As difficult as it may seem to believe, 2007 is nearing its end. Where the frick did the time go? As a writer, it’s time for me to look back on the last year and to start thinking about some resolutions to ring in the new year.
- Read. It is often said that the best writers are great readers. In order to master the language, you have to read it and fully submerse yourself in it. Subscribe to other writers’ blogs to get tips, subscribe to Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day emails, and just read anything to expand your mind. One of my favorite books about how to be a better writer is Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing. Make this the top of your list, and you’ll be sailing through the year with plenty of ideas.
- Write. As simple as it sounds, sitting down and writing can be an arduous task for some. Set aside time every day to master your craft. Keep a journal or tape recorder with you at all times to note those fleeting ideas as you drift off to sleep, wait in the doctor’s office, or sit in traffic. As a writer, you constantly have ideas jumbling through your brain, and by getting them down on paper or on tape, you can visit them at a later time when you’re ready to create your content.
- Accept. No one likes to hear negative critiques, especially if it is in relation with something you’ve poured your heart, time, money, etc. into (i.e. your writing). The only way to grow as a writer is to accept criticism and revise your work. If you have a relationship with your editor, the community, etc., perhaps you can ask for feedback by getting the praises first and the shortcomings second. Don’t look at the critique as an act of faultfinding; rather, look at it as an opportunity to improve your craft.
- Connect. By joining critique groups, attending conferences, and meeting up with other writers, you will be able to talk with like-minded people that share the same interests as you. Plus, depending on their areas of expertise, they can offer insight into your frustrations with content development. While you may be frustrated by not being able to come up with ideas, those who are closest to you (spouses, coworkers, friends, etc.) may be getting equally as frustrated in their inability to help you.
- Overcome. While writing may seem easy to some (my wonderful coworkers say I’m just a typist), it can be quite formidable at times. This gets increasingly more difficult with writer’s block, negative criticism, and rejection. Overcome all the fears that we face as writers, and just sit down and write. Stephen R. Covey said, “Opposition is a natural part of life. Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition – such as lifting weights – we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.” Develop your writing muscles by overcoming your fears.
I hope these help you to become a better writer in 2008. I know I plan on sticking to these resolutions, and I plan to enlist the help of my friends, family, and I guess I’ll even ask my coworkers to make sure I’m following my own advice. And you, my dear readers, can ask me anytime whether or not I am too.
Here’s to wishing you a prosperous and productive 2008!