January 17th, 2013
We’re already halfway through January, but it’s never too late to set some resolutions for the New Year. Improve your writing and make 2013 your year with these resolutions.
1. Devote more hours of your day to reading.
Too much of my day is spent doing something disengaging and fruitless—late night browsing on Twitter—when I could be reading. If you’ve read one of my previous blogs, you know how much I value reading. It is invigorating, enriching, and bestows all the tools you need to write that story, poem, or blog post.
Make it a point to spend more time reading. Create a concrete schedule—“I will read for an hour at noon every day”—or set a daily goal—“I will read at least two hours every day.”
Need to keep track of your books? Join Goodreads, a site that combines social media with the wide world of books. You can rate and review books, maintain a list of to-reads, get recommendations, and contribute to conversations about your favorite stories. The community is growing at a phenomenal rate. In 2012, the Goodreads population doubled from its previous 6.5 million users to over 13 million users.
If your day just feels too packed to get in some reading, get some audio books from Audible. You can listen to entire series on the drive home, while you’re out for your jog, or when you’re doing chores at home. I have yet to dive into the audio book world, but considering I spend roughly two to three hours on the road—love that SoCal traffic—I could get a ton of reading done without even knowing it.
2. Take chances.
Experiment. Step out of your comfort zone. As a writer, it’s easy to fall into a formulaic pattern, especially if that formula appears to work, but if you’re not constantly challenging yourself, you won’t grow as a writer. Staying within the same lines gets boring, and boredom leads to stagnant content, a loss of passion, and a larger chance of developing the dreaded writer’s block. Worse, you’ll lose readers.
So try something new. Rearrange the formula. Write from a different point of view. Develop your voice. Change the form of each piece of content you write. Switch to an entirely different medium. Make it a mission to try something new with each piece of content.
3. Self-edit as you write.
Many of us have amazing editors who keep us on track and prevent the appearance of conspicuous errors. Take a little weight off their shoulders by learning to self-edit as you write. You deal with the little things—grammar, spelling, repetitive diction—and the editor handles any problems with the actual crux of the content. This may slow down your writing pace, but it will leave you with cleaner drafts, improved copy, and a grateful editor.
4. Connect with other writers.
We’ve heard it time and time again: social media is about connecting individuals. Last year, I somehow befriended several writers on Twitter. Aside from the commiseration, connecting with other writers brought inspiration, advice, and a support base that you can’t find with non-writer friends and family.
If you don’t already, follow your favorite writers and bloggers throughout their various social profiles, or take that extra step and send them a personal email. Turns out, writers love mail from their fans.
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