‘Tis The Season To Hate Yourself: 10 Anti-Resolutions For Writers

Ah, January! The month after the month when you were told to eat, drink and be merry.

Now we get to turn the tables on ourselves. Now is the time when everyone in the world gets to feel a bit Irish. Because now is the time you get to hate yourself.

No more are we encouraged to love one another and raise a glass to life, good health and happiness. No, indeed. It’s time instead to put down that glass, become self-obsessed, and loathe ourselves with a passion unparalleled since that time you got laughed at for walking across a crowded room whilst wearing your skirt firmly tucked into your knickers.

‘Tis The Season To Hate Yourself: 10 Anti-Resolutions For Writers

Regrets, I’ve Had A Few

Every candle-lit memory, every glowing sense of sugary bonhomie which Christmas brought you: they’re all ruined now. At least until Lent, anyway.

That glass of champagne shared at midnight on New Year’s Eve with those you love best in the world is now a lingering manifestation of a memory of a hangover.

That trifle with the alcoholic clip on the ear, which made you laugh, now resides just beneath your belly button, making your waistband scream.

The delightful presents you bought are now a financial crater so deep, your photograph is displayed on cash machines around the country.

And that quarter pound of Quality Street, which you inhaled in an subconscious haze, is now a festering spot upon your upper lip.

Oh, yes. January is a grand month for hating everything.

Which Brings Me To Writing

Every blog/newspaper/website/toilet roll with a literary section, is currently bellowing at you about New Year writing resolutions. Now is the time to write that book! they say, safe in the knowledge that whenever the hell it is, now is definitely the time for people to make sweeping statements of intent they will regret later.

However, along with New Year But what do you REALLY want from life?  interrogations, these writing resolutions have become a new tool to bash the creatively-inclined with.

Writers are ideal for this kind of torture. I could say that nobody doubts themselves more than a writer. However, most Irish people – well, above a certain age, anyway – feel a sense of inadequacy so deep, that the mere hint of pride in themselves will trigger a guilt trip so festooned with potholes that they end up with post-traumatic stress which forever thereafter makes them break out in a rash in their nether regions upon even hearing a compliment in the wind. Fact.

Therefore, to be an Irish writer is to languish in a pit of despair-filled paralysis. And by Jesus, do we love our Januarys to do it in.

Embed from Getty Images


Don’t Give In

Fight this cesspit of feel-bad journalism. DON’T make any writing resolutions. If you can’t be dissuaded, I heartily recommend that you make some Anti-Resolutions instead, which don’t make you feel bad, are easily kept, and won’t add to your acne.

Without further ado, therefore, here are my 10 Anti-Resolutions For Writers.

  1. I will not attempt to write down ideas while I am driving.
  2. I will not summarise my work-in-progress into one or two confidence-shattering sentences when people say to me “so, what’s the book about, anyway?”
  3. I will not follow any writing, marketing or publishing advice issued through barely-disguised advertisements for someone else’s own writing, marketing or publishing services.
  4. I will not feel like a lemon when someone introduces me as a writer – or a blogger.
  5. I will not allow myself to be forced to say something about my writing which sounds stupid, even to me.
  6. I will not take serious rejection seriously.
  7. I will not revel in self-imposed deadlines.
  8. I will not rewrite the flogged, dead pony.
  9. I will not immediately seek out the worst parts of honest criticism.
  10. I will put anything which doesn’t fit me to the back of the wardrobe, where it belongs, for the six months before I am ready to throw it out.

Apologies for the last one. Writers are human, too, and the circle of life would collapse in on itself if I didn’t put at least one fat reference into a January list.

Sigh. Seems I’m not the renegade I thought I was. Happy New Year everyone.

Embed from Getty Images


  53 comments for “‘Tis The Season To Hate Yourself: 10 Anti-Resolutions For Writers

  1. January 6, 2016 at 8:40 am

    “Now is the time when everyone in the world gets to feel a bit Irish.”


    I feel cheered up after reading this post. I’m not sure how you feel about that.

    To your 2016, Tara *cold coffee aloft*

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2016 at 11:21 am

      I’m not sure how I feel about that either, Your Depterness. Still, figuring that out will take my mind off how fat I am. You should really heat that coffee, though. Unless your Christmas spend has resulted in the ESB being cut off.


  2. January 6, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Excellent post. I had such a good laugh. Great way to start the day. I haven’t made any writing resolutions for the new year, but anti resolution one seems like a good one to observe. Lol. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2016 at 11:22 am

      Good stuff, Niki. I hope your anti-resolutions bring you the same sort of peace of mind. I’m nearly finished hating myself, actually, because it’s a bit tiring.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. carousel1234
    January 6, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Go take a run and jump, January! I still love myself and I still love Tara Sparling! So there. Tara you’re a ticket.

    Liked by 2 people

    • January 6, 2016 at 11:23 am

      If only, Carolann. A plane ticket would be a VERY good thing to be right now.


  4. January 6, 2016 at 9:42 am

    All good advice. No.3 stands out in particular.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2016 at 11:24 am

      I love ignoring things, David. It’s one of the few things in life which is immediately rewarding. That’s why I’m going to do so much more of it in 2016.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. January 6, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Reblogged this on helenjnoble.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. January 6, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Having had an utterly crap Christmas* and New Year things can only get better. Which gives me a lift and inflates my lungs with a heddy aroma of optimism. In fact, I think this is the year I become the Next Big Thing (already started with the nose transplant, if you recall, and slowly working my way downwards).

    Self-loathing is an alien concept; there is no apparent Irish connection in the family, we’re of ancient Scandinavian and French aristocratic stock, with a bit of (lot of) Lancastrian muck and grime mixed in with the DNA. Which probably accounts for my rational laid-back approach to life and fondness for heavy industrial machinery. Was it DH Lawrence who said life is one long bath in front of a coal fire? Or something.

    *Because the DVD failed to arrive in time the highlight on Christmas Day was a thirty minute documentary about Burke and Hare.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2016 at 11:28 am

      I am still breathless with excitement about your nose transplant, Chris. I can’t WAIT to see what else you replace in 2016. However, I do hope you leave your Lancastrian murk and grime alone. That kind of grit can’t be bought. I know, because I tried once, and for some reason ended up with an EU agricultural subsidy and 14 tractor tires.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your DVD. Perhaps next time you’ll try the Internet. It’s the cool thing everyone’s doing this year.

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 6, 2016 at 11:40 am

        Do you know the DVD, a concert, wasn’t even on the internet. I think the internet is getting smaller every year.

        And I might blog about my enlargements this year, but don’t be surprised if I go quiet around June/July.

        Liked by 1 person

        • January 6, 2016 at 12:04 pm

          What?? The Internet’s getting smaller?? No wonder my clothes are tight! Why didn’t someone tell me this before!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. January 6, 2016 at 10:53 am

    “I will not attempt to write down ideas while I am driving.”

    Did you read a well-known author’s article in the Irish Times where she proudly said she did just that? On the M6? I was sitting there goping – “you’re *boasting* about breaking the law and being a danger to yourself and to others in a fast-moving vehicle on a fast moving road, all in the name of art”? Weeeeeeellll….OK then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2016 at 11:29 am

      I didn’t read that actually, Susan, I must go and look for it. The driving thing was on my mind only because every single decent idea I’ve had in the past 18 months has been on the road, particularly on motorways in the dark. I can foresee a time when I end up living in my car – but enough about author earnings. Now THAT’s an Irish Times article 😉


  8. January 6, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    I never do new year resolutions. Your anti-resolutions, though… You just might be on to something there!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. January 6, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Loved this! I want to print it out and frame it. Do we need anymore forms of writer torture? No! Thank you for making this stand!

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      As best a stand I can make whilst staying as laid-back as possible… That’s the plan for 2016 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  10. January 6, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Reblogged this on Jan Hawke INKorporated and commented:
    It seems my resolution not to make resolutions EVER is backfiring – I did admit to wanting to blog more myself, so does re-blogging someone else when I can’t think of a sparkling comment count…? Well I’m doing in anyway! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      Of course it counts, Jan. Might be more anti-resolution than resolution, but isn’t that what it’s all about?!


  11. January 6, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    HEAR, HEAR, sister!! I’m resolved to the resolution of making NO resolutions of any kind… at least of any merit. I’m easing into the new year, the limbo bar set so high I barely have to bend. Where it goes from there… well, we’ll just have to see.

    This bit here — “…most Irish people – well, above a certain age, anyway – feel a sense of inadequacy so deep, that the mere hint of pride in themselves will trigger a guilt trip so festooned with potholes that they end up with post-traumatic stress which forever thereafter makes them break out in a rash in their nether regions upon even hearing a compliment in the wind. Fact.” — should win you an award of some kind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      Oh goody. I love converts. And disciples. Another few blog posts and I’ll be able to introduce the slightly more contentious forms of worship such as sacrificial parking, and queue refusal. All awards gratefully accepted, by the way.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. January 6, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Can’t get on the bandwagon, Tara. I love January for writing. The grueling holiday marathon is over. There’s no yardwork, no festivals, the weather sucks. What’s left? Guilt free writing indulgence. Can Irish writers do the “guilt free” thing? Ha ha. Anyway, buck up, girl, and get out the old draft (not the dead horse) and start writing. Happy New Year. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      Nope. No method has been discovered to date for an Irish person to do guilt-free anything. Even giving to charity is laden with self-aggrandising shame. It would be exhausting if it weren’t for the rain taking your mind off it.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. January 6, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    I never prevent myself from reading Tara’s blog, and never ever avoind commenting when I have something to say.
    Though I may – as today – comment even if I don’t have anything to say 😉

    I never do new year resolutions, what are they for?
    Happy 2016, Tara!

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2016 at 11:48 pm

      And a very merry 2016 to you too! Thank you for commenting. I don’t see any difficulty with commenting when one has nothing to say. After all, I frequently blog when I’ve nothing to say either 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  14. January 6, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    Particularly appreciated not feeling like a lemon when introduced as a writer. None of us need be sour on ourselves! Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2016 at 11:03 pm

      You’re most welcome. I’m going to try feeling like an apple instead. So much sweeter.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. January 7, 2016 at 7:26 am

    Yes, yes, yes… all the way to 10. The joke is that my January guilt over my failure to market the book I published a year ago is so great that I mentioned it twice, commenting on blogs, resulting in… well at least two sales.

    Liked by 2 people

    • January 7, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      Well, that’s no good at all, Hilary. Sales resulting from desultory commenting is altogether too positive for January. Whatever is the world coming to? Next thing you know you’ll be getting reviewed in the Guardian, just from inadvertently quoting Jeremy Corbyn in a vox pop interview about artisan cheese.

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 7, 2016 at 9:26 pm

        Yes indeed. Poor Jeremy, it seems that anyone can put words into his mouth – especially in the Guardian.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. January 7, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    That cheers me up. The Scots are very like the Irish when it comes to the self-confidence issue. And January, especially this year when it has rained non-stop for weeks on end, is such a dark, depressing month anyway, that it doesn’t take much else to shove us into gloomy cobwebby cupboards full of mice that nibble at the remaining strands of self-esteem. Personally, I think hibernation is the answer, until the days lengthen, the sun remembers what it’s up there in the sky to do, and we can again face entering another short story competition and the inevitable failure to get anywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 7, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      You’re a woman after my own heart, Dorothy, but you knew that geographically before we even spoke. Nothing cheers me up like pessimism either.


  17. January 8, 2016 at 7:32 am

    Always good to have some guidelines to follow, Tara. I’ll print these off, and hang them on the wall.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 8, 2016 at 8:09 pm

      See that you do, Graeme. I recommend lamination too, if you’re into it. If not, Sellotaping the whole sheet might work.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. January 11, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Don’t dump the clothes ’til we get a look at them.
    Disguise could well come in handy and Tara2 could be a handy look, especially around Easter time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 11, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      Hmmm, good point. Ok, I’ll hold on to the leather trousers and the spandex boob tubes until further notice. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get a mysterious and yes strangely harmless wasting disease and the point will be moot.


  19. Ali Isaac
    January 12, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Yeah, I’m so over these new year resolution thingies… they never work. I set myself some goals instead…

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 12, 2016 at 6:33 pm

      Dangerous things, goals. They can lead to achievements. I find the very notion terrifying.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. January 12, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Anti resolutions for writer? What an idea! And made me smile 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 12, 2016 at 11:29 pm

      That’s good to hear, Cecilia. I do tire of the scowls!


  21. January 14, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Just gonna add my ‘love it.’ I have broken so many of these already. Adore number 2, at this stage I want to lie down and cry when I’m asked what it’s about, or even what it’s called! And frig it, I love January, a good moan is good for the soul!Happy belated New Year, Tara:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 14, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      And a happy new year to you too Bernadette! Hope you have a moan-free 2016 and a resolution-free deluge of success 😀


  22. January 16, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Made no resolutions. Result! Don’t hate myself and feeling quite chipper. Getting lots of dirty looks from people on the street (They’ve clearly made resolutions, fools) These anti-resolutions though…might take a stab at those 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 16, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      Jeepers, Jackie. You have to be careful. Walking around happy in January can be so dangerous. Could you not feign a frown or two just to soothe the savage beast?! On a side note, I am in awe. There’s beating the tyranny of January, and then there’s you, kicking it in the goolies so hard it whimpers 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 16, 2016 at 8:41 pm

        Goolies 😌 I miss good words like that! Another reason to smile. Thanks Tara!

        Liked by 1 person

        • January 16, 2016 at 8:42 pm

          I’d be glad, Jackie, if it wasn’t for my worry about more folk seeing you smiling 😉


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