The new year is right around the corner. Are you ready? Do you have goals for the next 12 months? I’m not a big fan of resolutions, but there are times when we need to edit, make changes, update and evaluate our writing.
What can you do in the next year? Here are some key areas to look at:
- Make your writing your number 1 priority. As E.L. Doctorow said, “A writer is someone who writes. Planning to write is not writing. Outlining is not writing. Researching is not writing. Talking to people about what you’re doing is not writing. Writing is writing.” If you’re like me, you need deadlines. Set up a schedule that you can work with.
- Read more books. As Stephen King says, if you want to be a better writer, you have to do two things – write a lot and read a lot. He reads about 80 books a year. How many books to you read? I read both fiction and nonfiction. I’m too slow of a reader to his King’s mark, but I read about 40 books a year. I keep a spreadsheet! Good writers are good readers.
- Improve your writing with feedback. Do you belong to a critique group? I belong to a group with 8 writers, and outside of that I have another critique partner. I get feedback from various sources. Without honest criticism, you won’t know what needs to be fixed. Always remember to be open-minded to other’s comments. Take what works, what feels right to you, and leave the rest. Never take it personal, though. They’re critiquing your writing, not you!
- Try a new genre. Don’t get so embedded in one genre that you can’t try something new. Variety is the spice of life, after all.
- Live healthy. Eat less junk food, less sugar, less alcohol and exercise regularly. Walk every day, even if it’s only on the treadmill in the corner of the room. Walk! It’s good for the heart and for the brain. Sharp writing requires a sharp mind.
- Keep learning. Take classes, attend writing conferences, read craft books. There are great writing classes online. We can always learn something new.
- Write it down. Studies show that people who set specific goals and actually write them down are more likely to achieve them than those who don’t. Write it down. Speak it out loud. There is truly power in the spoken and written word. Let the universe and your spirit know exactly what you want to accomplish. Then do it!