Saturday, January 1, 2011

The New Year -- On a Note of Hope

Granted, the concept of a Waterford crystal ball dropping in Times Square is widely observed and thought to be the be-all and end-all to our state of mind, mood and year -- but, it's not everyone's cup of tea or even everyone's idea of  a new year.
For Jews, the year is 5771 and it was celebrated in September 2010; for the Chinese, this year is about the rabbit -- but not until February 3rd.

Now, the Year of the Rabbit sounds wonderful.

It's considered a lucky year -- rabbits are in favour of the arts and all things beautiful. They are non-confrontational, nest-building, endowed with quiet reassurance, calm and thoughtful nurturing. They are communicators, peaceable, teachers, negotiators. Rabbits like privacy. Rabbits take care of home and hearth, and care about women and children. Rabbits are, on the whole, approachable and friendly -- but, famously introverted.

(I'll bet you've already forgotten about Times Square and that ball.)

Regardless of how you woke up today, January 1, 2011, chances are the Gregorian calendar rules your technology, so in essence, we are all on a clean slate, a fresh abacus, a new page.

Happy New Year -- Now Go Be A Cwazy Wabbit!

  Carol's Annual Wisdom and Guidelines For Writers

1) You cannot keep saying you are a writer if you don't write.

2) Bad writing can improve. Good writing can get better. Best writing is a question of taste, but it will never sink to bad writing regardless of who passes judgment.

3) Successful writing doesn't always mean good writing.

4) Never write what you know. Always write what you need to know or want to know or suspect you know.

5) There are no tricky 'how-to' rules to writing. Not one. Except that you must hold an audience and write comprehensively.

6) Never confuse talking down to your readership (by spoon feeding them too much information) with assuming your readership knows the world you have created as intimately as you do. They don't. Let them in, little by little. Make 'em beg for more.

7) Read good writers. Avoid reading bad writers. Steal from good writers. Like, what? Like techniques, or structure, or their ability to paint in broad strokes with a wider vocabulary than you possess.
Absorb good writers' assuredness. They have every reason to write confidently because they write well. Make that your goal, too.

8) Obey the rules about crossing the street: STOP, LOOK, LISTEN.
Good writing comes from keen observers who question everything, wonder at what might have been or could be, and who pay strict attention to the tiniest details.
Then, they bring those details to their writing. 
Smells, tastes, sounds, colour.
 - Lazy writing equals blah: "He bought her flowers"
 - Lively writing equals interest: "He bought her purple wildflowers because she lived year round in jeans in the Village and he figured they'd look perfect on her windowsill."

9) Don't confuse inner editor with inner critic. The former is your best friend who helps you elevate first drafts to final drafts; the latter is your enemy. You must kill him or her.

10) BE FEARLESS. The "mouse that roared" is achieved because you take risks, you wade right in, you learn to ignore disapproving voices, you find strength in the impact of one well chosen word rather than five. You write from the heart not the head, and you write with honesty.

Happy New Year, yes. Happy Writing, even if it kills you, absolutely!

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