2016 was quite a year, and in many ways, it's a year I would like to forget. But what will 2017 bring? In the new world order that will be ushered in this January 20th, what can we as women writers resolve to do to meet our obligations both to the wider world and to ourselves? How can we nurture those around us while nurturing our writing, as well?

I have three resolutions for 2017 to share. Feel free to post your own in the comments, or in a post on your own blog here on the site. If you do the latter, ping me through the site (or email me at kamy@shewrites.com) and we’ll “feature” your post here on the main page. 

Here's my list.

1) ACT. Last weekend I attended the bat mitzvah of an old college friend's daughter, and the rabbi's first sermon of 2017 was just what I needed to hear. Uncertainty, he reminded us, citing copious research on the subject, is much harder on the human psyche than certainty is--we cope better when we know for sure something bad (or good) is going to happen than we do with the unknown. For obvious reasons 2017 presents us with enormous uncertainty as we begin a new era under a new president who openly denigrates women and minorities, and who campaigned largely on a message of hate and fear. It is tempting (for me, anyway) to crawl under the covers in light of this, to retreat. Do not retreat, the rabbi enjoined us, act! We can be certain of our own convictions, if nothing else, and it is in our power to act upon them. As a woman writer, I resolve to use my voice and my words to speak out about against hate, in all its forms, in 2017.

2) CREATE. Last fall, She Writes was lucky enough to partner with Elizabeth Gilbert for a live writing workshop in Napa Valley, an event we won't soon forget. Gilbert has written powerfully on the subject of creativity, championing its enormous power to guide and even to heal us. “Do whatever brings you to life, then," she writes in Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, "Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.” As a woman writer, I resolve to create what causes a revolution in my heart in 2017--and do it with openness, optimism, conviction, and above all, joy.

3) GIVE. This year, it feels more important than ever to nurture not only my own creativity, but that of others whose voices are often denigrated or simply ignored. It is important to tell your own story, but it is equally important to promote others', whether by reading manuscripts, offering encouragement, buying books, or supporting nonprofits. I have always volunteered when I could, but this year that commitment feels more important than ever. As a woman writer, I resolve to practice "radical hospitality" (thanks to the Hedgebrook Writers Colony for the phrase) in every part of my life, giving more of my time, my energy, and my resources to those whose needs will only grow in 2017. 

Do you have resolutions to share? Again, write a blog post listing them, and send me an email through the site (or at kamy@shewrites.com) and I’ll feature your post here on the main page. Let’s share our community’s wisdom as, together, we kick off 2017. 

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Comment by Sakki selznick on January 13, 2017 at 5:31pm

Ah, well, since we are a family who was profoundly affected by last summer's police shooting of our school's much loved cafeteria supervisor, Philander Castile, and since i am writing about that (highly fictionalized so as not to violate this privacy or that of his family, girlfriend and friends) along with carefully researched historical fiction about the last 100 years worth of racism and bigotry, including police brutality, primarily in inner city Los Angeles--well, the politics *is* the writing! (See items 1 and 2 in Kamy's blog post--acting, creating and hopefully providing insight of our experiences to the world.) 

Comment by Sakki selznick on January 13, 2017 at 5:31pm

Ah, well, since we are a family who was profoundly affected by last summer's police shooting of our school's much loved cafeteria supervisor, Philander Castile, and since i am writing about that (highly fictionalized so as not to violate this privacy or that of his family, girlfriend and friends) along with carefully researched historical fiction about the last 100 years worth of racism and bigotry, including police brutality, primarily in inner city Los Angeles--well, the politics *is* the writing! (See items 1 and 2 in Kamy's blog post--acting, creating and hopefully providing insight of our experiences to the world.) 

Comment by Vi Brown on January 13, 2017 at 4:44pm

My original objection dealt with the assumption that we all agreed with Kamy's statement about hate and fear. It is not about disagreement. In my opinion, it was a myopic point of view and lacks discernment about other people's perspectives. This does reflect a closed-mindedness and the absence of critical thinking about Trump.

My comments only reflect Kamy's position on Trump and is not meant to be a criticism about her person. I presume the term 'brainwashed' (which Linda mentioned) also dealt with the information Kamy absorbed about Trump. Others have also absorbed the same information but also much more information.

Enough on politics! After all, this is about writing!

Comment by Sakki selznick on January 13, 2017 at 4:26pm

Kamy, I'm glad I read this one. Thank you for the suggestions to take action, to give and to create. I'd also suggest that we use our creative powers to try to create the world we want to see. 

For those of you who objected to Ms. Wicoff's statements about our incoming president--whoever you voted for and however you choose to act in the world--and I'm sure it's for good--you cannot reasonably object to two of her statements--that our president-elect has repeatedly and openly spoken of women in degrading ways, and bragged walking in on them naked, etc; that our president-elected stated that all Mexicans are rapists. In addition, he is on videotape saying, "Now, the poor guy--you got to see this guy--" and then physically and verbally mocking a disabled reporter; he ridiculed John McCain--for being captured by the Vietcong, and he mocked a Gold Star family, grieving over the death of their son.

I appreciate your saying that he also spoke about jobs, terrorism, restricting immigration, issues that I understand are important to you. But for Ms. Wicoff to speak of those other matters is also important.

And yes, if I were to state, for instance, that you had been "brainwashed" by the media you read, that would, indeed, be an insult, as I'm sure you understand. You might be angry that Ms. Wicoff's positions on these issues differs from your own, but perhaps you can 'fess up and apologize. May I suggest the following?  "I didn't want to hear your political perspective, with which I strongly disagree, but I should not have stated that you were brainwashed, implying that you are stupid or ignorant. I should have just said that I disagree.  It was wrong for me to insult you, and I'm sorry. I hope you will accept my apology." 

Comment by Kelly Hayes-Raitt on January 13, 2017 at 4:16pm

Vi, I disagree with you.  I think it is rude to assert that someone has been "brainwashed" simply because she disagrees with you.  It's a childish insult that could be hurled back at Linda (who made the original comment) just as easily.  You sound as if you did your "homework" and made your political choices -- as did I.  That we came to differing conclusions doesn't mean either one of us is "close-minded" or not "engaging in critical thinking."

Comment by Vi Brown on January 13, 2017 at 3:50pm

The term ‘brainwashed’ shouldn’t be taken as an insult and assumed to be rude. It is a psychological phenomenon. It can take place in many ways, some is specific to cults, religion, totalitarian governments and some less specific through social influence. Much of our influence comes through our media, e.g. commercials, music, fashion and political rhetoric.

People often brainwash themselves by being closed-minded and by not engaging in critical thinking. Social influence can be very strong. For example, the past few months, with all the political rhetoric, the main stream media has been very partisan. It was imperative to seek out various sources of information in order to have any kind of balanced and informed view. Balanced information is vital not only with respect to politics but on any subject pertaining to living.

Comment by Kelly Hayes-Raitt on January 13, 2017 at 2:29pm

Linda, your brain-washed comment is just plain rude.  You might disagree with the blog, as Vi and Dana did, but name-calling is beneath us all.

Comment by Linda Carol Anderson on January 13, 2017 at 11:48am

I appreciate your advice with your resolutions; however, I take great exception to your opinion about Donald Trump. You certainly have been brain-washed. I feel politics should be left out of blogs on this site.

Comment by Linda Carol Anderson on January 13, 2017 at 11:47am

Comment by Nikki Prince on January 12, 2017 at 11:46am

I've definitely made up my mind to act, create and always give this year.  Thanks so much for the reminder.

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