Monday, December 31, 2007

Writing Resolutions

I'm back from my brief hiatus, fully recovered from the flu, back from seeing family, and just in time for the writer's New Year's resolutions. I did it last year and like J.A. Konrath, I've decided to make it a tradition and add a few more:
  • Never Give Up Sure, there have been plenty of times when I've considered packing up my laptop, getting out my resume and searching for a real job. There have been rejections that hit below the belt, articles that were cut at the last minute, and books that haven't sold. But nothing worth having is easily obtained. You have to fight for it.
  • Be More Productive Maybe this New Year's eve, instead of going out and partying, you can spend it getting organized and coming up with a plan. It's a given that there aren't enough hours in the day, but the real problem is, how you spend those hours. Take some time and organize your desk, get a day planner, make a task manager and a set of future goals. If you spend less time trying to find a dictionary or trying to remember what article was due when, you can spend more time actually writing.
  • Submit Submit Submit Even if you don't have a book finished, you should still be submitting on a regular basis. Short stories, book reviews, magazine articles, anything that can put your name out there and earn you a publication credit. Never been published? Online zines don't pay, but they're a lot more likely to take a chance on a newbie writer. Once you get your foot in the door, you can go after the paying gigs.
  • Promote Promote Promote This applies to the newbies as well as the published writers. People have bad memories and even worse brand loyalty, so writers constantly have to promote in order to remind the reading public who they are. Don't have a book coming out? Blog, write articles, talk on a panel, make yourself known. Still getting started? Attend conferences, submit short stories, comment on author blogs, sign up for Backspace, put yourself out there as an aspiring novelist. The people you meet not only are the ones you'll be looking to for blurbs, but they're readers as well.
  • Team Up Two heads are better than one and ten are even better. This year, be a part of a writing community by attending readings, forming a critique group and going to writer's conferences. The act of writing may be a solo sport, but the rest of the job doesn't have to be.
  • Read and Write More As always, the more you read and the more you write, the better you get. Everyone, even Norah Roberts and James Patterson, could stand to read and write a little more. Did you write a thousand words a day consistently in 2007? Try for 1500 in 2008. Read about a book a month last year? Try to up it to two.

Have a wonderful and productive new year and feel free to leave your own writing resolutions.

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