From sizzle to fizzle?

Ask - collage by Drew Myron
As January comes to a close, has your resolve faded? All that pop and sizzle gone to fizzle?

For weeks, I've heard the zealous plans of overachievers: This year I will write a book! I will write everyday! I will get published!

My head aches. My heart sinks. Big goals may be good for some but I can't take the pressure. Bite-size tasks work best for me. 

I take heart in knowing the race to accomplish is best achieved in small daily steps. Like an exercise routine, I'm aiming for consistent effort, not exhaustion. To that end, I've culled ideas from friends and colleagues to offer key ways to feed your writing life.

Three Ways to Re-Ignite

Write in Short Bursts
A friend of mine writes in small slices. In line, at the grocery, in the waiting room. "I have written something poemish every day this week," she tells me. "I tend to want to wait until I have a length of time open before I dive in [to write]. This year I am writing in the short bursts as well."

• Make a Collage
My favorite kind of art project is one requiring limited artistic ability. Collage is the answer! Simply page through magazines and clip words and pictures that draw your eye. As you arrange images on a blank page you may be surprised to discover themes and ideas that will spur a poem, a story, or more.

• Pick a Word
At the start of every year, many writers take inventory of their lives and goals and choose one word to guide them through the year. This can be a fun and powerful process. Choosing a word forces you to focus while also providing powerful direction. Molly chose persist. Auburn picked certainty. Sage's word is, um, not printable. When you open yourself to possibilities you allow conscious and unconscious forces — some might say the muse — to direct your steps (and words).


How about you: What are you doing to feed your writing life?
How do you create and maintain a writing routine?