I try not to make New Year’s resolutions, but it’s good to have some writing goals. The important thing, is to make them attainable, otherwise you’ll feel like a failure, when you don’t win the Man Booker Prize and get a three-book deal by October. Instead, make small changes to how you approach your writing for 2015.
Here’s my six step plan:
- Write: it’s the first rule of write club. It’s the last rule of write club. And it’s the most important rule of write club. If you don’t write, you’re not a writer and will never be a writer. So just write.
- Read: I have met people who want to write, but never read. I’ll give you a moment to think that one over. So, I don’t feel like I’m stating the bleeding obvious, by saying – read. Read a lot. Read widely. And read the sort of thing you’d like to write. But don’t stick with what you know, instead, read non-fiction and poetry and sci-fi and pulpy airport fiction and stuff for children and teens and literary stuff. And read critically (thanks Chuck Wendig) – that’s how reading helps you become a better writer.
- Try something new: I don’t mean give up on your current project and leap into something to feel that rush of the new, only to become stuck half-way through and repeat ad infinitum. I mean, flex your underused writer’s muscles. If you always write long form, try writing a short story. Next time you get stuck on your WIP, you could dabble in writing a poem or a play. Write the script for an advert or a classified’s ad for something bizarre. It could spark an idea and will hone your skills as a writer.
- Get off social media: The internet is a great tool, but it’s also a time-eater. Social media is the procrastinator’s drug of choice and although everyone tells you it’s the best way to promote yourself as a writer, if it stops you from writing, then it needs to go.
- Don’t wait for the muse: You need to write, even when you don’t feel like writing. I’m sorry, but waiting for the muse, is just a fast-track to not getting your project finished. Waiting for the muse can be like waiting for Godot – futile and just another form of procrastination. If you really are blocked on your current project, go to step 3, do not reverse step 4.
- Reward yourself: When you have a good day of writing, take a moment to appreciate it. Go to your favourite cafe. Share your accomplishment with someone who understands (that may not always be your partner or family – try another writer). Make a note of your good days. The more you write, the more good days you’ll have. Enjoy them.
What changes are you going to make for writing in 2015?