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Writing Tips

New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

With every New Year comes the opportunity for setting new goals! New Year’s resolutions are a great start for taking action. Whether you want to eat healthier, read more books, or save money, setting a goal after the Christmas holidays lets you start the New Year fresh and ready for a challenge! Making New Year’s resolutions can be very useful for writers as well! Striving to adopt better writing habits can completely transform your process, and the beginning of a new year is a great time to start! Here are ten New Year’s resolutions that every writer should consider in 2015!

if not now when

1. Don’t say ‘later’:

Is there a project that you’ve had in mind for a while, but put off in favour of other things? Do you have an idea that you haven’t acted on because other pieces took priority? Make time for these things! Any idea that you have is important, and each one should be given a chance. Even if you have more than one project on the go, try to avoid filling ideas away for a rainy day. You’ll feel more accomplished if you can be proactive about your new ideas, rather than procrastinating them.

2. Focus:

If you are going to dedicate time to your writing, go all the way! Everyone gets distracted, but if your writing is important to you, allot time specifically for that. You’ll make more progress if you can silence your phone, sign out of Facebook, and really concentrate. Focusing on your work shouldn’t be a chore, but little distractions can be difficult to overcome. Try dedicating a specific amount of time just to writing, and allow timed breaks to rest.

silence phone

3. Try something new:

Every writer has a style or genre of choice. That doesn’t mean that you should shy away from trying new things! Writing in a new style can be a positive experience that opens you up to new projects and helps you realize new potential. It can also act as a refresher for your main projects. Maybe taking a break from what you’re used to will make you realize what you like about your main writing style, or give you some time to remember what you enjoy about it? Either way, you will gain experience with each new style or genre you attempt!

4. Give yourself some credit:

It’s important to remain humble and open to constructive criticism, but you should avoid being too hard on yourself. Many writers fail to give their work enough credit, particularly during difficult ‘writer’s block’. Meeting a speed bump or two in your process doesn’t mean you’re a poor writer. As long as you’re working hard and keeping your ego at a healthy level, there’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a pat on the back.

5. Be humble:

You want to strike a healthy balance between self-support and humility. You can be your own cheerleader, but remember that you don’t know everything. If someone gives you corrections, edits, or suggestions, genuinely consider applying them before casting them aside. Most people who offer feedback are trying to help you!

6. Seek new inspiration:

Your writing can benefit from new life experiences. If you’re feeling de-motivated or at a loss for ideas, don’t sit passively and wait for a sudden stroke of genius. Actively seek that new inspiration! Travel somewhere new, see a recommended movie, or research something that you’ve always wanted to know more about. You never know where you’ll find the next thing that sparks your passion for a new project, or a fresh wave of confidence in an old one.

travel writing

7. Remember to read:

If you’re going to be a writer, it’s helpful to know what other people are writing too! You don’t have to read that lengthy classic novel that doesn’t interest you, or the trendy blog that everyone is talking about, but reading something gets your mind working. Read pieces of the same style and genre as yours to get a feel for the environment that your own work will be released into. Read things from other areas to diversify your knowledge and avoid overloading yourself with the same material every day. Reading exposes you to new vocabulary, new writers, and new subjects that maybe you’d like to try writing about yourself!

8. Try side projects:

Taking on too many writing projects at once, particularly if they’re very different, can make you feel scattered. That doesn’t mean you should only work on a single project at a time until it is finished. Having a central piece that takes your primary focus is good, but it can also be beneficial to have some smaller side projects on the go. This way, you can increase your productivity by writing something else when your main project feels overwhelming, instead of stepping away from writing all together. As long as your side projects don’t interfere with the goals or deadlines you’ve set for your main work, having a bit of leisure writing can be both enjoyable and productive.

9. Make yourself some space:

The environment that you’re writing in can play a huge role in your productivity! It might feel comfortable to type at your laptop in bed, but it also might not be the ideal place for you to concentrate to the best of your ability. At the same time, you don’t want to sit somewhere completely uncomfortable in an attempt to bully yourself into focusing on your work. You will write better if you can relax enough that your surroundings aren’t distracting, but not so much that your attention wanders to other things. Try setting up a space dedicated specifically to your writing time, in order to help you maximize your productivity.

work space

10. Finish what you started:

Try not to leave projects lying around unfinished! It’s okay to take a break from writing a particular piece while you work on something else or seek inspiration, but leaving something completely unfinished can be demotivating when you come across it later. When you decide to put a project aside, commit yourself to at least checking in on it. If you leave a piece indefinitely and don’t read it over for many months, you might find it difficult to come back to and eventually choose to abandon the project. At least reading through your work, making small changes, or listing ideas can help you stay invested in the piece, even if you take a lengthy break from actually writing material that will be used.

These are just a few suggestions to help you think of positive writing habits to adopt in the New Year! Resolutions are personal, so think of what you’d like to achieve in 2015 and plan the steps you’ll take to reach those goals!

If you found these tips helpful, check out our selections of writing courses offered by Winghill Writing School for even more ways to improve your writing skills!

Posted on December 8, 2014 by Ana Scholtes

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