Alright writers, it's officially that time of year when we're expected to reflect on 2015 and figure out how to make 2016 even better.
While you're signing up for a new gym membership and promising yourself that this year you'll be less stressed, here are 3 New Year's Resolutions that will bring you one step closer to making your writing dreams a reality.
1) Read More Books
You may think that the only thing that will make your writing dreams come true is knocking out that best seller, but if you don't know what your future readers are actually reading, your chances of writing that best seller go down.
Think of every book you read as a series of bets:
- Out of thousands of queries and hundreds of manuscripts, a literary agent bet a publisher would buy that book
- Out of thousands of books that publisher could have bought, a publisher bet thousands of readers would want to read that story
Every book you read is a chance to learn what that author did that helped them break through. For that reason, if you want to be a writer you should be reading at least 1 book a month.
Wondering what books those should be?
Start with the best!
Click here to see to see the finalist and winners of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards, the only major book awards decided by readers. If you look through the finalists and winner in your target genre, you'll see 20 books your future readers loved last year.
Your job is to read at least 12, so have fun making your way down that list!
2) Write A Little Everyday
I know this resolution seems as doomed-to-fail as pretending you're about to start going to the gym everyday, but this is something you can do (technically, so is the gym, but you know what I mean)
I once attended a writing seminar lead by, David Black, an award-winning journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and producer. When asked what his best advice for writers was, David answered:
"Write 1 page everyday. If you write 1 page everyday, after 365 days you'll have an entire book."
No matter what stage of your life you're in, I'm going to guess you don't have complete control over your schedule. There will be days when your job keeps you late, or classes and homework take their toll. You can't always finish that chapter and you can't always do NaNoWrimo.
But you can always write 1 page. And if not a page, just 1 sentence.
If you can make this simple shift, you guarantee that when 2017 rolls around you'll have one new novel under your belt.
3) Connect with other Writers
It's easy to think that writing is a solitary activity when you're staring at your blank Word document all day, but if you make an honest effort you can join a writing community filled with love, support, and encouragement for you and your writing goals.
Connecting with other writers in an incredible experience because it allows you to interact with other people who either share your dream, or have overcome all the road blocks you're currently dealing with. When you're engaged in a writing community, you gain support, advice, and feedback that can make the difference when it's time to get your story published.
Being a member of this blog is one way you're already involved in a writing community, but you can get even more involved in the writing community by exploring the options below:
Go to a Writers Conference
Writers conferences are an amazing way to engage with the writing community because they allow you to:
- Meet & Network with other writers who are passionate about their craft
- Learn tips and tricks from published authors and editors
- Pitch you manuscript to agents looking to sign new clients
- Be exposed to a community that can help you take your writing career to the next level
Check out this great list of writers conferences in 2016. Find the one closest to you and sign up for an amazing experience!
Get on Twitter
I spent several years of my life being against Twitter. I didn't see the purpose of yet another social media site, but now I realize I was wrong. Twitter is an open forum, a way to join and converse with communities no matter who you are or what you've done.
The writing community happens to be incredibly active on Twitter. Whether your writing your first draft or querying agents, you'll find readers, writers, publishers, agents, and more all tweeting about the very thing we love to do.
So if a writer's conference isn't in the budget, start following your favorite authors, writers, agents, and bloggers and you'll quickly find yourself engaged in a new writing community.
There you have it! Good luck with your writing in the New Year and stay tuned for more tips, tools, and tricks to make your writing dream a reality!