by Annette Lyon
As you begin a new year of writing, you might want to make making some writing-related resolutions.
First, take stock of what worked for you in 2007 and what didn't. Do daily word count goals fit your lifestyle? What about weekly ones? Do you work better by tracking chapters or pages rather than words? What system works best for you?
Second, set goals for yourself--goals that, while reachable do require you to stretch a little.
Last, decide on rewards for each goal you meet. It's amazing how a little incentive can help yourself plant your behind in the chair and your hands on the keyboard. Your inner writer is a child. Bribe it! (I find chocolate works well. And pedicures.)
Consider adding some of the following when making your list:
- Read. A lot. It helps me to keep a running log of all the books I've read in the year. I've done this every year for over a decade, and I try to at least match if not beat the number of titles from one year to the next. A good writer is a good reader. Be sure to include writing books in your list. And don't forget to read works in the genre you write in. Add one or two books that stretch you.
- Take regular outings to places that bring something new to your senses: try new foods, visit a museum, take long a walk through a strange neighborhood, go on vacation to a place you've never been before. Stimulation to the senses does marvels for creativity.
- Proof every query, cover letter, and manuscript you send out. Many times.
- To help you send out the cleanest material possible, learn your punctuation and grammar rules. (A funny and great place to start: Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, by Lynne Truss.)
- Get up the guts to show your work to someone other than family and friends . . . someone who will give you the honest truth. Consider hiring a professional. It's worth the cost.
- Make at least one big goal for yourself: I'll finally finish this book/I'll query 20 agents/I'll attend 2 writing conferences. And attach deadlines to each goal.