Sparked by Words

Being of unsound body (oh to diet and exercise – I fall down at both, relinquishing determined and repeated movement intended to help lose weight just as I open my mouth to eat,) and many would say of unsound mind (I may be a little crazy but there are others who wear that title better than I,) I hereby resolve to address the New Year of 2015 with the following Writer’s Anti-Resolutions, setting out a preemptive strike as it were against the possibility of success. No, no, against the probability of failure, but still yearning for success. Oh for crying in the sink, I just want to write and here’s how it’s not going to get accomplished.

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  1. I hereby resolve not to turn on the TV, for while I have watched it often this past year plunking myself on a sofa so familiar with my rump that the cushions dip and groan even before I sit, using it as a tool to invite sleep even as I pretend to be writing, working, thinking, the fact is that I think very little in front of the screen, being mesmerized by its size and intrusion into the family room, also the pretty images and flashing lights, so I write almost nothing after a session with the remote, and remember absolutely nothing – not about any of the shows I supposedly watched nor anything I planned to write. I have noted however that many of the commercials are well and cleverly created, and am aware that someplace behind the cameras and costumes stands a writer who smiles at her part of that bitty witty creation. Not me, I am not that writer, but I give homage to that person. So carry on, Successful Commercial Writer, I will not be watching your work but creating my own. Maybe. But that remote – it fits my hand so well.
  1. I determine not to listen to anything that anyone in my writer’s critique group observes about my work. Though these kind folk have read my submissions for more than a decade, assigning hours of thought into finding something worth noting, I have cried too many tears over their comments and misunderstood their desire to assist me as a condemnation of my mastery at putting one word in front of the other and making progress toward completion of my work. Therefore I will continue to submit, I just won’t pay attention to the critiquers.
  1. I stand fast in my refusal to contact agents, either by query, Twitter Dee Dee, or personal contact at writer’s conferences. This is one at which I am bound to celebrate success as I have done so for many years now – you know, prayed for the attention of an agent and a contract with an editor while doing absolutely bupkes to generate interest in my work. I like this one especially as it exhibits my tendency toward sloth, at which I’m really good, but does not expose my physique, which is an embarrassment to humanity. Because did you know that if you finally get an agent or editor to pay attention to you, at some point you are going to have to submit a current photo of yourself? Now that’s just creepy. Not sending a photo, per se, but my photo – creepy. No one likes a photo of a woman with a turquoise face.
  1. I will not read any of the many books about how to write, edit your work, compose a query, get published, or effectively promote your book through social media (the thing to do these days) because I’ve collected lots of writing books in the past and have been very successful reading only a few of them while applying nearly none of their wisdom. Why start now to ruin such success?
  1. I promise not to despair over my work, either at the failures I perceive or those that others point out. Stamping my foot and shrieking hysterically has proven a resourceful approach to explaining misunderstandings in past years and I vow to continue in that vein. Stamping is after all a form of exercise. Chalk one up for two stones in one hand, one bird in the nest, or some colorful figure of speech like that. Where did I put that book on literary terms?
  1. I will not let my family read any of my work, despite that I want it to be my legacy to them. This one is easy to accomplish as they have indicated little interest in doing so anyway. They have jobs to attend and families to mind and toenails to clip – they’re busy, dagnabbit, too busy to read my stuff. The baby can’t even read yet. Besides, if I wanted them to read my work, I would leave it to them as my legacy. Wait…
  1. I swear not to use my friends, family, acquaintances, or anyone else I encounter as models for the characters in my stories. I value their fundamental privacy too much, their inalienable right to personal space, their God given freedom to choose their own adventure. Heh heh heh.
  1. I vow never to use any word I must look up in a dictionary or thesallus themorasor thesaurious – oh, whatever that big thing is. If I didn’t learn the word in fifth grade, I don’t need to use it now. Any word I can’t put my finger – er, computer key – on, I’ll just use the word thing. Now that works for me. Good thing, too!
  1. I shall remain stalwart in my objection to the comprehension and application of all things technical, digital, computeral, or modern. I am a Luddite, by golly, a bona fide, indigenous Luddite. Don’t even get me started with the differences between browsers. Until a week ago, I thought they were related to dog breeds.
  1. I resolve never again to create resolutions. Well, sugar plum fairies – how is anyone supposed to get anything done with an attitude like that?

Happy New Year, everyone. I welcome comments – really, I do. Just let me get my scissors – tissues ready…

 

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Comments on: "Shari Pratt’s 2015 Writer’s Anti-Resolutions" (64)

  1. I’m with you on #1, Shari. In fact, I’ve got the TV on right now. Not the most auspicious start to the writing year! 🙂

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    • At least I didn’t start the day by watching the Rose Parade, my usual New Year’s Day activity. (Sitting on the sofa in front of the TV is an activity?)Pretty as it is, I couldn’t tell you the difference between the parade of one year and another. All of them being big cereal boxes covered with fields of flowers.
      Happy New Year, Ilene.

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      • I actually just watched the parade. I wish Al Roker and Hoda Kotb could have introduced the floats and bands and then just quieted down… the silly stuff they said over top of the marching bands really irked me. Hmmm…. maybe I should write about that.

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      • I agree, the driveling trivia just interferes. We get decent coverage on a local channel with the commentators mentioning that they are going to let us listen to the band rounding the corner. Still, it’s only 10 seconds of music and then the next float slides into view. Better yet are a few local TV and radio commentators who provide rude but hilarious coverage.

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  2. I wish I was part of your writing group, not because you need back up, but because I bet you surround yourself with talented people. They must relish in your thoughts. I think you’re amazing just as you are. Keep writing and I will listen and learn with intent. Many hugs and much love for you in 2015, Shari. ♡

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    • It’s a challenge to find a really supportive and knowledgeable critique group. I’ve been with my current group for about 12 years. They are brilliant people who write in a broad number of genres. They do not mince criticism and are sometimes completely out of whack, but I’ve learned so much about writing from their comments. And though I thank you for your high praise, I’m not the shining star in the group, either for critiquing or my own book contributions. If you’re even out here, Audrey, you’re welcome to attend. We’d love to have you. We need a feisty redhead!

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    • Oh we do, Audrey. Shari is one of the reasons I keep going.

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      • Now I’m blushing……from both of you.

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      • You two go to the same writing group? How did I not know this…envy doesn’t cover my feelings now. Very cool. I think I’m shocked.

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      • My sweet red headed friend, you have figured out our little secret. Oops! Still, the offer to join us should you visit California is sincere. Let me know and I will gladly save you a place at the table.
        Do you belong to a Texas crit group? Have you ever written about the experience? Crit groups are such a huge part of the contemporary writing scene and I’m always interested to learn about other folk’s adventures with them.

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      • In fairness…Jacqui spilled the beans, but yes, I’m officially on to the both of you. Thank you and I will most definitely let you know when I come to Cali.

        I’m not part of a critics group. I don’t know when I’d have time to fit it in. I think I should make time for one.

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      • There are lots of crit groups out there should you want to try, some on-line ones as well as those where you meet in person. You should know what you want out of a group before you go looking, but keep in mind that they don’t all live up to their promises or your expectations. Let me know how it goes, should you pursue this.

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      • I appreciate your advice, Shari. Thank you, I’ll let you both know if I find something local.

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      • Audrey, I think you’ll find something local but it’s finding the right group for you that can be a challenge. You might want to give a group several months trial before making the big commitment. A really strong group will help you improve your writing, which is why I like my current group. I wish you well – let me know what happens.
        And I’m serious – you get your spurs on and give your horsey a quick shove out West – we’ll be waiting for ya!!!

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  3. I’m not so sure about #7… I mean, having that threat to hold over them is a terrific way to keep people in line!

    Ahem.

    Not that I’d ever do something like that….

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    • Well, maybe a few people could have shown up here and there in my stories. Of course, I probably change significant attributes but I have to admit, if anyone was really peering into my characters, they just might recognize someone they know. For instance, in The Tree House Mother is a person who just has to have her coffee – see what I mean? So – are you on your third or fourth cup today?

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  4. I like #2 a lot. Here here!

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    • Jacqui, I know you sometimes have a tough time with the crit group. You know that I do as well, and I’ve written about the experience here. But I also believe that if a writer can’t survive a critique, they are unlikely to survive getting read by complete strangers, as in those readers who might buy our book and then make a slightly less than favorable comment. Writing is an athletic event perhaps, not for the faint of heart. Besides, I think you are really stronger than you want to admit. And I know how good a writer you are.

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  5. By gosh, by golly, we are slaves to no one and find ourselves in like waters! Let us simply enjoy today, whatever it brings. No expectations, but simply living in the ‘now’ because if we tarry along the speeding freeway we will surely be hit, head-on, rear-ended, and cartwheeled. Smashed to smithereens!
    I like your view. I’m taking the high road and letting life entertain me. Oh, I promise not to become absent in my duties, i simply mean that i won’t allow them to define me. We’ve worked years getting to where we are. No one needs fame or fortune to realize they have arrived. Simply stand still long enough to appreciate that the journey was our arrival.

    Happy New Year!

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    • I always like your positive attitude. You have admirable internal strength and a great outlook.

      BTW, it looks like I’ve been lazy about replying to folks, but actually I’ve got a cranky old computer and haven’t even turned the thing on for about a week as it crashed while I was using it. I was afraid to touch it, worried that it would combust if I turned it on again. So please forgive me for such late response.

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      • Oh Sharon, I’m sorry your computer is on the fritzs. I remember , back in the day when the telephone was out of service (especially in my teen years)! I felt so lost and out of touch.

        I also know those not so silent prayers I would say when my computers were testing me. (Yes, I’m crazy enough to think they were digital heathens.)

        It’s good to hear from you. Happy New Year. Keep on writing, my friend, i need to keep be reading. Your last post was one of my favorites. I felt like you were letting your hair down and shaking the world alive. ❤️

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      • Wanna know how old I am? (I will here hint.) I remember when a phone call could get interrupted by a party line! Some rude voice telling you to hurry up and get off so they could use the phone – ugh!! Admittedly my experience was at the end of that awkward era, but still…We also had two phone lines in our house, multiple locations, different phone numbers (Klamath 4-4-3-7,) side by side, so that one could be dedicated to my dad’s medical office, the other for family calls.
        But then you also know, I believe, that I learned to write by scratching my stylus into wet clay. Heh heh heh.

        Thank you for your kind comments. You are so good for my ego.

        Now that this cranky digital pencil has decided to work again, I’m off to read your recent posts. See ya at your site!

        BTW, I still haven’t figured out your actual name. Ready to reveal?

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      • Margie, actually it’s Marjorie… Born in 1952. And I’ll bet I’m older. 🙂

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      • Pleased to meet you, sweet Margie. And I’m older – a bit.
        Just means we are full of wisdom and wit. *: )

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      • Yes. I don’t mind aging, except for the creaking bones. The graying hair and wrinkles reflect the wisdom gained for each mile of my journey. 🙂

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      • You’re making me giggle, Margie.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Let’s laugh heartily, together. :))))))))

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      • 😀 Yep, that’s me, laughing with you.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Sharon, just thought is drop you a note to see how you are? Haven’t heard from you in a while and am missing your posts!

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    • Morning, Suzie. Thank you for your kindness and concern about my absence. I’m dealing with an issue that is complicated and difficult to resolve.
      I’m unable to discuss this on my blog or anywhere else “public,” but I assure you it is not about my health or my marriage, and it doesn’t involve anything criminal.
      I miss being able to read all the blogs I love to follow, haven’t had time to write for my personal blog either. I will be back one day, but it might not be for a while.
      Your blog will be one of the first I’ll read. Always love your perspective, insight, sensitivity to the rest of the world. Wishing you well in all things.

      Shari *: )

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  7. I just found your blog thru the link on a comment on Jacqui’s “noisey” post, not a moment too soon. You have provided valuable guidance for many aspects of life. Being new to the afore mentioned critique group I shall follow your #2 to the letter as I am new to this writing-gig-thingey and a fragile flower. I may even be a Luddite but I must google it first to know what it means.

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  8. P.S. After your feedback to Lee in the critique group last night you might want to send this post to him so he can read #2 and dry his tears.

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  9. Just curious what you get out of the writer’s group if not the critique?

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    • Hi Jay, thanks for reading this post. That’s a good question to ask. I see by your site that you take things seriously and consider all aspects to determine whether something (movies, at your website) carries authentic weight or is just a column of fluff.
      This post, 2015 Anti-Resolutions, was written tongue in cheek, and was part of a post stream at Today’s Author http://todaysauthor.com/ where I’m a regular contributor. Might have confused you because my humor isn’t great or original.
      I’ve written several serious posts about critique groups, on both sites, and will probably do so again as being active in some kind of crit group is foundational for writers trying to get published. (Yes, I am trying to get published.)
      I’ve been a member of one group for about 15 years. I actually take their feedback very seriously. Most days that my work is up for review will find me working late into that same night, considering, addressing, reworking my WIP. They’ve been an attentive and focused group of people whose thoughts I respect.
      We are also friends who sometimes socialize outside of the group. That would be enough to keep me attending even if they weren’t great at critting. However, just listening to them talk about writing is a revelation. I learn every day I attend. I’ve grown as a writer and as person and consider myself lucky to be part of this intelligent writing group.
      Hope I answered you well enough to make better sense of that post. Thank you for your comment.

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  10. Shari – I love this! Funny – and a bit too close to the truth a few times! 😀 😀 😀

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    • Thank you, Kate. Sad to say that I haven’t posted anything on this blog since that article. It was a bit funnier when I wrote it and thought I’d be posting regularly but life sneaks up and bites you-know-where.
      I’m trying to get back to writing and to reading my favorite blogs, including yours! Glad I made you laugh.

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  11. Sharon this is wonderful. You have hit the mark perfectly, given me a great smile to set me on my way for today. Thanks for the link. What are you writing?

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    • Thanks, Irene, I’m always glad to inspire a great start for someone’s day.
      I’ve written three adult novels and am revving up to query agents, hoping for traditional publication. All my books are historical fiction and focus on events that happened in the last century. I’m interested in personal relationships and how they as well as history affect decisions through adulthood. What finally makes someone create a positive, responsible future out of what may seem foregone?
      How is your own writing coming?

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  12. I’m a little late in responding to this, but at least it’s still the same year, more or less. Point 6 spoke to me because I’m in much the same boat. Even though I sometimes mention my wife and kids in my posts, they very seldom read anything I write. Of course, that means I have the freedom to write what I like about them. Oh, the power…

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    • When I’m writing goofy blog stuff (not all is goofy, at least it’s not all meant to be goofy) I can say anything – for the laugh I don’t hear. The three novels I’m trying to have published are another story. I hope someday my family will read them. There, me being serious. Best to you, Bun, as you pursue your endeavors.

      Liked by 1 person

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