It may seem impractical for a writer to make New Year’s resolutions, but not all writers live up to the stereotype of being disorganized and spaced-out, even after New Year’s Eve celebrations. In America, January 1 begins the start of a new tax year (or a reminder the quarterly taxes are due in two weeks), which helps give an impetus to start getting financial results from your writing efforts, whether at Associated Content or elsewhere.
The best way for writers to make New Year’s resolutions is to write them down. Writers have an unconscious tendency to pay more attention to the written word than to verbal pronouncements. This list can be kept where you would regularly see it throughout the year — like tacked up on the wall just behind your computer.
Write Every Day
The best thing a writer can to is to write every single day — unless you’re in traction. Then you have a good excuse not to. Otherwise, you should write every single day of the year. It doesn’t have to be a up-front paid article or a masterpiece — even a shopping list would do. Writing is not all about inspiration and talent, but about practice, practice and even more practice.
Write about anything. Make a blog entry, or a letter a long-lost relative or a poem to the cricket stuck in your bedroom and keeping you awake at night. Write about how silly it was of you to make a New Year’s resolution in the first place. Just as long as pen hits the paper (or digital letters hit digital paper) then you are writing.
Read Every Day
The old adage is that a writer should write what they know. How are you going to know what you know unless you read about it? But what if you want to write about cannibalism — not about other people, but eating bits your own body? Even Stephen King claims to have done research about how much of their own body a person can eat before they die by haing long discussions with surgeons and by reading medical journals. He turned all of this into an unforgettable little short story, “Survivor Type,” about a shipwrecked man stuck on an island slowly starving to death.
Some writers are put off by reading because it makes them feel as if they can never write as well as the book, magazine or online article they are currently reading. Don’t worry. Sooner or later you will read something truly awful that was smehow published. This will immediately bolster your confidence as you realize you can do better than that.
Identify Time-Sinks and Get Rid of Them
Ever feel like you don’t have enough time to read and write? It could be that you don’t have the time because you are wasting it elsewhere. These include taking masses of online surveys, reading piles of “how to write” books without actually writing, checking out countless websites that offer inspiring quotes and checking out your favourite 200 blogs daily.
Be merciless. Drop these time wasters and suddenly you’ll see that you have ample time for writing and reading every day. Even if you only write part-time for Textbroker or Demand Media Studios, you will be producing more articles and getting more financial returns. Soon, you will wonder why you were bothering with those time-sinks in the first place.
Happy New Year.