Well, the New Year is here, and I, like many humans, am ready to start afresh. I've been looking at a variety of websites to determine a list of the most popular resolutions. These seem to be the top ones that people make every year:
Pay Off Debt
Get a Better Job
Get a Better Education
Drink Less Alcohol
Quit Smoking Now
Reduce Stress Overall
Reduce Stress at Work
Take a Trip
Volunteer to Help Others
If you're like me, you have a few of those on your own list. But those of us who are writers also tend to make writing resolutions, and if we broke them down to one basic idea it would be this: write the best thing you've ever written.
Every year that must be the resolution, because every year we try to learn from what we've written before: the writing we feel we've outgrown or upon which we could now improve. We learn from the great books we read, and we learn--gasp--from the reviews of our own work.
All of those things lead us to a new place, a place where we will write something different from what we wrote last year or any year before that.
Hemingway spoke of writing "one true sentence" as a way of getting started. Here are his words, from A Moveable Feast:
"It was wonderful to walk down the long flights of stairs knowing that I'd had good luck working. I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day. But sometimes when I was started on a new story and I could not get going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. 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 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. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut the scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written."
So, inspired by Hemingway and the resolutions of others, I shall pursue the truth in my own writing.
What's your one true sentence?