2012 Writing Resolutions: The Derp Lists

Xzibit Yo Dawg Derp I’ve noticed an interesting trend: A lot of blogs like to regurgitate other blogs’ topics. Annoying, yes. But what’s more annoying is the latest topic that’s making the rounds. It’s the resolutions for having a healthy writing life in 2012.

I’m naturally interested in such a list because I want to be a more productive, more successful writer in the new year. My goals for 2012 involve writing a couple more Vote Your Adventure stories, blogging a bit more frequently, and releasing a novel. Maybe two. I’ve got my work cut out for me, so I was naturally compelled to click a few of these links to find out how I can be a better writer.

Guess what I learned? Go on, take a guess! How to streamline my process? Nope! How to be a better editor? Nuh huh.

I learned that writers in 2012 should eat and sleep.

Congratulations, writer. You just learned how to function like a regular human being. I’m so glad everyone could be caught up in that revelation, as if it wasn’t something our species had figured out millions of years ago, back before humans could speak and we were roaming around in animal skins, eating bark and roots, traveling around to find food, and generally living on the brink of starvation. I’m glad you were finally able to make it to the exciting revelation that the best thing for you to do this coming year is to keep yourself that much farther from death.

I guess that’s important information to know. I, for one, would also like to stay alive in 2012.

A few other bloggers are resolving to do other things, like reading books they can’t stand, just to feel more literary. Because there’s nothing more inspirational than slogging through a bunch of intolerable crap. Writers stand before a smorgasbord of titles and, thanks to the internet, eleventybillon (that’s totally a real number) different genres, topics, styles, voices, etc. are available. From the inspirational to the informational, the extraordinary to the mundane, the mainstream to the obscure, so many wonderful types of books are waiting for a reader who is the perfect match for them. It’s like a pet rescue, but with books. And yet, for some reason, a few wackos have decided to tackle the very thing that is going to suck the life from them.

Derp.

I bring this up because it’s sort of a topic that’s been quite meaningful for me lately. Over the last few months, I’ve been hiding something from you all:

The joy of writing had been sucked out of me, and I had no idea how to get it back. I was thinking about quitting writing altogether.

Now, when you’re feeling that low, there’s nothing anyone can say to change those feelings. There’s no amount of praise, false or true, to bring back the passion for that creative outlet.

The passion for one’s craft must come from within. It cannot rely on others.

So I went back to the beginning. The very beginning. In my bio (just up above, in the little blue bar at the top of my site) it tells you that as a kid, I used to stay up late to read. It’s true. My mom would catch me at 3AM on a school night, under the covers with a flashlight and a book. That’s how my passion for books began. If I had to take a guess, I’d say it’s how most writers got their passions, too. I read a lot. I dreamed a lot. I had a big imagination in my head and the stories continued well after I read “The End”.

Then I grew up. I got into writing and decided I was going to make it this big “adult” thing and make it serious business. And, while I do make time for reading here and there, it fell off my radar and I lost my steam. So I had to go back to the beginning.

During the Christmas holiday, I forgot all about writing. I toyed with the idea of what my life would feel like if I never wrote again. For the first couple of days, I didn’t even remember it. Writing, who? We broke up and were seeing other people.

And then I read a book. It was a paranormal book, though that isn’t important. I don’t care about genre, really. It was written in first person prose and the protagonist was incredibly sarcastic. That’s really what I care about. I care about the funny quotient. I picked a book that was right up my alley, something that feels similar to what I like to write.

I ripped through the book in two days. Instantly, I was recharged. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without writing! To make a long story short, writing and I got back together and we’re very happy. We don’t even need couples counseling. I was so excited that I reached out to my most supportive writing friends and told them how I was feeling. They were so excited and so supportive. I swear, sometimes I don’t know what I’d do without my writing posse.

The point of all this is that sometimes we want to make really ridiculous lists when all we need to do is return to the start. What was it that first sparked your passion? Okay, maybe you’re not a writer. Maybe you’re a painter, a singer, a programmer. What was it that first revved your motor about your craft?

Go back to the start and refresh your passion all over again. Don’t do what I did and wait for your engine to run dry. Or, if you prefer the relationship analogy, don’t wait for the passion to fade. Schedule a date or a romantic weekend. Send the kids to grandma’s for the night and remember why you fell in love with your craft in the first place.

And leave your Derp List at home.

17 thoughts on “2012 Writing Resolutions: The Derp Lists

  1. The RPG Guy says:

    Great post, Jen. The main point that I took away from this is that passion is the key. We all get discouraged from time to time, so I always appreciate motivational posts like this. Glad to see you back!🙂

    Like

    • Jen says:

      LOL Sleep really is a wonderful thing. I balance myself pretty well, though, so any list that includes “eating well and getting enough sleep” is a big DUH for me. Neglecting yourself is a bad thing. Your brain and body need fuel to keep producing your awesome web stories!🙂

      Like

  2. Alan Edwards says:

    That was awesome. I too am going to try to stave off both starvation and sleep deprivation this year.

    Glad you got your mojo back. It’s funny, and maddening, how that kind of thing ebbs and flows.

    Like

  3. Angela Wallace says:

    So the Resolution solution is to read more books. 😉 You make a very good point about needing to get back to what ignited our passion to begin with. Like you, it was devouring books as a kid. I still devour books. Can you imagine a musician who never listened to any music but his own? I’d get bored too.

    I’m glad you rediscovered your passion. =) Life is better with it.

    Like

  4. Tiffany A White says:

    Derp? Is this another gaming term I’m not familiar with? 🙂

    What an inspirational post. Seriously. I am so excited for what 2012 has in store for you.

    I really, REALLY need to get back to reading. I love to read, but I want so very much to write right now that I’m letting my TBR pile really pile up…or over if we’re being literal. I need to get back to reading when I crawl into bed each night. In addition to everything I want to accomplish this year, I need to return to one of my favorite pastimes. Thanks for the nudge.

    Like

    • Jen says:

      It’s a great meme. I wanted to use it before it fades away into history.

      Haha, I know the feeling about wanting to write, yet needing to read. I’m trying to get a better schedule at night so I can fit everything in. What I’ve ended up doing is adding an additional 45 – 30 minutes to my schedule at night so I can hop into bed and read.

      And, in case anyone was wondering, the current book I’m reading is “Island of the Sequined Love Nun” by Christopher Moore. It’s written in third person and the material is adult, but it’s funny as hell and I’m really enjoying it. It’s actually inspiring me to get back into third person prose… Maybe when I’m done with my current two novels, I’ll bust out a third person adventure.

      Like

  5. laird sapir says:

    Thanks for this post. And to think…sometimes I feel guilty about ignoring my writing and just digging into a good book…or three, or four. It is true…reading reminds me of why I want to write!

    Like

    • Jen says:

      Reading is such a terrific thing. When I finished the book, I thought, “I’m an idiot! Why haven’t I been reading? I love this!” LOL

      Thanks for stopping by.🙂

      Like

  6. Jenny Hansen says:

    Just had to go look up DERP. It made me laugh.

    Anyway, I don’t know if makes you feel any better, but nearly every writer I know has gone through this at one point or another. When life, or WHATEVER, sucks the joy from their writing and they think of calling it quits.

    For me, it was post-partum depression. What brought me back slowly was Julia Cameron’s “The Sound of Paper.” What brought me the rest of the way back was blogging.

    Everyone has to find the thing that will bring them back…I’m glad you stumbled across yours.

    Like

  7. Sonia G Medeiros says:

    Great points! I’ve been there where my love of writing seems gone. Not a fun place. You’re right about returning to the beginning. And reading a book you love definitely charges those batteries right back up.

    Like

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