5 New Year Resolutions for Writers
Posted by Amanda Ellison
Do you have any idea how many people expect to give up on their new year resolutions?
That means, however, that 57% are determined to tackle those pledges they make as they usher in another year. For writers, it's the perfect opportunity to resolve to take positive steps to improve their writing life and habits.
Not sure what your resolutions should be? My five might give you some ideas - and help you be one of the 57%!
Philip Larkin once said that 'originality is being different from oneself, not others'. While I would fully advocate remaining true to oneself, writing is an exercise and certain muscles can become lazy if not given the occasional workout. Try writing in a different genre - for example, if you normally write poetry then try turning it into copywriting; if you write long-form blogs then try haiku.
2. Overcome Procrastination
Dithering and putting off writing can be deadly - and wastes countless productive hours. Many of us are guilty of this. But conquering procrastination can make a measurable difference to your output as a writer. Easier said than done, of course, but there are strategies that can help. Much like revising for exams, build in regular breaks in your schedule, and introduce milestone rewards. TomatoTimer is a great free resource for helping you to write in sprints. Another free tool to help keep you on task is the NaNoWriMo Calculator which helps you set a schedule for your writing task. And it goes without saying: Keep distractions out of sight!
3. Think Like a Writer
All too often, writers describe themselves as 'aspiring'. If you are putting pen to paper, you're a writer. You may not have been published. You may not have followers. So what? Regardless as to whether others consider you to be an effective writer or are familiar with your work, think like a writer. Call yourself a writer. Confidence breeds confidence.
4. Read Deeply and Widely
Advising a writer to read more sounds obvious.
And it is.
But how often do squeeze in some reading when the opportunity presents itself? Probably not quite as often as you could. Driving? Listen to an audio-book. On a lunch break? Cram in a chapter.
And don't limit yourself to your usual genre or genres. read from a range of different categories. At the same time, read deeply within your own niche.
No matter what you read, keep a notebook to hand and write down any interesting ideas or vocabulary you encounter.
Reading and writing are two sides of the same coin, as you already know. Set aside time to ensure that the reading aspect doesn't lapse.
5. Embrace Self-Promotion
Some writers are introverted; some are even reclusive. John Green said that writers are people that have something to say but don't want to look people in the eye while saying it. This is not true of all writers, of course. But whatever your level of introversion there is no getting away from the fact that the world of social media and self-promotion is here to stay. Whether we like it or not, the writing industry is highly competitive - and definitely saturated - and writers ignore that fact at their peril. If you don't have a marketing strategy, then get one. Quickly.
Charles Bukowski had this to say:
'The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.'
Aggrandise yourself like a stupid person.
And Happy New Year!