Question of the month: What’s your writing resolution?

I find the Christmas post-partum, a letdown after all the rich food, get-togethers and gifts, a motivator to box up the holiday decorations and welcome the New Year.


What’s usually on my mind this time of year? Time: Time to get back to a daily routine; time to stop with the holiday fudge; time to dust-off my shelved ambitions. What better mood for polishing my writing goals and considering what I’d like to accomplish, not just in 2009, but long-term?


This year I think I’ll use an insight gained from one of my Christmas gifts, a book based on the principles of Maria Montessori, an innovator in early child education. She explained that “less is more” when it comes to toys and teaching. A few toys, a few instructions at a time, she says.


I remember a Christmastime story shared with me by a relative whose granddaughter enjoyed putting coins in a piggybank. The preschooler’s enthusiastic uncle likes to make people happy. In his eagerness to please his niece, he gave her a new piggybank and big bag of coins that he had taken care to wash. The child became overwhelmed. “It’s so much!” she sobbed and flopped down on the pile of change.


I understand her despair when I consider the daunting resolution of “writing a novel” or “getting my master’s degree.” Instead, I’ll outline plans for a realistic writing routine. I’m feeling particularly motivated, because not much has been accomplished at my desktop over the past two years with a new baby in the house. I put aside my work to focus on the important job of loving a baby who was traumatized by illness and harrowing hospital experiences. I’m feeling the desire to regroup now that our daughter is babbling, walking, sleeping better, and gaining independence.


The challenge I must overcome is not writer’s block. I’m sure the words will come if I can “just find the time.” My writing resolution, as my daughter grabs for my computer’s mouse, is finding an hour a few days each week to write uninterrupted. It won’t be at 10 p.m. when the rest of the family is in bed or relaxing on the couch. It will be daytime, when I am fully awake, and can focus on my writing.


I won’t succeed every time. The children will get sick. Responsibilities will overwhelm some days. I have a good chance, though. It’s realistic. I’m feeling motivated. It’s time.


-Jennifer Sandmann


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