you great luck and success in fulfilling them. Your stories have been enjoyable so far, and I look forward to more. 🙂

      1. Matthew

        Thank you OT, as we speak I am working on a piece. I am struggling with silencing the inner critic in me long enough to finish writing the piece. It’ll probably go through several edits before I post a bit of it on here. This is a piece I have been wanting to write for a while and its already turning out differently than I thought it would.

  12. Penney

    Hello and Happy New Year from Swatchcat.
    To start off the new year I am starting with a change to my posts. My name is Penney. I will be using my name from now on both as pride and ownership to both good and bad writing. I am writing from Washington State. I have been a glad part of this forum for three years. My intention is to continue because it has been enjoyable and helpful in many ways. I will continue to learn and grow through the many acquaintances I have gained. When I am not writing here, I will continue to write in my journal such things as poems and memoirs both of mine, and my fathers (they must be written down). I just like to write and learn. I will read more for better writing and just because I need to.

    I intend to continue making possible my twin teen boys and daughter’s success. I will continue to walk with God and grow in my knowledge of the Bible and my faith. I will strive to be more healthy and fit. Family togetherness is very important to me. I would like to get a new stamp in my passport. I will go outside much more. I have a paying job now and hope to keep it. That’s all I can think of for now.

    To all of you, thank you for all your help, advice and wonderful stories you have allowed me to read.

    1. Nicki EagerReader

      Thank you so much, Penney, for your trust. Shedding your alias is like walking into battle without armour, but you sure have all right to be proud of your posts- you’re a good writer and improving with every week. I also endorse your plans aside from writing- writing is only one side of the coin, but living life to the fullest is definitely the other.
      Keeping my fingers corssed that all your endeavors will be crowned by success!

    2. Observer Tim

      Welcome aboard, Penney Swatch Lion-friend Cat White (tee hee! I snuck a peek at your profile). Welcome back and welcome to the new openness. It’s been a while, and I for one am truly looking forward to more of your always thoughtful and imaginative stories.

      I can see a lot of history being untold here and on your site; I know there is more to come.

      I have observed that faith is a means of travel, and life is the road it takes you down. May that road end in heaven and may your steps be forthright. May you walk with a smile on your lips and song in your heart. And don’t step in anything mushy. 🙂

      Happy New Year, Penney.

    3. lionetravail

      Penney! So good to know you in this incarnation 🙂

      Congratulations on all you’ve done and do, and sincere wishes for a healthy, happy, and successful new year!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Welcome Penney. I’ve admired your writing as Swatchcat. Now that I know you’re first name, I’ll give you my middle name, Brian.That’s all the names I’ve got, no first, second or third, that belongs to my older brother. Double up on Tim’s mushy, we’ve got a lot of that in Texas. I have a self made theory about the Civil War. Yankees didn’t mind stepping in it and never looked down in the Civil War.

    4. snuzcook

      Happy New Year, Penney!
      I always look forward to your posts, not just your fabulous stories but also your comments, which I have found to be insightful and spot on.

    5. Critique

      Penney, you are courageous and I wish you every success in your writing endeavors and life goals. I look forward to reading more of your imaginative well written stories here, not as Swatchcat but as Penney 🙂

  13. qwert

    We have finally reached the end of the marvelous year of 2014. A year that taught me so many new things. Lessons about life, things about the world around us, and a great many things that one should not do else they get in huge trouble with their parents. For example, sneaking out (when your mom’s asleep) to your friend’s house to eat a scrumptious supper that you know your mother couldn’t ever make.

    2014 has been a year of sitting in classrooms, sitting in my own room, sitting in the dinner table, sitting on the couch, sitting in the principal’s office, and frankly sitting in a lot of places I didn’t want to be sitting at all. But that’s OK because now a new year has begun. And a new year is like a whole new start to my life. The day from which I can forget everything I did to embarrass yourself, forget about all the homework that I forgot to turn in, forget all the lame excuses that I told my teacher for not doing it, and hope with all my might that my teacher forgets those excuses as well so I can use them again in this new year of 2015. Forget everything except the awesome times I had with my friends and family, the lame joke that my brother told me to cheer me up, all the memories that I know I’d never let go because they came close to my heart. But most of all, I was told not to forget the lessons I learnt whether it was from my mom or my teacher or a friend or even an enemy. Don’t forget it. It is these lessons that will help me get through life in the future.

    So here are my resolutions for this new year:
    1) Form new acquaintances
    2) Keep the acquaintances already formed. Keep in touch with old friends.
    3) Try to write a novel
    4) Write for these creative prompts every week
    5) Finish writing lyrics for a few more songs and make the tune with my amazingly talented friend.
    6) Beat my brother’s score in temple run
    7) Try to finish homework on time
    8) Learn from other works of writing
    9)Get the newest cannon model camera for my brother’s b’day

    2015 has come so quickly and you are all probably excited because if this year goes as fast as 2014 did, the Olympics would begin in a few hours. And for those of you who don’t feel like that, don’t worry, a new year is the perfect time to change everything that you regret. (For instance say sorry to your close friend for eating her mom’s amazing lasagna with telling her, leaving her “lunch-less”.) And yes, that could be my tenth resolution: Tell my friend before eating her lunch.

    And do whatever you can to make others lives better as well. Wave to the old man that does his morning walk when you go to school. Hug your mom even though your friends are looking. Make someone’s wish come true.

    Today is the first page of a 365 page book called 2015. It’s in your hands how you shape it. Make it as beautiful as you can because this is your life. Don’t be afraid. Go for it.

    So that’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to write a story 70,000 words long and try to publish it, even though it feels as if I can’t because anything is possible “even meeting talking unicorns that sparkle” as I was once told.

    Anyway, I wish you all a Happy New Year. May you reach all your goals.

    1. Paint on Parchment

      Good luck with all your resolutions, especially writing a 70,000-word novel. No matter what, it’s possible; last year, I finished my own 70,000-word book (which I’m now querying agents for) and I wasn’t sure if I could do it. It was one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my life. Good luck and happy New Year 🙂

    2. Observer Tim

      You’ve got a great list and great thoughts here, qwert, very deep especially considering the young perspective. In November 2013 I managed to throw down 50,000 words, so 70,000 is all to doable. But don’t get hung up on word count. The real goal is to tell a complete story that will give your friends, your family – your readers – a sense that they have stepped into a new world of joy and wonder. That way even if it doesn’t become your first published work, it will be your story.

      Oh, and re point number 3: don’t make try your goal – your goal is to do, trying is how you get there.

      May you look back on your goals in November and say “those were way too easy”. 🙂

      1. qwert

        I’ve written 17,000 words so far, so on the bright side there’s only 53,000 more to go! Anyway, you’re right, how the story is told is what really matters.
        Change number 3 to: Finish writing a novel.
        Thanks for the comment Observer Tim and I hope can look back at these goals in November and say they were easy!

        1. Kerry Charlton

          I like how in your list, you keep referring to your brother. You’ll find out later in life, how important that relationship is to your character. If you are fighting, laughing or trying to steal each other’s girls friends, it’s character building. If he’s your older brother, it’s fun to try to best him, sometimes impossible, but the try is important.

          If younger, try to understand, he wants to go wherever you go. Follow you, emulate you, so give him a straight pathway. Happy New Year.

  14. cosivantutte

    Here is my list of resolutions for 2015:

    1. Keep pushing my long story forward.
    2. Don’t get stuck in slow knitting over this part and that part.
    3. Always leave a comment for every story I read on these boards.
    4. Try to keep my stories within the word limit.
    5. Learn from constructive criticism.
    6. Always aim to write better.
    7. Get at least one story published.

    Hmm? I was supposed to do ten resolutions? Well. These will do for now. 🙂

    I want to thank everyone who’s read and commented on my prompt stories. I know it isn’t always easy to find the time to comment. Life stuff happens. Job. Family. Dishes. And such. Sometimes you just have enough time to say “Good job” before the next round of distractions come running in. So, thank you very much for taking that time. I really do appreciate it. 🙂

    1. Nicki EagerReader

      I think I’ll print your list and staple it to the wall. Point 3 I’ll underline in orange. And know that I enjoy commenting on your posts just as much as I enjoy reading them. So have a productive new year!

    2. Observer Tim

      If your story is long enough, #1 counts as four and brings you up to 10.

      Commenting on your stories is a pleasure, Cosi, especially the running gags. If you don’t see the red pencil very often, it’s because it seldom has to come out.

      Best of luck in the new year and may your writing keep on improving.

      1. cosivantutte

        “If your story is long enough, #1 counts as four and brings you up to 10.” Hmm. Makes sense to me. 😀

        Thanks for all of your comments and advice. May 2015 be a great year for you!

    3. lionetravail

      Keep ’em coming, Cosi! Love to read your stories and I always appreciate your comments. Happy and healthy new years wishes to you and yours, and all success with your resolutions.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        An admirable list of resolutions. I also stand with David, keep your wonderful stories flowing on the forum. It’s always a highlight to read one of them.

        1. cosivantutte

          Thanks, Kerry!

          You and the other writers in this forum are awesome. Not only because of the stories that you write, but also because of the way you interact with each other. This is the most civilized forum that I’ve lurked on. There are no insults, flame wars, or ego battles. It’s just all 100% genuine awesomeness. 🙂

          I look forward to reading more of your stories.

      2. cosivantutte

        Thanks, lion!

        By the way, are you still working on your Beginning To Look Nothing Like Christmas story? I hope so. Personally, I think you could easily stretch it into a full novel. The chapters that you have posted feel like there’s a lot of story there that you can expand on.

        I’m looking forward to reading your 2015 stories! 🙂

    4. Critique

      Cosi, I look forward to reading more of your imaginative stories – and I agree life happens and time gets crunchy but I want to try and leave more comments in the New Year 🙂 All the best in your resolutions!

  15. FairyClaw02

    1. Get into all honors classes next school year. (Going into 9th)
    2. Work on my story more- I haven’t written in a long time.
    3. Master at least 3 or 4 Lindsey Stirling songs on the violin.
    4. Be advanced to at least 2nd stand 1st violin in orchestra.
    5. Finish the current school year with all A+ grades.
    6. Complete Algebra II over the summer.
    7. Submit more responses to the Writer’s Digest prompts.
    8. Comment on more stories on writer’s digest.
    9. Get 1st place in every science and math competition that takes place in the second half of the year.
    10. Be able to speak fluent French, Japanese, and Sanskrit.

    Sorry if this was really boring. I’m only 12 and in 8th grade and I don’t really have an interesting life.

    1. lionetravail

      I think your list is amazing. I’m quite far out of 8th grade, but you sound more interesting than most people your age. Keep up the ambitious list, and no need to apologize for being boring if you ain’t 🙂

    2. jmcody

      I can only echo the others’ astonishment that you would call this list boring. Holy moly, I feel like a slacker right now. French, Japanes and Sanskrit — really??? If you achieve even a few items on this list I would call that a very successful year. Go for the Lindsey Sterling songs — brilliant!

      1. FairyClaw02

        Thanks!! Most people know I take French in school and Sanskrit as an extra (I’m Indian so it only makes sense), but Japanese?? To explain that, I’m an otaku and love anime.

          1. Kerry Charlton

            Reading your list reminds me nothing of what I was doing in the eight grade. I have a very intelligent grandaughter who also is twelve and in the eight grade. I know very well what you can accomplish. I know you are on the right track with your ideals and only wish to hang around long enough to feel your worldly presence. My very best wishes to you and hope you post each week so I can watch you evolve into whatever you wish to be.

            You have no limits, no glass ceiling to bump your head against.

    3. Nicki EagerReader

      Oh, god, your list makes me dizzy… you sound like a real wunderkind, so don’t you ever dare think you’re boring or small or less competent than anyone else! I can imagine it gets though in between, being a twelve-year old amid fourteen and fifteen-year old classmates, but the really wonderful thing about this forum is that age becomes metaphysical and you can be open about what you think and who you are. I am loking forward to your posts, FairyClaw02!

    4. Observer Tim

      You forgot one:

      11. Learn to walk on water.

      All kidding aside, this is a list made by someone who pushes themselves. My real number 11 would be the following:

      11. Learn to be the best me that I can, and to be a person that others can respect not for my achievements (which are fantastic) but for my humanity.

      Everything you achieve will be wonderful, and it is never boring to be as amazing a person as you are trying to be. Keep on writing, FairyClaw. 🙂 🙂

  16. jhowe

    1. Admit to myself that my knees aren’t what they used to be. My son can beat me in basketball so get that through my head so I don’t limp around for days after our annual one on one match.

    2. Enter some more short story contests. I tried two this year and they were challenging and fun. Remember that I have plenty of time and don’t have to enter three days after the announcement. There’s an important step called editing that needs to be used more frequently.

    3. Just because my fellow office workers bring in treats practically every week doesn’t mean I have to be the go-to guy for getting them consumed.

    4. Treat my wife like a real man should and realize she deserves it.

    5. Comment more on stories on the Writer’s Digest site. I’m a little apprehensive on being critical because my knowledge is self-taught and doesn’t always apply in all situations. On the other hand, I appreciate the hell out of critical comments because they show me where I am not being clear and where I have to improve my methods.

    6. Become less concerned about writing at work. As Kerry pointed out, I do all that is asked of me and much more, so when I have the time, why not continue to learn? It does improve my morale, so that’s a positive. (I’m writing from work now by the way).

    7. Get at least three more years out of my pickup truck. It’s in good shape, runs great and has new tires. I think there are at least 75,000 miles left to use yet. Having no car payment is great and frees up money to pay for my wife’s Audi. (see #4)

    8. Learn a little about social media. I don’t have Facebook or Twitter or Angry Birds or anything more complicated than e-mail. I do text once in a while and can even send photos.

    9. Write dialogue the way people actually talk. Don’t force it.

    10. Learn to say no to the Jaeger Bomb shots when my buddies set one in front of me after a hard night. And also, use a little restraint to prevent the night from becoming hard. (This helps with #4 too).

    11. Wish everyone who frequents this site a happy new year and let them know how much you appreciate them and their talents.

    1. Nicki EagerReader

      Number 11 back to you with much thanks and best wishes! Only one question (and it’s not rhetorical): do you think it’s possible to every be finished with editing? Common sense tells me there should be a point when even the smallest comma sits in place, but sometimes I’m not sure I can believe in it….

    2. jmcody

      I can relate to so many things on this list, and particularly the mixed feelings about giving “criticism” on the forum. I vacillate between fearing and wanting to both give and get real, constructive criticism. Part of the appeal of this forum is that everyone is so very supportive. I think we do a good job of recognizing and calling out the things we get right, but most of us are hesitant to give suggestion for improvement, for exactly the reasons you give. Although I enjoy the compliments, I sometimes wish someone would say, “Hey, this sentence didn’t flow well,” or “I didn’t understand why your character did such and such…” etc. The few times I have received this kind of criticism I have been grateful for it, even if I did feel the need to apologize for sucking. Maybe we can all find a way to help each other more this year — to trust our instincts when we just know that something works or doesn’t, and to find a kind, constructive way to say it. And then pile on the compliments! 😉

      1. Nicki EagerReader

        I totally agree with everything you said (and very tactfully so). I also sometimes feel like saying, “Yeah, it’s nice, but somehow it didn’t work for me as well as your post last week” or such like, although of course this is EXACTELY the kind of feedback I hanker for. So that’s definitely I’ll try to work on (for what would writing be without honesty?).

      2. Observer Tim

        Ooh! Oooh! Pick me! Pick me! I can do that! 🙂

        Actually, I would also love to see more criticism. There are ways to do so without being harsh, though you can never fully predict the reaction (I recall one individual who would take offense even though as a reader I could never tell if his grammar was intentionally or unintentionally awful). I try to go for respectful, which is hopefully enough.

        1. jhowe

          I think I know which individual you speak of. He, I mean he or she, was a little challenging at times.

          I enjoy your red pencil when it comes out as I need it more times than not.

    3. Observer Tim

      This is a great list of resolutions, jhowe. But don’t be too hard on yourself. The last time I took a grammar course was in high school (though I did some good reading later, like The Deluxe Transitive Vampire, Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, and The 36 Dramatic Situations), but mostly I just try to use common sense and readability as guides. We all need advice; the trick is keeping it civil.

      4. Your wife is a lucky woman to have a husband that knows this. Live up to it and let her know (says the single guy whose one real relationship died from lack of communication).

      7. You can get more years out of your pickup by replacing the Flux Capacitor and always being careful when setting the time travel controls.

      9. Dialogue just takes practice. Several people have said it before, but the trick is so Rube Goldberg I have to repeat it; “anaginoskeis – read out loud”. (Sorry, that’s interference from my Greek course).

      10. I had to look up what a Jaeger Bomb was. Yeah, probably a good idea to cut back on them.

      11. Back at you, my friend, back at you.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        jhowe, your list is so much in sync with my thoughts, I wonder if we might be lost second or third cousins. Especially # 7. I drive a 1997 Lincoln Town Car, special edition. I bought it new and am still driving it. My motto, ‘What this cruiser needs, it gets’ In the last year I’ve had four offers off the street to buy it from me. Last offer was twenty grand. I looked at the silver and green beauty and told her “I’m not going to give you up old girl. After all you will be eighteen this coming summer and I know you’ll vote Republician.”

    4. snuzcook

      Great list, jhowe!
      These lists are a little moment to allow our writing comrades to peek behind the curtain. I applaud your goals, and appreciate the opportunity to see where your incredible writing is coming from.

    5. Critique

      jhowe, what a fun list to read! Enjoyed the personal embellishments in your list 🙂
      I too appreciate more then words can say, the value of this blog – the encouragement, respectful criticism, and general comments that are generated by our stories – I’ve learned so much. Keep your stories coming and I wish you a Happy New Year!

    6. cosivantutte

      “6. Become less concerned about writing at work.” If it is any consolation, I’ve done a fair amount of writing at work too. Whenever I have to work the 3p-11p shift, I bring my notebooks. I’m the only one at the desk. So, when things are all caught up and quiet, I turn on my cds, spread out my notebooks, and just write. 🙂

      “11. Wish everyone who frequents this site a happy new year and let them know how much you appreciate them and their talents.” I wish the same to you. 🙂

  17. Observer Tim

    Tim sat staring at the blank box. As usual, it both tempted and taunted him. He doesn’t normally make New Year’s resolutions, but this was indeed the challenge. He thought of increasing his spirituality (no, that’s for Lent), maybe getting his health under control (no, that’s for Advent); after all was said and done, there wasn’t much left over for the Gregorian flip. But he took a stab anyway.

    1. Last year he wrote 114 short subjects, which meant his goal of 2/week (104) was achievable. This year it would be 1 per 3 days (122) – probably still doable. Because you need at least one big stretch, gun for 1 every 2 days (183), and maybe get some published.

    2. Learn enough Koine Greek to struggle through the original language text of the most important book in his life. Got a head start on that one.

    3. Get his arse in gear on that werewolf story he’s been working at off and on for the last half-year or so. It’s probably as close as he’s got to a novel in him.

    4. Find out for sure whether or not ALS is on the list of things to be dealt with. Right now it’s looking like the answer is not if but when, but let’s make that a long time from now.

    5. If number 4 turns out to be true, write faster! There’s nothing like a deadline to spur procrastination industriousness.

    6. Spend time in the company of friends on Writer’s Digest. He’s been slacking a little of late because of the annual Christmas meltdown.

    7. Find sufficient patience to deal with the fact that his “private time” is now close to nonexistent. Adding a fourth moderately mentally ill person to the household is taking adjustment.

    8. Get that book of self-prompts together that he’s been working on. Never stop generating new ideas.

    9. DON’T EVER LOSE THE USB KEY HE USES FOR PRIMARY STORAGE OF HIS STORIES AGAIN! And be thankful for the roomie who found it in the snowbank outside the house. And that it was undamaged.

    10. Try to be the person that he’s wanted to be all his life, and to make the lives of others just a little bit better for having been around him. A little bit will do.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I loved number ten, Tim. That alone is a mountain to climb. But with this goal, many of the first nine will fall into place. Also I left off one…………. “Don’t look in the mirror while shaving. Maybe then I won’t realize how much water has flowed under the bridge of life.”

      You’re a real rock on this forum. I’m thinking our pouring a little concrete around your legs to make sure you stay here. [Stay away from deep water.]

      1. Observer Tim

        Thanks, Kerry. But if you don’t look in the mirror while shaving, they shall know you by the blood on your face…

        Value that water. It has made you what you are and contributed to your being the man we all respect and admire, who reminds us that it’s never too late to share your life, knowledge and experience.

        As I noted to Pink below, your response also added to my collection of weird self-prompts:

        Concrete Galoshes: You’ve been out drinking again, but this morning is a little different. You wake up in a bus shelter by a highway in the middle of a scrub desert with a concrete boot on each foot and only vague memories of how you got here. You see a car coming up the road.

        (P.S. Galoshes – another one of my favourite words)

    2. lionetravail

      Keep up all the amazingness, Tim- I learn from you every week.

      As for the USB key, funny story: I transitioned pretty much everything to google docs, and maintain files on computer. One of the games I play had a post-apoc situation in which magic returned to the world, and technology went bye bye. I was asked to write stories about characters who went through the time of the change as ‘historical’ stories for the new game world- my fave was a professional Judge from Virginia (“This heah courtroom is called to aw-dur, Suh”) who was a renowned poet… but everything he’d ever written, published, or worked on was online somewhere, and post change there was no online anywhere: poof. His sobriquet became “The Bitterdrunk Kid”.

      Hard copy may not ever go out of fashion 🙂

      Happy and healthy new year!

        1. lionetravail

          I do table top gaming much less frequently since I started writing aggressively, but this was actually for a LARP- live action role play gaming. The game I’ve been involved with has been running in various iterations for >20 years, and I was a director for its 3rd iteration (it’s now in its 6th!!). We did publish a number of game books and supplements to the AD&D D20 system (probably some still available in E format hanging around somewhere :)).

          The new version is high fantasy in a post-change world… I had a TON of fun writing “Change” stories for them.

    3. Nicki EagerReader

      Second Kerry and lionetravail- thanks for lavishing your experience on all of us! I believe Strunks and White would have been glad to have your red pencil on board.

      1. Observer Tim

        Thanks for the compliment, Nicki. I don’t really think of myself as experienced. Maybe “obsessed” is a little closer to the mark. My catchphrase (one of several) has always been that you have to know the rules before you can intentionally break them. Strunk & White would likely have come after me with machetes – I’m the type who would have exposed the little prejudices they snuck into their attempt to ossify the language… 😉

    4. Hiba Gardezi

      I also agree with the others 😉
      You haven’t been slacking. I learn from you every single week… you comment almost every time and your feedback is extremely helpful. Thank you 😀
      I really like your resolutions.

      1. Observer Tim

        Thanks greatly, Hiba. It’s nice to hear it. I know you’re moderately new to the site; your writing both shows and obscures your youth, so you have the best of both worlds, methinks.. You are already developing into a talented writer, and by the time you’re my ancient age I’m sure your string of admirers will stretch from Pakistan to Canada (at least).

    5. jmcody

      Hey Tim, I think you’ve embodied #10 on this board. You are one of the few who will dare to give kind, constructive criticism that makes us that much better for it.

      Sorry to hear about your continued health struggles. I truly hope #4 is a false alarm. Unfortunately I learned firsthand about the heart issues this year (hubby, not me) so I can empathize. (He just got the ICD — I think you said you have that too. And I think you are both too young for any of this.)

      But hey, reading the bible in Greek is beyond ambitious. I’ve always wondered what the bible really said before everyone got done translating, retranslating and interpreting it. I hope you find out.

      1. Observer Tim

        My leader’s book says that I should always be respectful when correcting someone. It’s easy to live by because I’ve had a wonderful example – a priest who describes his correction style as “Hitlerian” but is actually firm and gentle in perfect balance.

        Health is something we have to live with (or die trying). Unfortunately for me, with my latest uncle passing of ALS a couple of months ago (that’s 6 people out to the 1st-cousin level), the thing’s been thrown up in the air again. This new one’s a game-changer because it means the gene is coming at me from both sides of the family tree. But if that’s what is really happening, then so be it. All I have to do is write faster!

        On the issue of ICD’s, think of it as a particularly invasive insurance policy. It’s a forced wake up call and will hopefully get him thinking and planning, but not moping. That’s rule #1 for me: NO MOPING! Make your hubby swear by it, too. He’s been given a new lease on life, so make the most of it! The new boundaries have been set, so dig around the bottom of the fence for hidden treasure; I know it’s there. And you can tell him some demented fool from Calgary Canada said so!

        The hardest part about the Greek for me is not confusing it with French, which I have just enough to cause problems. And it is truly amazing how much meaning has been inserted by even the most well-meaning translators. Right now we’re covering the first piece of scripture I ever learned, but I can’t find the part that says “and that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” 🙂

    6. snuzcook

      (As you chose third person…) I think he did a pretty darn good last year, and will continue to show up with all his incredible Tim-ness in 2015. I for one will be looking forward to reading him in the New Year!

    7. Critique

      Wonderful list OT. It sounds ambitious and I wish you great success.
      I sincerely hope #4 does not have to be dealt with.
      And I loved #10 – something that resonates for me too this year.

  18. pinkbamboo

    I’m back and hopefully I will stick around for a long time. Here are my new year resolutions.

    1. Get back to this community and try to keep up with the weekly prompts. I did not give myself some time to write.

    2. Write a complete novel. Nothing good enough to publish but I just enjoyed writing since I was 12 but never completed a proper story.

    3. Read 15 books this year.

    4. Take more photos of myself this year. I know this sounds odd but I’ve always been the type who is lazy to whip out the phone and snap some photos. As a result, I don’t have much photos to keep for memories.

    5. Been doing pilates for some time now so this year I’m going to try to add yoga at least one day in a week just to increase flexibility and inner peace.

    6. Choreograph a workout dance. I don’t dance but lately I’ve been feeling like moving to the beat and I just want to try my hand on that.

    I don’t have 10 items on the list but these are all I got. Thank you guys for always welcoming me back 😛

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Loved your list Pink. My mind snapped on number six……………………..

      ‘I won’t Dance’ Fred Astaire

      “I won’t dance, don’t ask me
      I won’t dance, don’t ask me
      I won’t dance, madame with you
      My heart won’t let my feet do things that they should do

      You know what? You’re lovely
      You know what? You’re so lovely
      And, oh, what you do to me
      I’m like an ocean wave that’s bumped on the shore
      I fell so absolutely stumped on the floor

      When you dance, you’re charming and you’re gentle
      ‘Specially when you do the continental
      But this feeling isn’t purely mental
      For heaven rest us, I am not asbestos

      There’s more. The movie..’Flying Down To Rio’ Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers 1933
      The song and dance, ‘The Continental’, was the longest dance ever filmed in a movie.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Slight correction, wrong Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers move. “The Gay Divorcee” 1934
        The filming on the dance laster seventeen minutes. OOPS!

    2. lionetravail

      Pink, it’s always a bright day when you post 🙂

      Congrats on the yoga and pilates; I do them, and am convinced it’s part of turning back the aging clock. Regarding point 6… great sci fi book you should read: main character is a dancer. Also a telepath, martial artist, etc- “The Last Dancer” by Daniel Keys Moran (has a few books leading up to that one, but that’s the one your 6th resolution called to mind). MC in that did her own workout dances too 🙂

    3. Observer Tim

      A short list but a merry one, Pink. Welcome back; now stick around this time! (That’s about as harsh as I can get intentionally).

      Now for a wee bit of chastising: Every novel is written as if it’s good enough to publish, even when it’s not! If it’s not good enough to publish, it’s called a draft. Sometimes others won’t understand, sometimes even you won’t. It doesn’t matter! Write it! Even if you look back later and decide that the words were manure, remember that roses grow in manure.

      Think of the averages: 90% of people don’t write – you’re in the 10% that do. 90% of people who write don’t do it well – you’re in the 10% of them that do. Half of people who write well don’t share their writing – you do. Simple probabilities indicate that you are in the top half of one percent. Revel in it!

      And then start working to get into the tiny fraction that do get published. Keep going, girl, because you know that you go!

      Personally, I do the occasional tiny bit of Caramelldansen when I’m feeling more energetic than sane. Thank God no pictures have been (or ever will be) taken. So go for it with that choreography, too.


      And by the way, thank you. Your new year post added two self-prompts to my ever growing idea book. Here’s one of them:

      Unselfies: You’ve decided to make a photo-log of your vacation trip by shooting dozens of selfies (pictures of yourself taken with the self-facing camera on a cell phone) all around the tourist destination. At the end of the first day you check your phone and you’re not present in any of the photos you took.

  19. Paint on Parchment

    *This is a fictional piece. These are not my personal resolutions, nor am I writing as myself; I began responding to the prompt and accidentally wrote a short story.*

    New Years Day is fickle. You think you’ll be sipping champagne and gazing wistfully over half-moon spectacles, sighing in between regal smiles and puffs on your antique cigar. The children will gather at your feet, tugging on the hem of your burgundy cloak and begging to hear the stories of your past year. Glistening words will cascade from your lips as you croon, say, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” or similar such majesties.

    Except you know that you will never be the spoken singer here, because you radiate inferiority and they are all pricked by the rays that you emit. If anyone deigns to toss you a sharp-chinned glance, you recoil because you can feel his or her eyes scraping at your own. So you fold into your sapphire turtlenecks and fade into the nearest set of pale curtains. You begin rotating your thumb and forefinger in hypnotic circles and stare at the cores of half-ghost family members. Their auras pulsate with purity and you hate that you feel detachment crusting over you like a souring spider web.

    You tell yourself to shudder free from the detachment. Creaking back to tug a loose fountain pen from behind a lonely wolf mask, you trace the veins in the crevices of your arm to form your decrepit hymns, your New Year’s Resolutions.

    1. You will not dissolve this year. You will not allow your cracks to stretch into separate entities. Next year, you will no longer notice the stretching between your fingers where they strained to collapse.

    2. You will take form. If you notice yourself becoming translucent, you will solidify your blood and throb it so that you can be seen.

    3. You will eat and you will grow. You will ingest more than silence this year. Your diet will include light and you will use the light to encircle your bloated center.

    4. You will stop tumbling. You will fix a board of lead to your tired stumps. You will find balance in the chaos.

    5. You will allow the colors to penetrate your eyes. You will feel them seep back into yourself. And slowly, you will heal.

    1. Observer Tim

      Wow, I never realized Azathoth made New Year’s Resolutions!

      This is a great story, Paint on Parchment. A reminder that although the days are lenthening they are not yet long. The scariest part for me was how much of the monologue resonated in that part of my soul that harbours these sort of thoughts…

      1. Paint on Parchment

        I’m so glad you enjoyed it! And thank you so much for writing such a lovely, thoughtful comment. This is my first post on Writer’s Digest, and I’ve been overjoyed by getting such a positive response.

  20. wendycgiffen

    I don’t make new year resolutions, traditionally I have GOALS I choose for the year ahead. Some are five year goals, others just for that year (e.g. have a baby). If I don’t finish one, no problem, it gets put on the next list and finished the next year. That only happened twice (babies came late :)).
    However, I haven’t ‘goal set’ for the last five years. So this year I have written them out and put them on my calendar on a monthly repeat so I have to review them every month, just to keep me on course!
    Happy New Year!

    1. Observer Tim

      Great idea, Wendy. I generally set resolutions in a context, so the resolution to set goals is wonderfully reflexive.

      I trust you have realized by now that “have a baby” is a goal that keeps on expanding. 🙂 I hope motherhood suits you well.

  21. Azurite

    I think New Year’s Resolutions are those things that I think about a lot on New Year’s Day, and proceed to forget about and remember throughout the year. This time I actually decided–prompted by this post, actually–to write them down in my Evernote. Now admittedly, I have a LOT of stuff written in my Evernote, but there’s something cathartic about the act of actually writing, even if I don’t necessarily stare at what I’ve written every day.

    My motto for 2015 is “No Guts, No Glory,” which is my way of combining one of my dad’s phrases, “You don’t get if you don’t ask” with something like the Nike slogan of “Just Do It.” If you don’t take action (have guts), you won’t know whether or not your fears have any place in reality (people will react badly to my writing, I’ll be rejected, everyone will have forgotten about me since the last time I wrote, and other various fears that I rarely give acknowledgement or voice to, no matter how real they are to me, in the shadows of my mind… a.k.a. You won’t know “glory” or anything even in that spectrum).

    So my list thus far is:
    1. My yearly goal is to complete that one big story I’ve been working on since about 2003.

    2. My monthly goal for January is to start writing another potentially-large story that I’ve been really excited about the past few days. Some might say it’s bad form to start writing something new when you’re still trying to finish something older, but if I’ve been stuck for as long as I have, and now I finally have that motivational spark again…shouldn’t I harness it? Why keep asking questions–why not just “go” and “do”?

    3. My weekly goals from here on out are to write SOMETHING every week–whether it’s fiction or a blog post, or both. And I also mean to write physical letters, too. I have a lot of stationery just going to waste. I think you gain a stronger appreciation for the written word when you don’t have a blank screen, but a page with a limited amount of space and a specific person that letter might be addressed to.

    4. Write at least 750 words a day, whether they’re offline in my journal or online.

    5. Get out of retail for good.

    6. Get digitally organized. I’ve chosen to translate this as: “Stay at inbox zero as best you can.”

    7. Get physically organized. No more tchotchke boxes!

    8. Go to the library more often. Randomly discover new books to read, inhale the aroma of books, and get comfy in some big chair somewhere.

    9. Consider getting a master’s degree… Creative Writing? Library Science?

    10. Do more art. When I don’t write, I like to do all sorts of other art projects, but my art supplies disappeared in the past year, so I’m trying to come up with specific projects in mind as I buy new supplies.

    1. Nicki EagerReader

      Go for it, go for it, go for it (in reference to 3)! I have come to believe that some stories are like water reservoirs that fill up slowly over time and with experience while others are mere trickles in a gully that swell suddenly into roaring rivers. Former resist the suction of time but latter disappear as quickly as they appear. So be gutsy and let yourself be swept off your feet by the current! (My opinion at least- speaking as someone who has this big story from 2004 still humming and twiddling its thumbs in her subconsciousness 😉 )

  22. jmcody

    So it looks like I survived 2014 with all its drama and crises, besieged hearts (literally) and broken bones, frayed nerves and shattered illusions. Never mind that I am sitting at home nursing yet another so called “stress-related illness” while everyone else is out partying… It’s a fitting end to what was, in truth, a bruising, battering, punishing year.

    But it was also the year I found this forum, and the year I found – or finally acknowledged — the thing within myself that I had never dared to admit or trust. I don’t think I need to explain because it’s the same thing that brings you all here week after week – the thing that makes you need to tell your stories, to express your truth, to put words to the music and rhythm of life, and in so doing, to get a little closer to discovering its meaning. Looking back on it, I think this was also the thing that kept me afloat in some very turbulent waters this year.

    In these quiet early moments of the brand new year, I won’t burden you with my to-do list (which mostly has to do with finding a better way to live because the status quo just might kill me). Instead, I would like to offer up the following wish for all of you, my wonderful, brilliant, talented, supportive, inspiring Writers Digest friends. It’s not original, but heartfelt nonetheless:

    “May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” — Neil Gaiman

    Happy New Year!

    1. Nicki EagerReader

      Thanks a lot, jmcody! May all your wonderful wishes return to you! hope the rapids lie behind you and 2015 carries you into more tranquil waters. Happy New Year.

      1. jmcody

        Amen to that, Nicki. Thanks for your always insightful commentary on this board. I read your mini-memoir below and was blown away by it. (Sorry I haven’t gotten around to commenting yet — holiday fatigue…) It inspired me to want to move beyond the 500 word format here and write about things like that ginger-haired woman. Those are the real stories of life and the ones that are begging to be told. I say go for it. 🙂

        1. Nicki EagerReader

          Thanks for reading! Believe me, I cherish your feedback just as much as you seem to cherish mine ( 🙂 ), though one of my writing goals for this forum is actually to once, just once, stay BELOW the 500 word limit… 😉

    2. Kerry Charlton

      Happy New Year Jm. My wish is your travels through life this year will be softer and kinder to you. I think I can express the thoughts of writers on this forum as to the thrill and the challenge offered on this forum. I have always known, if you want to learn how to swim, swim with the big fish. So I’m giving you a nickname for the New Year and it implies nothing about physical size. Therefore, I crown you ‘Ms. Big Fish’ and hope it sticks.

      1. jmcody

        Well, I am tallish but…


        Coming from the possibly biggest fish of all, that is quite a compliment and I am delighted to be sharing the pond with someone of your Piscean stature! Kerry, this place would not be the same without your wit and wisdom, and the encouragement that you give so generously each week. I hope you know the positive influence that you have had on so many here. I am looking forward to many more Kerry stories and the perspective, color and flavor that only you can bring.

    3. Bilbo Baggins

      Very nice. Happy New Year to you as well. Man… it just feels like 2014 shouldn’t be over yet. 🙂 Hope you get well soon and are able to do… whatever it is you do. You’re completely right about the need to tell our stories. I can in no way explain it, but it brought me here, to go completely out of my way to write words for people I don’t know. Why again? 🙂 I guess that’s just how writers work. Cheers and GH.

      1. jmcody

        Ughh…. good riddance to 2014. But yes, it did seem to go by quickly. It was last February when I joined this forum and started writing fiction for the first time in my middle aged life. I only wish I had given myself the chance when I was your age, but I was lacking in confidence and inspiration. You, my friend, are a marvel, and I can’t wait to see who you turn out to be, because you are most definitely going to be somebody, mark my words.

    4. cosivantutte

      Hey, jm! It’s good to hear from you again. Thank you so much for the awesome wish. Here are my New Year wishes for you:

      May the new year bring you health, happiness, and awesome crazy joy.
      May you always find one small reason to rejoice every day.
      May you always trust that thing inside you that tells you that you have worthwhile stories to tell.
      May you embrace every opportunity to tell them.
      May the new year brings prompts that are as bizarrely inspiring as this past year’s prompts have been. (And who knows? Maybe Edwin and RDJ may pop up again. 😀 )

      1. jmcody

        Hey Cosi! Thanks for all the laughs you brought me this year! But your writing is not just funny — it is smart, lively, interesting and effortless to read. (Sometimes you put me in mind of Tina Fey.) I think we kind of bonded over the Edwinalia but found some other commonalities too. Anyway, you’re a nice person on top of all that other good stuff.

        And speaking of Edwinalia, I did read and enjoy the Edwin shenanigans a couple of weeks ago, but I was pretty sick with the flu and did not have the energy to respond (got hit with the flu three days after hubby’s latest surgery… one of the many reasons I am so done with 2014.) I knew Edwin would find himself back in some shadowy back alleys. He just can’t help himself. But I think he is going to write a sizzling tell-all memoir at some point and finally achieve his dream of being an author. I also think Edwin might meet someone who will out-Edwin him. 🙂

        So many good things in store for 2015! Thanks for all the good wishes and positive thoughts.

        1. cosivantutte

          Aww! Thank you for the compliments. 🙂

          It’s funny. This time last year I had no idea that I would write so many stories featuring Robert Downey Jr. and his scheming lackey. All of your contributions to the saga have made me laugh out loud. I look forward to more shared stories with you.

          I’m sorry that you and your husband have had your share of health issues. I hope he has an excellent recovery.

          By the way, did you get a chance to read Edwin’s backstory in the “Nosy Elf on the Shelf” prompt? If so, how did you like it?

          1. jmcody

            Wow, I must have missed that in the Christmas bedlam. Just read it now and it was like getting another Christmas present. That was absolutely brilliant — both in how you created this fittingly loopy backstory and in your characterization of RDJ on the edge. I did not know that the biscotti and cannoli were to ward off other cravings, but yeah, it makes perfect sense. RDJ’s panic was darkly hilarious, which feels so wrong and yet so right. 😉 The alpacas in Afghanistan hit me square in the funny bone because my husband and I joke all the time about chucking it all and raising alpacas. Just not in Afghanistan.

            Thanks for this awesome Christmas gift. I am still laughing. Can’t wait to read your long story, and then your novel. And I think there may be a job waiting for you as an SNL writer or something like that.

    5. Critique

      Jmcody, I think you expressed the feelings that many of us feel about each other and about this amazing blog. Thank you for that ::
      May 2015 bring you smoother sailing, health and success in the New Year

      1. jmcody

        Right back at you, David. You have been a huge inspiration to me. You’re also one of the big fish in this pond, and I’m pretty sure you’re headed for open waters. It has been a pleasure to see you grow and succeed as a writer so much this year.

        Ok, here’s one writing resolution — this year I am going to give you something of mine to critique! Uh oh, now I’m on the hook…

        1. rle

          JMC, I can’t tell you what a pleasure it has been to read your work over the last ten months. We’re a lot the same, you and I. The biggest difference I see though, is that I sometimes struggle with these prompts but you seem to do it effortlessly, week in and week out. For someone who has never written fiction, your work is amazing.

          I know that life often seems to get in the way of the things we want to pursue but you simply can’t stop now, you’re too invested. I look forward to your posts each week and can’t wait to see what the new year brings for you.

          Take care of your family and yourself first, but don’t give up the dream. You have a lot to say and we want to hear it. Happy New Year!

          1. jmcody

            Hey, RLE! Yes, we both have young children and jobs that force us to choose between providing for them and being with them. I was lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mother for a while, which makes this especially torturous. Every day I think of all the things I should be doing for them but can’t. Taking time to write feels like stealing from the family, which is why I won’t make any writing resolutions. Feels like a crime. Even now my daughter is begging for my attention and I am going to sign off as soon as I am done with this response.

            Let me know if you figure out how to work it, and I’ll do the same.

            My one bright spot (in terms of writing) is my three hour daily commute. It’s the only time I call my own — when work doesn’t intrude on it, which it often does. Still, I’ll keep that at least partially reserved for writing, and hope for the best.

            And just so you know, I often struggle with the prompts. Usually my first idea is terrible, and it takes me a few days to process it into something I think is worth writing. I’m envious of the folks on this board who seem to be able to pull flash fiction out of thin air. Come to think of it, you and I usually post around the same time, so I’m guessing your process is similar, and the type of stories we like to write are similar too.

            Happy New Year to you too, and thanks for being a friendly, supportive presence on this forum. Likewise, I am looking forward to reading lots more of your writing.

    6. Observer Tim

      Sometimes the greatest achievement is to keep on going. I know the feeling about “stress-related illness” – I (usually) write to turn over the coin and take a little time in the sun. New Years’, when we’re called upon to think back, can be the hardest part. If the call is ‘good riddance to 2014’ so be it, but even when all about is dirt a seed can be planted. You have and will always have my welcome for the part you play in the life of this community.

      Good luck in 2015 and God bless.

  23. Nicki EagerReader

    OK, this is an obscenely bloated rampage in response to a very straight forward request for a ten-point list. I really hesitated before posting because I’m probably committing the virtual equivalent of littering, but then again I trust you all to be perfectly capable of scrolling past the post if you wish to remove this worded blemish from your screens. And if you’re feeling really charitable, you might even read it… 😉 .

    Hope you’ve had wonderful holidays and enjoy New Year however you chose to spend it!

    P.S.: Great prompts the last two weeks, everyone! Sorry I didn’t get round to comment as much as I read.

    New Year Essay (totally misses the point of the prompt, but heck)

    New Year Resolutions. They creep up every 365 days anew, when humans decide to wipe the slate and treat themselves to a fresh start. It is an arbitrary date and exists only in the minds of men, who finger for the pulse of the universe and believe they have found it in the revolution of hours and days, weeks, months and years. I am not above this instinct myself, this frenzied scrabbling for a pattern, but for some reason my year doesn’t begin a week after Christmas, when the days regain traction over the nights. My new year begins in the prime of autumn, when the valleys turn into kettles of sunshine and light reflects from every still surface and amber leaf- no idea why; it has always been this way for me. I don’t mark the beginning of this new cycle of seasons with a ceremony either as the date fluctuates from year to year, announcing itself so suddenly as a shape in the clouds and a scent in the sunlight that I never really get around to forming resolutions.
    So instead of writing lengthy lists in the hours between taking down the old calender and hanging up the new one, I adjust my life from day to day throughout the year as I jog along- it is easy to keep on course as long as the winds change but little. And when a storm takes you by surprise you rarely have the luxury to wait for the communal dry-docking of existences at the end of December before trimming the rig and repairing the mast.
    Nevertheless… while I don’t have any resolutions for the coming year especially, I do have ideas. New coordinates, if you wish, to keep me on the course of fulfillment, whatever that may be. And if you are willing to bear with me, I will entrust you with some of my intentions for a future that cannot be foreseen…

    I wish to give more of myself and what I have to the world around me. In the plain pecuniary sense this boils down to money. Although students are supposed to watch their finances -there is need- I can count myself lucky that so far I never needed to worry how to fill my fridge. My parents, I feel, provide well for me, which is probably one of the reasons why I am so very keen to keep out of the red.
    Yet the paradox of spending and scrimping was driven home to me when I stepped from the store one weekend in December and found myself face to face with the man in the wheelchair asking for money. People parted around him like a river around a rock, impervious to his request, and I drifted with them like a bubble on the surface.
    I am aware of my buttery soft spot for anyone in real or perceived need, and I cannot go into town without sparing a Euro for the street musicians or the bedraggled individual that first stirs guilt in me. The usual conflict of arguments flushed through my mind -give a man a fishing rod, not a fish; is he really in need of money or is he out to fleece me?- before I turned on my heels and dropped a two Euro piece, the only coin left in my wallet, into the man’s can. He beamed and wished me a Merry Christmas, and I returned his wishes and got on my way again.
    How do you think I felt as I walked down the light-framed streets, past the colorful booths selling Christmas cheer, and through the wafts of sugar and almonds? Elated and spirited? Magnanimous and warm?
    No. I felt more wretched than ever. Because I wrestled with myself before I gave that man a trifle of money but spent five times the amount on paper and pencils without second thought. Because I dithered whether to give away two Euros.
    Two Euros- the amount I easily spend on a sandwich, or a piece of cheese cake, or a cup of tea with a bun. Without hesitation. Without agonizing. There are a myriad of ways to help those in need of it -soup kitchens, medical services, retraining- but I won’t resolve to engage in one of those charitable organizations. Because that is not what I do. I am the person who says hello to the beggars, smiles, and gives them some change. Only that needs to come from somewhere, too.
    This is where the metaphysical aspect of “sharing myself” becomes not only plan of action but solution, too. For instead of buying cake and coffee I will bake and brew them myself, and when I do, I will invite my friends over to enjoy them with me. I am not spontaneous enough and often too formal in my invitations, but if they are true friends, they will forgive me if the bathroom doesn’t gleam and the dust bunnies multiply underneath my desk. They will not mind that my bed isn’t made and the space around my table is tight. I will not be ashamed that I cannot offer them the hospitality I think they deserve. We’ll just call it cosy.
    And then the money I didn’t splurged on a lonely lunch will buy someone else’s.

    What other course corrections await me? I finally want to pluck up my courage and talk to the Homeless Folk. Their faces are as familiar to me as that of the lady in the bakery and the man in the tea shop. Winter has driven them off the streets, but as soon as springtime rises they will bud from their hidden corners, and their small islands of life, their blankets, bags, and belongings, will bloom along the ever same house walls. They are not like the other people asking for money. They belong neither to the people who sell their street papers, nor to the professional ring of crippled beggars. They are- a different people, and I already know to which one of them I intend to speak: Gingerhair Woman.
    Her huge dog rests on her blanket beside her and piercings stud her nose and lips, but one day when I dropped some change in her bowl she looked directly at me and her eyes were soft, so soft and shining and innocent. More so she was reading, a book that looked cared for but ragged from use, and it was then that I decided I had to talk to her. I still regret that my nerves let me down, that I skidded past an opening phrase, and rushed off in embarrassment. And while I still don’t know how to approach her, how to engage her in conversation, I know this for sure: I will ask her which of Grimm’s tales in her love-tattered book is her favorite.

    And otherwise… I intend to do pretty much do the same I have been doing the past weeks and months. Only from now on I want to feel good about it. No longer will I compare my life to that of other’s and fear I am missing out on something. The world is abundant with marvelous facets and flavours and fancies, and I will have to accept that “there is more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done”. Where I forfeit one popular activity, I will be engrossed in one that others will never savor. Where some people while away every evening in pubs with friends from this world, I prefer to spend mine in the company of kindred spirits that I can only reach through the telepathy of stories. Oh, I love my friends from this reality, and I cherish their company, but I need to devote time to writing and words, to fantasies and fiction. Sound boxes may beat the rhythm of some people’s heart, but my life is replenished in the flow of syllables as they pulse across screen and paper. It is time I pursued boldly what fills me with bliss- and kept in mind that one doesn’t fit all.

    These are idle thoughts running rampant, notions shifting and crushing like surf on the beach, an ever-changing coastline. I may set out with a direction but the turns I take are dictated by chaos, chance, and whim. As the waves reshape my path with every minute, I have but the distant lighthouses of my secret dreams and ambitions to guide me, and even as I progress, challenges and victories are washed into my path that I never fathomed- a story never imagined, a sport never considered, a friend never suspected, a courage never expected.
    So I arrive where I started once I transversed the circumference of the oceans and find that every year, every minute, every fraction of moment I have but one true resolution: to make the best of life for everyone.

    Thanks to all of you for sharing the best of yourselves in his foruevery week. Happy New Year.

    1. Hiba Gardezi

      Happy New Year Nicki! This was so … i don’t even know what.
      You’re writing is very poetic. It’s touching…not just the skill with which you’ve weaved the words but the content. It’s beautiful. You should go and talk to that woman. We all should talk to the needy, make them feel special and share with them. You are very talented.
      Use this talent.

      1. Nicki EagerReader

        Thanks, Hiba, thanks a lot. I’ll definitely recount Gingerhair Woman’s story here if she choses to share it with me. As for the post’s style: that’s what happens when you spend the week between Christmas and New Year listening to Sir Christopher Lee reading Agatha Christie 😉

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Nicki, I loved your release of your thoughts about life. I always wanted to write. My Mother wrote a weekly column for the Coral Gables Times in South Florida. Seven or eight years worth. I thought it interesting she would do this and read each one like a good son is supposed to do.

          Her Mother and Father took her out of high school while she was in the tenth grade. It was not uncommon for the times. But she self taught herself whatever she wished to learn, could out spell anyone in the family, especially Dad who had a priviledged education.

          Fast forward about thirty years. I decided to write. Lord, what a mess I made of it. I reread all her columns and realized how little I knew despite many years of business experience. So, now I’m starting my seventh year at it. Took a correspondence course. First words out of the journalist’s mouth, “Write to please yourself.” She was my age and had forty some years of journalism experience.

          What little I know, she taught me. The fotum has been a great experience for me and writers such as yourself, and JM above your post, show me how much further I can go. So God Bless and Happy New Year Even if it ia a mere date on the calender of life.

    2. lionetravail

      Nicki- trust me, you’re a wonderful addition to this virtual world, and I love everything you’ve shared, here and earlier. Thanks for all the great comments as well, and wish you the best, and all success, in this coming year. 🙂

      1. Nicki EagerReader

        Thanks a lot, lionetravail. I’ll try to share more from now on, though I doubt I’ll ever attain in quality and quantity what you bestow on us every week- you certainly are an inspiration. So to another happy year in the WD World!

    3. Observer Tim

      Very very nicely written, Nicki. Yours is precisely the the sort of rant we need to hear at the time when we are most susceptible (i.e. now).

      I live at a different point; I see that each place we stand on the turning wheel of time is a new beginning, a new world. I mark the day the civil year changes over (January 1), plus the day of the wind-down to destruction of my God on earth (Ash Wednesday), the day celebrating the renewal of mankind (Advent Sunday), the day of remembrance of those who have left us (All Souls) and, most importantly to me, the day I stepped off the planet (July 23) if only for a few minutes. But when every day is a day of import, is any day? Yes.

      I certainly see the lives of those we call less fortunate (for they are), but I also see those who are physically provided for but spiritually emptied. Some drift like automata through the world and look no further than their own concerns: those are the ones I pity; they carry in them a hollowness that will one day cause them to thin out and simply disappear, unloved and unlamented.

      If our lives are measured by one who bears no favouritism (and I truly believe they are), we are not defined by those we choose to care for but by the manner in which we do.

      Pax, amore, filios. Happy New Year.

  24. FoodFrenzy

    “Make a New Year’s resolution list…” I could have damaged my computer with a high-powered spit-take if I didn’t swallow my water the second before my mind fully processed those words. In truth, I have never made a New Year’s resolution. If I can’t (remember to) give up something for the 40 days of Lent, then how can I carry out a resolution for 365 days? I’ll take a shot in the dark anyway. Ladies and gentlemen, it is as follows:

    1. Perfection can kill, so strive for excellence.
    2. Try to stress less so my hair doesn’t fall out and/or go completely gray.
    3. If not to publish, then for fun. Don’t waster the imagination, and pick up that pencil.
    4. Clean my room… or, at the very least, wipe off the dust. Yes, a messy room is a sign of a mind at work, but do not allow all that dust to become sentient.
    5. “CONSTANT VIGILANCE!” Mad-Eye Mood once screamed. I have epilepsy. Eat, sleep, drink water, exercise self-discipline, and physically exercise to stay healthy and out of the hospital.
    6. Clean up my grammar. If I ever wish to write anything in the future (to be taken seriously), then I must start with the present.
    7. Continue to get good grades. I am a master degree student and doing well in my courses. Do not become complacent.
    8. Find more good books to read. I’m a “Booksniffer.” The better the book, the better the smell, and I NEED to find more good books to read. (Anyone out there have suggestions?)
    9. Spend less time on the computer. The screen can agitate my nervous system sometimes. I should be more aware of how long I use it.
    10. Try my best to remember and to do all of what I typed for this list. Writing it was actually fun, and it looks pretty handy!

    1. Nicki EagerReader

      Ok, let’s circle 3 in red… and 4 (definitely 4)… 9 ditto… and I am SO glad I’m not the only creep who hangs around bookshops in order to stick her nose between the covers and inhale lustfully 😉 people give you strane looks, even if you wipe your nose beforehand. Thumbs up for how you’re handling your epilepsy! Have a good start into the new year!

    2. lionetravail

      Very good, achievable resolutions 🙂 Hope to see more writing from you!

      I read like crazy, though tastes drastically differ. I think you can learn from every genre if you intend to write, and that leads to a great corollary to the writing advice to ‘write outside your comfort zone”: read outside it as well. Here are a couple of amazing writers and their books that offer, perhaps, something unique to us aspiring writers:

      Robert B. Parker- the entire ‘Spenser’ modern day detective series. If there’s anyone who does better economical dialogue and repartee, I haven’t met them yet.

      Stephen King- The Gunslinger Series (starting with the Gunslinger)…. a 7 book epic (so talk about keeping a story going) which has one of the best opening lines (IMHO): “The man in black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed.”

      William Gibson- “invented/pioneered” not just one genre, but two: Cyberpunk and Steampunk.(okay, KW Jeter first coined the term Steampunk). Start with “Neuromancer” and roll with every, single, thing he’s written.

      Charles Stross- incredible writing, humor, fun in sci fi and supernatural horror. Pretty much again, everything he’s written.

      And so, so many others: Garth Nix, Stephen Baxter, Joe Haldeman…

    3. Observer Tim

      Very achievable, FoodFrenzy, though I find it interesting that #6 also applies if you want to be taken unseriously. I think it may just be about being taken, or about taking your readers (who so justly deserve it).

      Regarding #8, I’m a little behind the times, but I can recommend The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman (excellent take on children’s stories, British folklore, and the mind of Asperger’s syndrome. And I will always recommend The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells, just because it’s my favourite novel ever. Every time I read it I see more depth.

  25. rle

    I don’t usually make New Years resolutions. I find that generally, by not setting lofty goals, I avoid a lot of disappointment when I don’t stick to them or see them to fruition. If I were the kind of guy who made resolutions though, they’d probably go a little something like this:

    1) Continue to be an honorable and supportive father and husband. Try to teach my daughters enough of the right things to bolster their chances at success in life. Support them in their endeavors. Got to their soccer games, band concerts, dance recitals, plays, etc. Always remember to them I love them each day, even on the days I don’t like them very much. Argue less with my wife, even when I know I’m right. Thank her more often for healthy meals, clean clothes, a tidy home, and for putting up with my nonsense. Tell her I love her more often and don’t just assume she knows it.

    2) Continue to develop and outline my first novel. I’ve been dipping my toe in that pool for quite some time now and feel I’m nearly ready to jump in with both feet.

    3) Swear less.

    4) Go to church more.

    5) Since I’m no longer a spring chicken, I need to focus on working smarter and not harder. My body shouldn’t always hurt.

    6) Comment more on stories posted to this forum. I read most of the posts each week but find myself commenting on very few. I always think I’ll get back to it but seldom do. You guys deserve better from me and I need to make this a priority.

    7) Spend at least one hour per day reading or writing. These are my two happy places and I should visit them more often.

    8) Don’t be afraid to write things that are out of my comfort zone. I’ve done this a handful of times over the last year and was pleasantly surprised with the results.

    9) Don’t sweat the small stuff, or, keep sweating the small stuff and know that all that worrying won’t do me a damn bit of good. Either way, I need to lighten up.

    10) Live each day as though it were my last, because it may very well be. Far too many people go through this life thinking that it owes the m something, but it doesn’t. Sometimes I get caught up in the stress of everyday life(see #9) that I forget to cherish my existence on this earth for the gift that it is. Each day I need to remind myself what a blessed and lucky man I am.

    So there it is, my little theoretical list of resolutions. As I said before, I don’t make resolutions per se’ , but these seem to be some pretty good ones to live by.

    I wish you all a prosperous and happy New Year and may your ink well never run dry.


    1. Kerry Charlton

      I doubt that anyone could set out better goals to have them substain a man’s efforts. I look back on so many things I didn’t do for my daughters, it has been difficult to forgive myself. But when I’m surrounded by them like I was at Christmas, maybe I was too hard on myself. One thing I admise so much about your writing is the conciseness in it Nimber 7 is most important in life. Because if we don’t nursish our own lives, how can we help others.

      “Argue less with my wife, even though I know I’m right,” has taken it’s toll on any man. One thing that God did, when he created man and woman, was a small practical joke. He made woman stronger, more patient and more intelligent than man. Guys don’t beat up on me, it just so happens to be reality. Great response rle.

      1. Nicki EagerReader

        Is your wife a forum member or are you trying to curry favor with the female writers? Whatever the answer, I’ll just take the “stronger, more patient, and more intelligent” and make a run. 😉

    2. Nicki EagerReader

      I AM among kindred spirits, as Anne of Green Gables would say. Resolutions aren’t my cup of tea either. But I very much second 1 and 10, and if I had a list 2, 7, and 9 would be on it (and I fear I’ve nearly reached the point where I should consider adding 3). Keep going with your novel! I’ve got a story in my head, too, it’s been haunting me for nearly TEN years now, but now I finally seem to reached the point where the tangle of plot and characters and emotions become a pattern that I can copy onto paper- so you go for it! And enjoy!

      1. rle

        David, I knew the ‘Sunscreen speech’ was where you were going as soon as I saw the link. I first heard it about 15 years ago and thought at the time it was one of the most profound and inspirational things I’d ever heard. My #9 is based on one of the lines actually. I quote parts of this to my daughters all the time. I think this speech holds a lot of truth for most of us.

    3. Observer Tim

      Great list, rle. Might I add

      “Don’t let my view of myself be determined by a list written up to 364.25 days ago.” It’s part of #9. 😉

      P.S. I hope it was advertent; you used one of my favourite poetic constructs in #1. “Remember to them I love them…” 🙂

  26. Reaper

    I hate new years resolutions. I’m one of those folks that believes they fail because if you’re going to change your life then do it. Don’t wait for a significant day, just feel what is triggering the change and ride it. So much that this is the one prompt I skipped last year after I discovered this site. With that said I don’t mind goals. So in order to participate I am reminding myself these are goals and not resolutions. They are all writing or writing adjacent for me.

    1. Find a job I love, that pays well, that will support my writing not suck the joy from it.
    2. Finish the first year of stories for the comic I am working on then harass my artist to catch the hell up.
    3. Finish Editing the current novel and try to get it traditionally published.
    4. Write and publish (either method) two novels this year.
    5. Finish up those two short story books and publish them (these don’t count for goal four).
    6. Start going on your artist dates. If you haven’t read the Artist’s Way you should, if you have you’ll understand.
    7. Stop procrastinating when it comes to writing, too many excuses kill days of productivity.
    8. Be more honest, open, and political in social media. You are not for everyone so stop trying to be.
    9. Cease fearing success.
    10. Make more time for deeper comments on this forum.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      What a powerhouse of a list. I would like to comment on #8. One thing I have found that helps here. You must be true to yourself first. Treat all people from all walks of life, in an identical fashion. Those people that accept you as you are, embrace. Those who do not, ignore. I found out there is no way to please all, so I quit trying. It brought amazing results. I’m still here!

    2. lionetravail

      I am so with you on the intro to your list, Reaper, so I’m more just commenting on everyone else’s and wishing each a happy and healthy new year wishes 🙂

    3. jmcody

      You certainly are clear and consistent about your goals which is a very good thing. This is a powerful and ambitious list, but not much is different from what I’ve been hearing you say since I’ve known you. You know who you are and what you want. I hope all the obstacles are finally removed this year.

      Good luck with #8. I know you will find a way to speak your truth in way that touches and inspires. There is too much anger in the world today fueled by intolerance of others’ opinions. I hope your words are a source of inspiration and expansion rather than division.

      I know 2015 is going to be your year Reaper. One thing for certain is that change always happens, sooner or later.

      1. rle

        Reaper, all I can say is this: Ever since I started writing here, you have been a rock for me. I wasn’t sure I could still do this(I haven’t written in twenty years) and I wasn’t sure I even wanted to. Thanks to the encouragement from you and a few others, it quickly became clear that, this is what I was destined to do. For that my friend, I am eternally grateful.

        Although your preferred genre is admittedly not one of my personal favorites, you always seem to pull something out of your hat that is unbelievable. Whatever you do, never give up. You have something to say that people want to hear. I know in my heart, you have a bestseller in that head of yours somewhere, hell, I think maybe we all do.

        I’m also sorry to admit that I have yet to read Old Odd Ends. I hope to do so yet this winter as long as you promise me it won’t damage me for life. Happy New Year Reaper and as I said somewhere else this week, may your ink well never run dry.

    4. Observer Tim

      Great list, Reaper. I’m not entirely sure about #8, solely because I don’t believe I have to have an opinion just because society (the political part) wants me to. It gets me in trouble sometimes, but I guess that’s part of the grandeur of being human.

  27. Kerry Charlton

    2015 New Year’s Resolutions

    I did lists like this in high school. What century was it? Yes, I remember now, the reign of ‘Bumper Bullets, Crinolines and Chrome’. Girls were ‘free range’ then, lending themselves to no more than hand holding on first dates. The year I spent at Cotillion at the Coral Gables Library, taught me how to dance. White gloves the girls wore, we danced a comfortable twelve inches apart, learning to waltz, cha cha, tango and box step. How old was I then, fourteen? We were one girl short and guess who spent most of the class being led by my dance teacher who was older then my Mother?

    Our high school was divided into three social classes, ‘I have it all’, ‘I want it all’ and ‘I don’t give a hoot’. I’m proud to say, I was in the ‘hoot’ class. When I entered high school, my intentions were certainly honorable. They had been carefully laid out by me. Watch the the girls go by, check redheads first, blondes second and brunettes third. Fourth on my list was arm-hole-peeping.

    I will admit, I wasn’t proud of number four but I was good at it. Number five amounted to surviving ‘East the Beast’. She was head of the math department, instilling the holy fear in me in Algebra class. I guess I would label number six as sophomore football. “Two a day’ practice in August in South Florida, reminded me of what hell must be like. I made quite a record for myself, voted the most likely not to succeed in sports.

    Number seven as a junior was ‘going steady’. Second dates were rare and the dream faded in memory. Eight became learning to sail. Luckily, Jim had his own sailboat. Double dates became easy then except when I captized Jim’s boat in the sea channel. However number nine, capturing a willing female became an obsession. As a senior, I set my plan, not at high school but on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach.

    We’d cruise up and down the street, whistling at girls. Amazingly, we caught two Chicago secretaries on vacation. We invited them to sail the next day. They readily agreed, I imagine they were thinking, ‘Yacht’. Taking one look at Jim’s sixteen foot sailboat, they refused to go and we drove them back to their hotel. And that’s when I settled on number ten, ‘Great Expectations’ were a pipe dream.

    P. S, What was the prompt about? Sorry for the detour.

    1. Learn how to touch reader’s hearts.

    2. Never act my age.

    3. Write with more percision

    4. Let beautiful and not so beautiful womrn hold doors for me and smile, Thank You.

    5. Fine tune my novella, ‘A Journey In Terror’ and get it published.

    6. Never forget those in need and do something about it.

    7. Greet Celeste with a kiss each morning.

    8. Realize how fortunate I am to write on this forum.

    9. Remember always, He is with me.

    10. Happy New Year to all of you.

    1. Bilbo Baggins

      Your ‘introduction’ was more entertaining than the resolutions, Kerry. Especially liked the part about the two secretaries and the small boat. Reminds me of my grandpa’s stories he always tells. He went to Alaska to work on the oil pipeline in the 70s, and he said in winter it got to thirty below and all the other engineers had to stay in work shacks or they’d freeze to death. My favorite is #2. Sometimes all I want to do is act immature and spend the whole day on games, but I have to remind myself, “Hey, that chapter really needs finishing… so do it!” 🙂 It’s been a great year, yes.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Bilbo. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’m centainly used to being a grandfather, having 14 grand children. If you’re writing as you do at fifteen, think where you’ll be at eighteen. Keep up the great writing, I really enjoy reading you.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you jhowe. As one arm hole peeper to another, it’s a fun pastime, if you don’t get caught in the process. Keep writing, I love your stories.

        1. Nicki EagerReader

          It’s a little like cleavages, isn’t it? Or butt cracks- the entire cut of the clothes invites the eye to trace the lines down to the skin they enshrine. It all comes down to how our brain organizes visual input- I can’t help peeping myself and, believe me, I’m REALLY not into boob… (though I wouldn’t say no to a glimpse of pecs 😉 ).

          1. Kerry Charlton

            Thank you Nicki. I’ll answer both responses. About women, the reason I know is six daughters and eleven grandaughters. Plus of course , my rehead wife. That makes eighteen of the female variety. I’m totally amazed by all of them. When I’m write about my past, it’s more fun to lay it out as it was. No rock star was I. But I’ll tell you thing, I intend to be the last man standing.

    2. Nicki EagerReader

      Second the others- your introduction was a beautiful romp through ages past and recounted with delightful honesty! Those are the days my dad gets all nostalgic about although he never even experienced them…

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Nikki. I had a much longer story, ‘Bumper Bullets, Crinolines and Chrome’, published about two years ago. It was so much fun writing, I wrote a sequel, “Pride Of The Crimson And Grey’. Both about high school days.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you, Critique. You know, I get hammered eyerytime I see a new post from you and jump into your words each week with high anticipation. .

        1. rle

          Kerry, you remind me so much of an old friend I once had. Your flair for nostalgic stories always astounds me and almost every time I read your work, I’m reminded of my friend John and how he always used to tell the same kinds of stories. John was nearly forty years my senior, but I considered him one of my best friends. He’s been gone for nearly ten years now but I often still find myself thinking about some of the stories he used to tell. I didn’t realize until just now how much I miss him.

          I’m looking forward to another year of great stories from you. Happy New Year and God bless!

          1. Kerry Charlton

            I’m glad my little reminise brought your friend back into focus. I also had a close friend in Dallas, the age of my father. He was an Army Air Corp Captain and flew 33 missions over Germany in WWII. Shot down on the 33rd and spent fourteen months in a Stalag.

            What a self-depreciating character he was. I also have a lot of fond memories. Thank you for you kind thoughts and I’d like to send them right back to you. Let’s look forward to a great year ahead.

    3. jmcody

      This one really had me smiling, Kerry. I love the nostalgia combined with just the right amount of good natured, tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation. You remind me of a Gene Shepherd (“A Christmas Story”) type of writer — only naughtier.

      Where can I read “Bumper Bullets, Crinolines and Chrome?” And when are you going to get a website or blog so we can read more of your work?

      You are indeed a fortunate man. I know life has not always been easy and you’ve had your share of tragedy, but your resolutions (especially numbers 6 through 9) show that you have managed to retain your love of life and gratitude for all that you have. This is very inspiring to me. Thank you for continuing to share you experiences, wisdom and encouragement so openly. And Happy New Year to you too!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Gee whiz, to be compared to Gene Shepherd’s ‘A Christmas Story’ type of writer is something I will always cherish from you. “Bumper Bullets” was published in the December issue of The Storyteller Magazine. I’d be more than happy to send the story to you. I know I need a blog or website, make that resolution # 11. My email is Happy New Year to you also.

    4. Observer Tim

      Can I co-opt your resolutions, Kerry? Except maybe #7, because I sense Celeste wouldn’t want that. 🙂

      As I always expect, you write to us from the depths of time with a sense of wonder that brings back younger days. So many times, all I can think of as I drift back to the 21st century is “What a long, strange trip it’s been.” (with apologies to the Grateful Dead). 🙂 🙂 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Tim. You are “The Rock’ on this forum. I can’t wait for the dark days of winter to end. But in San Antonio, spring starts early. I think most of us are sick and tired of the cold and wet. The rain and drizzle lasted seven days before we saw the sun yesterday. Indeed it has been a long trip through the twentieth century , but not as long as the nineteenth. Abe and I used to play checkers to relieve the stress.

    5. lionetravail

      I would love to imagine that #3, to write with more PERCISION was a wonderful pun 🙂

      Kerry, you are very much the soul of gentlemanly grace, and you bring such wonderful enthusiasm in your comments as well as your writing. All the best wishes for the coming year, and may your life take you on turns to the good each time.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you David for your very kind words. I do want to ask you one question. How on earth do you find the time to do all you do? I know genius is part of it but please tell us your secret. I hope we take the hike in sync. I

        1. lionetravail

          I’m pretty sure the simple answer is “Excellent Time Management Skills”. In point of fact, I think this little insight should be worming its way into everyone’s resolution list. It doesn’t necessarily mean ‘work harder’ though it definitely incorporates ‘work smarter’, but the challenge is to know you that you can’t always ‘make yourself do something’ and exclude all else.

          Example- you’ve got time to write, but you know you need time to exercise too. How do you manage both? Well, if both are on the to-do list, then you have to make time for both and to know yourself: if you know your impetus will fade over time, get whichever is the tougher thing to do done first. If you hit a break point in one thing, or find the going difficult, shift gears and do something else you need to do. The mental/physical break can bring you back to your first task refreshed.

          Anyway, excellent time management skills to do as many of the things I want/need to do let’s me get a lot done. 🙂

          1. Kerry Charlton

            Thanks David,

            I’m going to print this out, make copies, keep one and pass the others out to our company sub contractors. Those that can read, that is. Thanks for the tip.

  28. turtles87

    Honestly, I can tell you right now that maybe half of these goals will NEVER be fulfilled. But what the heck! Dreaming is what keeps us alive 🙂
    1. En bref, parlez juste le français.

    2. Finish writing all of my books.

    3. Be awesomely insane on an electric guitar like Slash.

    4. Immerse myself in the art of poetry.

    5. When I talk, I must stop hitting people with my hand gestures.

    6. Be a better listener.

    7. Stop staring at the dirty dishes, thinking they’ll clean themselves.

    8. Focus more on dialogue.

    9. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. (Yeah this is for you, number 1!)

    10. “Don’t be greedy, give to the needy!”

          1. Kerry Charlton

            A suggestion on # 5. Have someone tie your hands together behind your back. Quote the Gettesberg Address to a room full of people. If you survive that, you’re in good shape.

          2. turtles87

            Thanks Kerry! I might just try that. Though, if I get too passionate, people will have to look out for my pointy elbows!

    1. Observer Tim

      So what part of Canada are you from, turtles? 🙂 Just kidding, Canada is not the only place where gestures are a part of speech. I practice by holding my right hand in my left wrist and, after only half a century, can do it over two-thirds of the time.

      1. Juste le français, mais pas seulement le français, j’espère. (says the guy with grade-school French).

        1. turtles87

          Oh no, haha, not only french. But some of my stories might have french in it. You have been And that wrist trick, I’ll have to also try. Though, I doubt that will contain my wild gestures. Oh well… who says anybody actually fulfill their resolutions? Am I right? All in all, thanks Tim!

  29. Hiba Gardezi

    1. Finish writing my book
    2. Read the fault in our stars ( yes, yes guys don’t kill me)
    3. Give up the role of the dwarf in my class ( I feel so small)
    4. Lose weight ( I am not gonna socialize with elephants)
    5. Speaking of socializing , I need to stop being such an introvert.
    6. Quit my pathani accent and stop making pointless kawali’s
    7. Start offering the Fajr prayer ( I try Allah , I really do (jk) )
    8. Practice singing high notes ( no one wants to hear explosions… the Taliban have a sufficient supply)
    9. Start being a better person ( lol, not happening…)
    10. Be a better student
    11. minimize my grammatical errors
    12. TRY to post a story every week

    1. jhowe

      I like this. Good luck in keeping at least some of them if not most of them. I’m sure Allah appreciates that you’re trying ( I hear He’s good at that). Allah’s a He, right?

    2. Nicki EagerReader

      I haven’t read the book and I don’t even intend to do so, muahahaha… so I might add your number 9 to my list. High notes are something I can only eye longingly from a lower octave- if ever- so I endorse your plan to train your voice. If I had a singing voice, I’d use it, use it non-stop, so go for it!
      Best wishes for your new year from a fellow introvert.
      P.S.: What’s a kawali?

      1. Hiba Gardezi

        Thankyou ! 🙂
        Kawali’s are these really powerful, enthusiastic songs usually sung in Punjabi or Urdu. I love them really and they are very nice to listen to, but I literally make kawali’s out of anything.
        I can be pretty annoying that way…

    3. jmcody

      Lots of writers are introverts. I think its because we tend to live inside our heads. The world needs thoughtful, insightful introverts too. Can you imagine the din if everyone was an extrovert? I think you can learn to act like an extrovert when you have to, but you will always need your solitude, and there’s nothing wrong with that. (Spoken by a closet introvert who masquerades as an extrovert every day! 🙂 )

      I hope you will come to embrace who you are and use it to your best advantage. And don’t be too hard on yourself — I don’t know much about Allah, but if He’s anything like the God I pray to, He appreciates that you’re trying hard and doing your best.

      Thanks for always being such a warm, positive and giving presence on this board!

    4. Observer Tim

      And an addition for an ignorant westerner;

      13. Write a story that subtly (and maybe with some humour) explains what a pathani accent is, and what a kawali is. They sound fascinating from the opposite end of the globe. [I live about 180° of longitude away from you!].

      1. Hiba Gardezi

        Sure, I’ll try doing that sometime 🙂
        In brief… Kawalis are really fast songs usually sung about God in the subcontinent( it’s not a bad thing but the kaawali’s I make tend to irritate people…all the more reason for me to love them) and a Pathani accent is the accent of people living in Peshawar( a province of Pakistan.)

    5. lionetravail

      So much fun, Hiba- wishing you only the best, and I’m so glad you’ve joined the community here; you bring something special with your infectious enthusiasm and positive nature. Never lose that! Look forward to seeing more from you each week 🙂

  30. Eimaan Gardezi

    1. Keep my O level grades up ,Pak Studies please don’t kill me .
    2. Improve my writing skills.
    3. Complete my reading lists; did Dada Jaan have to give me such political books to read?
    4. Have mercy on art teacher’s eyes , I need to paint better.
    5. Start exercising, need to beat Perseverance (opposing Sports Team) on the Sports day.
    6. Learn how to bake/cook; seriously does my younger sister have to be so good?
    7. Make sure I don’t step on lizards again , I’ll never forget that day again .
    8. Keep my closet clean , or else I will have to face Mamas wrath.
    9. Start having milk regularly , I need to get taller.
    10. Sleep more ,instead of staring at my phone.

      1. Hiba Gardezi

        Ummm sorry guys. That must be confusing. Eimaan and I are cousins we were both posting using her laptop and the account tabs kinda got mixed up and…yeah
        The last comment and story were both hers.
        Won’t happen again…hehehe

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Eimann, when I was a kid in high school, the girls used to put a small string around a lizard. Tie the other end to a safety pin on their sweater, and take the lizard to school with them. Girls in South Florida are tough!

    1. Observer Tim

      Thank you for the wonder and innocence of this post. It’s something we all need to be reminded of now and then, especially self-designated codgers like me. 🙂

      It must be wonderful to have both of you writing. Please make the most of it!

  31. tydra

    I’m not sure if I ever made new year’s resolutions and actually stuck to them throughout the year. But hey, there is a first time for everything so here it goes:

    1. Finally stop being such a chicken and START writing that novel that has been bugging me for years now
    2. Stop being afraid to fail before I have even started (not just writing related)
    3. Write a complete first draft of my novel
    4. Write a short story in every weekly prompt, no matter what
    5. Enter a writing competition
    6. Be more socially active and build a friend base
    7. Continue the gym work and tone up: 3 times gym per week to counter-balance my food intake… om nom nom…
    8. Be more helpful to my parents
    9. Convince my boss to give me a pay rise at work
    10. Continue to build specialist knowledge in my field and of competitor products

      1. tydra

        hehehe…oh yes, i know that feeling, trust me. there are things in life people struggle with but keep their mouths shut and it wears them slowly down. but if they would open up and share, they would very quickly find out that there are many people out there who have the same problems, fears, issues to struggle with as they do. just knowing that you are not alone makes a world of a difference 🙂

      1. tydra

        oh that so reminds me, and i just can’t resist: do or do not, there is no try! ;D

        and i did indeed “do”…i started writing…well, i am still collecting thoughts and scenes and ideas and general background, and the first scene i wrote is not in proper text yet, just a lot of sentences of what has to happen here…but for the first time this scene came alive in front of my eyes and i can’t wait to flesh it out and take it from there 🙂

  32. Molly Volts

    I’m a spontaneous kind of person. I don’t plan things because I always end up messing up my plans. So instead, I just let things happen. But I’ve got nothing to lose by writing this list, right?
    Here goes nothing…

    1) PRAY. I believe that I wouldn’t have this talent if it wasn’t for Jesus
    2) Write. I’ve got all the time in the world, and I do my homework at dawn, so why not?
    3) READ. I need to expand my vocab. -.-
    4) I have to have a life outside my bedroom.
    5) Go to the woods and find out where the fairies live.
    6) Keep my grades up.
    7) Follow my list on how to be awesomely awesome.
    8) Learn to keep things that don’t have to be said to myself.
    9) Find my writing style. After I read a book, I always find myself writing with that author’s writing style.
    10) Finish what I start.

    I just hope that I’ll actually DO them..


    1. Reaper

      Molly, in general I will avoid commenting this week because these are personal things. However a couple of things you said made me feel a need to comment. One, we all do that with our writing style. Even if we are set into it we will feel the influence of the author we most recently read. Over time we keep what works for us and it only helps to define us as we take pieces of greatness and approach them in new ways. In reverence to your number nine. As for number 8, you are a writer. Everything needs to be said. We live in a world defined by words where people hold back because they prefer to be nice when what most people need is honest. You will never change the world by being quiet, you will never be a writer in silence, and a little piece of you dies every time you don’t stand up for what you know. Stay young by keeping more of you alive and remember, sometimes you should say it in a kinder way but nothing benefits by going unsaid.

    2. Observer Tim

      Hi Molly;

      Echo to Reaper, but I never was that good at #8, so here’s a few comments.

      #9 – I do that too. So I concentrate on reading authors I really like (e.g. Stephen Leacock, Terry Pratchett, Uncle John), but never lose the time for others.

      #1 – Of course. You write from your heart, and an indwelling spirit will be visible even if unrecognized.

      #5 – Look just off the path on a twilight morning as the fog is slowly spirited away by the sunshine. That’s where the traces of magic can still be seen.

  33. Trevor

    My 2015 Resolutions

    1. Improve my writing stylistically. Follow the advice of other Writer’s Digest members like Observer Tim.

    2. Continue to improve socially. Talk more and express your opinions about important subjects that come up in conversations.

    3. Find time every day to practice writing. Use the Seventh Sanctum Writing Challenge generator or another similar website.

    4. Stop spending so much time worrying about life and growing up. In time, you’ll learn how to handle life, so there’s no use stressing about it.

    5. Spend less time on the computer.

    6. Spend more time with my family. Enjoy the fleeting time you have with them to the fullest.

    7. Become a better listener on BlahTherapy (it’s a website where people can talk about their problems or help other people with their problems. I recommend you try it; the experience of helping people with their problems is very empowering to me). What you say could really help a person with serious issues.

    8. Spend more time working on stories for Writer’s Digest writing contests. Quality is more important than speed.

    9. For Journalism photo assignments, don’t be afraid to ask people to pose for photos. The worst thing they can do is refuse to let you take the picture.

    10. Find more time to read.

    1. Observer Tim

      Thanks for the mention, Trevor. We’re all here to help each other out. I notice your list is replete with that very activity, and congratulations for it!

      Re #2 – I’ve bookmarked Seventh Sanctum. It looks like a very interesting site. I wish I’d known about it when I was a regular paper/pencil roleplayer. Now it looks like an excellent source of ideas…

      Re #7 – I’ll have to try that, too.

      Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans – John Lennon, Beautiful Boy

    2. lionetravail

      Great stuff, esp #4. Perspective, as they say, is a bitch- always maintain some in the style to which it’s become accustomed 🙂

      Happy and healthy new year wishes, and hope to see more writing!

  34. Bilbo Baggins


    Well, the first thing I’m going to say is… it’s been great spending the past year on here. You guys mean a lot to me. I’ve only written around 75 stories or so but you have helped me to grow immensely. I’m easily ten times better this year than last. Thanks.

    But, enough of that sentimental stuff. Now it’s time for me to outline my “ten” resolutions for 2015. Here I go, not in any particular order.

    1) Finish my novel. This is going to take some work (duh). Currently, it’s hovering around 40 pages, but I got a new computer for Christmas and I’m looking forward to finishing the first draft (if I can ever get past my perfectionism). With luck, I’ll be able to finish it by my 16th birthday. With extremely good luck, I’ll be able to publish it.
    2) Do a response every week instead of skipping out when an idea doesn’t hit me right away
    3) Read all of Shakespeare’s plays
    4) Fly back home to Pennsylvania and see the grandparents
    5) Put others above myself
    6) Work more on poetry, whenever and however possible
    7) Look for magazines to publish short stories in
    8) Get no cavities (seems stupid, but who doesn’t hate the dentist)
    9) Spend money wisely
    10) Get a score of at least 75 on Flappy Bird 🙂
    11) Compose an arrangement for three instruments (although I’m not too musical)
    12) Read outside my usual genres
    13) Keep in touch with my sister
    14) Not irk my parents all the time
    15) Gain some real muscles (this is the hardest one)
    16) Get really good at pool so I can blow away my friends
    17) Be more productive writing and don’t waste time (I’m looking at you, #10)
    18) Be someone others can look up to
    19) Get a feel for historical figures’ lives and personalities
    20) Try to fit the stories in the word limit (just noticed that’s back)
    21) As for girls… don’t ask.

    And there you have it. Looking forward to reading all of yours, and to another year of prompts.

    1. jhowe

      Thanks for your comments on spending time with your fellow writers. I didn’t realize you were only 15. I’m impressed. Looking forward to another year of this stuff.

      1. Bilbo Baggins

        Thanks… I need all the good luck I can get. This current project’s like fighting with crocs… you have to wrestle it to the ground and beware of its snapping jaws. I’ve had to redo the first chapter, like, four different times before I got it right. But that, in turn, meant I had to redo the whole plot again… which means another ten pages of rewriting. Ugh.

        As for flappy bird… annoying as heck but so addictive I can’t stop. Only been playing for a few days, but I’ve gotten up to 14 (my mom got 1 :-D)

        1. Hiba Gardezi

          Don’t mention it.
          Dude, I know EXACTLY how it feels to know that you gotta redo the whole plot.
          Pure torture.
          But I guess it’s all worth it in the end… I hope so.
          1? I thought I was the worst at flappy bird! ( no offense to your mom btw )

          1. Kerry Charlton

            Great list Bilbo. Number 19 will lead you into a world of wonderful. Biographies are better than autobiographies. I found the most fascinating one ‘Passions Of The Mind.’ about Sigmund Freud.

          2. Bilbo Baggins

            Thanks, Kerry. One book I really want to read this year is the Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant from 1885. He’s such a rough yet enigmatic figure, like Sherman, although I feel like he was forced into his position in Virginia and wanted to remain in seclusion in the west.

    2. Critique

      This is an impressive list Bilbo. Wow, didn’t realize you were fifteen. You have a gift/talent thats evident in the many stories you’ve posted for our enjoyment. I look forward to reading more of them. Happy New Year!

    3. jmcody

      You already know I think you’re awesome. And this list further proves it. You are a credit to your generation, with the kind of responsibility, concern for others and humility that you just don’t see much anymore. All of that and talent too. Your parents must be very proud of you. I know I would be.

      Go hobbits!

      1. Bilbo Baggins

        “A credit to your generation”…Now, jm, I’m not going to be so humble if you keep saying things like this. 🙂 But, thank you very much. I credit my parents, who, although definitely not perfect, have taught me what I know. I’m a proud Idahoan (who doesn’t farm potatoes) and homeschooler (who has some semblance of friends, yes). You’re awesome, too. Within the first month you came here I knew you were going to be one of the stars of this forum. I’m just the nebula brooding over in the corner. 🙂

    4. Observer Tim

      Looks like a great list, Bilbo. Sounds like you’re already on the way to overachieverhood. 😉

      My personal comments are to make doubly sure you work on numbers 4, 13, 14, and 21. It is the people in our life that remind us of the need for storytelling. And numbers 5 and 18 are in many ways the same thing.

      As for writing, I can see the strides you’ve made over the past year and encourage you to continue to grow. As for number 19, I think the only thing left in understanding historical personages for you is to build a time machine and start going back to interrogate them! That said, always keep learning – the facts are only part of the understanding.

      1. Bilbo Baggins

        On my way to overachieverhood… what a classic, Tim. You’re right about how the people in our lives remind us. I’m already working on #13 and 14. Number 21 might take some work… 🙂

        As for the time machine, I already have it in my basement right now (I know you’re reading this, NSA). That’s how I write historical fiction. Lately, I’ve stopped using it, mainly because I almost got killed on Omaha Beach. Yes, the facts are only part of the understanding. It’s taken a while, but now I do realize that emotions are more powerful than facts in this case. I will definitely use this in the months to come.

    5. lionetravail

      Those constitute a metric ton of worthwhile resolutions. #3 is excellent- I’ve got a post-apoc novel started which models some of the political stuff from one of Shakespeare’s plays, and his work just has so much insight.

      If you get the chance, watching some of them as plays, or the better-done movies, can be equally useful (I highly recommend Henry the Fifth with Kenneth Branagh, and the St. Crispin’s day speech :))

      Happy and healthy new years wishes, and I look forward to reading more of your work in the coming months and years!


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