Writing Tips

What Writing Are You Going to Start in 2010?

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” ~ Doctorow

Starting something is not necessarily the same as setting out to finish something.

I know that some of the writing goals, hopes, dreams and ambitions you have for this year are about starting and finishing.

Some are about finishing things you have already started.

Some are about starting as you mean to go on, and getting into a new rhythm of starting and finishing, starting and finishing so there aren’t a thousand loose ends left tangled around you again at the year’s end.

But there are some things we start without knowing where they will take us or what they will turn into.  Things that ask to be written.  Unfolded.  Explored.

unfolding by ecstaticist

One of those ‘demand to be written’ things arrived at my door in late December and has been jumping about like a hyper-charged toddler ever since, jumping and jiggling and tugging at my elbow for time, and attention, and the space to let the words flow.

It was the demand to write poetry.  Not poetry as I believe it ‘should’ be written, as I think it’s ‘supposed’ to look and sound but lines that fly along with their own pulse, and rhythm.  Quite possibly poetry that’s written to be spoken and not read.

The insatiable desire to write poetry turned into a website, as my ideas and wild notions so often do (dear readers, I suspect you have noticed.)  (Okay, here it is: Eventful Poetry) I came up with an idea to write poems for events, for other people, helping them to capture the moment, bringing their words, thoughts and emotions to life.  I’m still swinging wildly between thinking this is a great idea and a terrible idea, and suspect it’s too soon to share it with an unsuspecting world.


The poems still want to be written.  Even if the work on the back of it idea goes nowhere, even if I regret the daftness of setting up a new website and the paraphernalia that goes around about it, even if I think I lost a few marbles somewhere around the end of the year and need to jump back down to the solidity of the earth…


The poems still want to be written.

And rather than beat myself up about the delivery, about the what-to-do-with-it-next… as I so often do, I’m going to go with the flow of the beginner’s mind.

Accept that writing is an exploration.  And that I will learn as I go.


Because you’ve enjoyed them before… and because I enjoy sharing them, here’s my most recent piece, on the winter solstice.

The Return of the Light

The return of the light.

No, not the single, solitary flicker of a candle,

No, I am talking about the return of the light,

Shrieking through the sky

Ripping the darkness asunder

Burning, blasting, blistering light

With the power of thunderclaps

With the might of the sun

With a shock

With a charge

With a burst of pure light



Fear chasing

Courage giving

Faith evoking

Awe inspiring


Unstoppable power

Unquenchable fire

Return of the solstice light.


And because this post started out with a question for you (even though it ended up rather more about me), here we are back to the question again:

What writing are you going to start in 2010?  Even the writing of the don’t know where it’s going, but going to write it anyway sort?

PS I know that many of you have already shared some of your writing starts in the first few posts of the series.  Thank you.  Sorry that I’ve not replied to comments up to now - I’ve been away for a while.  Will reply to them properly soon.

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25 Responses to “What Writing Are You Going to Start in 2010?”

  1. On January 13, 2010 at 2:38 pm Fred H Schlegel responded with... #

    Hi Joanna, I’ve hesitated to lock down writing projects for fear of the time commitment that comes with each start. I like your approach with poetry (finely done by the way) of moving forward and seeing what comes. I hope to follow your lead.
    Fred H Schlegel´s last blog ..Flying With A Good Idea My ComLuv Profile

  2. On January 13, 2010 at 2:59 pm Cat Woods responded with... #

    My start is to finish.

    I have two YA’s that need to have endings, as well as a major rewrite of a middle grade novel. I also have a chapter book sequel to complete. These I must do before November because I will once again start-and finish-another new novel.

    Thanks for sharing your poetry. It is perfect for thinking about starts!
    Cat Woods´s last blog ..What’s Community? My ComLuv Profile

  3. On January 13, 2010 at 3:03 pm Karen Swim responded with... #

    Joanna, I love that you embraced the words that longed to be written. While I have starting (submitting to publications) and finishing (novel) goals this year, I think it’s equally important to be open to the words that come without a definite purpose, untethered by where they fit and how they align with our vision board. Some words need to be written for where they take us, how they make us feel and how they make others feel. I started my writing year reading poetry and was delighted at the brilliant use of language and the vivid imagery. I love your poem and your attitude and can tell this is going to be a good year indeed!
    Karen Swim´s last blog ..What You Can Learn from the Leno Shuffle My ComLuv Profile

  4. On January 13, 2010 at 4:10 pm Tyrean responded with... #

    I have been pulled into writing more poetry this year too, with words just flowing out in strange patterns on a page . . .
    However, my most unexpected start this year has to be a romance story. I’ve never written romance, well with the exception of some silly thing I wrote in 8th grade (cringe), and that is just the point. Romance writing usually makes me cringe, and put my hands in front of my face and say “eww, gross, they’re kissing!” However, this story, about True Love’s Gifts is just demanding attention, and so I’m writing it, even if my ability to romance is awkward. And being married for 13 years doesn’t make me want to share that “experience” in a exhibitionist kind of way, so experience has nothing to do with the awkwardness of writing romance. So, that’s my unexpected start in the new year.
    And by the way, I really liked “The Return of the Light”.
    Tyrean´s last blog ..rooted, but still daydreaming My ComLuv Profile

  5. On January 13, 2010 at 9:44 pm Robyn McMaster responded with... #

    Joanna, how refreshing to revisit our light. Your thoughtful poem shows how a thought might keep niggling us until we do something with it. I had some posts I started last summer and had them stored. I revisited these and brought them to light and it has been refreshing for me as bringing out the poem has refreshed you.

    Carry on with your amazing perspectives through the new year. You never cease to challenge me as a writer.
    Robyn McMaster´s last blog ..Stretch Past Ability Myths My ComLuv Profile

  6. On January 13, 2010 at 11:38 pm Eric C responded with... #

    I’m starting my second blog. We’re in the planning phases right now. Same with a new screenplay.
    Eric C´s last blog ..The Army Level AAR- Fixing the Army from the Top My ComLuv Profile

  7. On January 14, 2010 at 9:10 am Paul responded with... #

    Nice Joanna,

    The poem is brave and free for sure. Made me think of some old E.E. Cummings I read a few years ago :)
    Paul´s last blog ..Your Career in 2010 My ComLuv Profile

  8. On January 14, 2010 at 11:53 am Conor
    Twitter: ebbstachio
    responded with... #

    Hi Joanna,

    Great post and a beautiful poem. I’ve been considering dusting off my old journals of poetry and giving them an airing with a new blog.

    This might just be the catalyst I need :)


  9. On January 14, 2010 at 12:00 pm Wendi Kelly~Life's Little Inspirations responded with... #

    Hi Joanna,

    I love your Poem, Poems like that are my favorite, free style poetry that flows and rolls of the tongue to be spoken and tasted. Mmmm, so good.
    I used to do some event poetry in the 90′s, writing poetry for weddings for couples and special occasions and stuff. It was fun. Then my mind went elsewhere…as it does.

    This year? There is a novel that has been firmly committed to, time etched out on the calendar, there is the newly revamped Life’s Little Inspirations and a book for that, which was once half done and shelved because I didn’t have the formatting experience…(Things have changed, as my wonderful partner does:) ) and that is being finished this year…and soon. And I too am keeping an open door to wherever inspiration leads and plan to follow wherever those crumbs take me.

  10. On January 14, 2010 at 4:52 pm Janice Cartier responded with... #

    First of all I love the poem. And I mean love it as in I know that sky and that light and the impulse it brings. And I love it. And your words bring it fully to life in the most delicious and powerful way.

    I think I might do some writing about ephemera. It’s just come up, but it ties in with my Scribbles series of work that is new. Or new on my “official” schedule. But I think it might just be very old and so familiar that I did not see its meaning. Which is one that is essential to me. So I thought I would open a place for exploring it a bit.
    Janice Cartier´s last blog ..How Do We Find Our Way In? My ComLuv Profile

  11. On January 14, 2010 at 9:20 pm Alex Fayle responded with... #

    2009 was the year I got serious about my fiction writing and 2010 will be the year I get professional about it.

    I was going to add more to the comment, but there’s nothing more to add. ;)
    Alex Fayle´s last blog ..Resolving to Be Happier: The Happiness Project My ComLuv Profile

  12. On January 15, 2010 at 1:42 am sheila glazov responded with... #

    Thanks for the encouragement, Joanna. I about begin work and research for my second What Color Is Your Brain? book. The book will be focused on the Health Care Professional.

  13. On January 15, 2010 at 4:48 pm Kristin Conroy responded with... #

    I will finally be writing about my experience with eating disorders, probably making it into a series on my blog. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point because of the fear of digging up painful memories and embarrassment that such a large chunk of my life was wasted on such “nonsense.” I think this piece needs to be shared, not just for my own catharsis, but to help others who are either going through it or watching those they love go through it.

  14. On January 15, 2010 at 7:38 pm Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    @ Fred, although there are some writing projects I think we need to make the time for - big things like memoirs or books - some other things are just too delicious to leave. And they add something to our lives don’t you think? It might take me time, but it gives me energy, word-music, pleasure…

    @ Cat, you sound like you’ve got the start and finish thing down to a fine art :-)

    @ Karen, you’re so right. There’s something about this kind of writing that is deeply aligned with the bigger picture of who we are and where we are in life. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good year for you too my friend :-)

  15. On January 15, 2010 at 7:41 pm Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    @ Tyrean, thanks for the feedback. And thanks for sharing that wonderful unexpected new start! Have fun with it

    @ Robyn, thank you so much. Your words so often inspire me to keep breathing out fire

    @ Eric - brilliant stuff. It’s so interesting to hear what you’re all doing.

    @ Paul, thank you. Brave and free. It’s how my spirit wants her words to be.

  16. On January 15, 2010 at 7:46 pm Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    @ Conor, the more I write poetry - or at least my own version of it ;-) - the more I think it’s a simple, powerful, natural, creative and healthy thing to do. I’d love to see everyone writing poems! Hope the catalyst works

    @ Wendi, you know in writing this post and umming and ering as to whether I should… I thought about you and living the inspired life. And said “yes” to the words, to the power of the rhythm, and having the courage to share it. Your own writing plans sounds wonderful - but more than anything I love this: And I too am keeping an open door to wherever inspiration leads and plan to follow wherever those crumbs take me. (Don’t worry, we’ll follow!)

    @ Janice, thank you. Heartfelt. It’s poetry written as a living, breathing thing… in the words of you-know-who. I’m so interested in what you’re saying about ephemera… the essence of our lives… in fragments and scraps and moments that flit past… but stay forever in the memory. Like I said… you’ve got the creative juices flowing on this one.

  17. On January 15, 2010 at 7:49 pm Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    @ Alex, indeed. But do keep us posted.

    @ Sheila - that sounds brilliant. Thanks for letting me know.

    @ Kristin - it sounds like maybe it’s time for you to share those words.. with enough distance that it will offer something of value, to you and to others. Sometimes when we get to those ‘finally’ points… well that’s where the best stuff is, because it’s the truth we need to tell. Best wishes with it.

  18. On January 15, 2010 at 8:17 pm David Masters responded with... #

    Eventful Poetry is a brilliant idea - I love the design of the website, very retro.

    In my writing this year, I’m turning towards fiction. At the moment I’m writing flash fiction at my new blog, Truant Pen.

    My aim is to write one piece of flash fiction every week throughout 2010.
    David Masters´s last blog ..The Street Philosopher (#fridayflash) My ComLuv Profile

  19. On January 20, 2010 at 7:39 am Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    @ David, thanks for the feedback. Thanks also for letting us know about the flash fiction you’re writing - I really enjoyed the Street Philosopher. It seems like a great community of fridayflash writers too… great stuff.

  20. On January 24, 2010 at 12:41 am Jeanne Dininni responded with... #

    Sorry I’m so late reading this, Joanna! Work has been quite hectic of late.

    I love your poem! It’s so vivid, descriptive, powerful, and intuitive. How wonderful that you’ve decided to follow wherever this new creative urge may lead! It’s so important for us to indulge the purest, most primal creative impulses that rise from deep within, for it’s these that birth our most noble creations-the ones that bring us the greatest sense of satisfaction and fulfillment and that speak of the essence of who we are.

    No matter how many commercial writing projects we may complete or how pleased we may be with the excellence of our performance in these more mundane areas of endeavor, nothing can take the place of the work that comes from the places that lie deepest within ourselves-the work that reveals our essence and the essence of the world around us.

    Bravo, Joanna! I applaud your new writing aspirations and can tell that they will meet with nothing but success!

    My own aspirations for the new year are still in process-though I’m finding that process to be a glorious, exciting, refreshing, and inspiring one! Perhaps I’ll share more at some point when all these disparate areas of growth and discovery have solidified into a somewhat more integrated whole.

    In the meantime, I’d simply like to cheer you on in your latest creative project. May you find real fulfillment as you draw from deep within all the beauty and creativity that lie there waiting to be tapped.

    Truly enjoyed this post!

  21. On January 26, 2010 at 8:30 pm Dennie responded with... #

    I hope I’m not too late to comment on this post. I decided to get off my rear for 2010 and start SOMETHING. Although I had very little knowledge about blogs and blogging, I decided to give it a shot and created my own through Google and blogger. I initially vowed to post daily, but bit off too much, so now I try at least 5 nights a week. Baptism by fire. I’m doing as much research and reading as I can, found this site and love it…

  22. On January 28, 2010 at 10:33 pm Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    @ Jeanne, you’re never too late round here remember ;-) Thank you so much for this: the work that reveals our essence and the essence of the world around us. That’s it in a nutshell for me. I’m intrigued by your own plans and dreams… all good wishes for them in 2010 :-)

    @ Dennie, no, you’re not too late - well done getting the blog up and running. Have fun - that’s the best way to approach blogging :-)



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