Post by Trai
So for 2011, here’s a list of the Top 11 Writer’s Resolutions you can choose from, or tailor to your own devices:
11. Stop procrastinating. This ranges from checking email and Facebook compulsively to never even sitting down at the computer because there’s always something else that needs doing. My advice: don’t aim to try to quit cold turkey. Just one day at a time: surprise yourself, just plop down and get a little work done. It’ll feel so good, it might just become your new addiction.
10. Meet a word count. The trick to this is not to make the word count too intimidating. I did NaNoWriMo this year, but do I think I could do hit 50K every month? No way. But I sure can hit 5,000 words in a month. In fact, I might sit down to jam out 500 words one day, and surprise myself with pounding out 3000.
9. Finish that book. Finishing A Book is a tall order for anyone, even the pros. So how about looking harder at #10, be diligent and before you know it, you’ll have gotten much further than you could have guessed, and won’t carry the quilt of not Finishing A Book.
8. Hire an editor. Everyone should have a pro read their stuff before they take their shot at the market; it could be the best money you ever spend to help you in your writerly goals.
7. Write something totally outside of your comfort zone. I wrote a romance short story the other day. It sucked. But this is what I learned: my sensibilities tend toward the intellectual, and I could use more emotional connections between my characters. A great lesson to learn, one that will translate to all my writing. Writing outside of your comfort zone will teach you surprising things about your writing.
6. Take classes. Classes can offer many “ah ha” moments, but they also serve the purpose of keeping your mind turned to your mission. It might also help you expand that all important writer’s community.
5. Find a writer’s group. Some writer’s groups are so great, they take the place of an editor, a psychiatrist and a life coach. They are great ways to enforce a deadline and help you develop your craft, and learning to critique other’s work is a vital part of being a writer. Plus, community = good.
4. Take your work to market. There’s nothing like a publication, or even just professional feedback, to make you feel more like a writer.
3. Find an agent. If you’ve got a completed book of poetry or fiction, or a nonfiction proposal, it is imperative you go look for an agent. However, you don’t have to make it intimidating. Like your word count, just sneak out a letter or two while your critical internal editor or terrified inner child isn’t looking.
2. Figure out what it is you want to write. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? But for many writers, we get stuck writing in genres that don’t excite us, or in mediums that don’t show our skills to their best advantage. What story has you thinking about it when you go to bed and when you get up in the morning? Follow the heat, no matter what it is.
1. Live the writer’s life. Even if you do just two or three of the above, you’ll already be living the writer’s life. This is it, friends – this is what writers do. So use 2011 to really embrace the joys and master the frustrations of our chosen field. Facebook can wait.
Have a wonderful, productive, successful 2011, and be sure to tell us at NCW all about your successes and your resolutions – we want to hear!