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My 2014 personal writing theme revealed

I can’t help it. I love the idea of a fresh new notebook, a new year to see what is possible. A clean slate. I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, but I like having a theme that helps me move through the year in a positive trajectory. It’s my touchstone to remind me of what I value.

Several things happened this year that propelled me to find my 2014 theme.

First, I took a short story writing class and discovered a breakthrough writing method. It involved writing 100 sentences and then seeing what kind of story would take shape. It really was a revelation for me and helped me lose some of my resistance around writing.

Second, I went to a workshop and heard Patricia Charpentier speak about how she keeps a five-year diary. I’ve always wanted to do this but never stuck to it. I decided this would be my year. I would do it by committing to at least one sentence. And while some of them may be random or boring observations about my day, others could likely turn into story themes or first lines. For more inspiration and my thoughts about this, read my post, Let your short story write itself.

Third, I’ve always been inspired by what Ernest Hemingway wrote in A Moveable Feast:

“I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.’ So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say.”

All of us have had dry spells and felt resistance about writing. When I’m in that place, I remember Hemingway’s quote.

So this year, my theme is, “One true sentence a day.”

Will you set your own 2014 writing theme?

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