As the year draws to a close, writers everywhere dream up something new to write: their list of resolutions.
Here are my top 5 resolutions for writers:
- Read – both for pleasure and for research. See how the experts do it and lose yourself in someone else’s universe.
- Write – even if you don’t feel inspired. Just plant your butt in that chair and get to work. Make the time to write every day.
- Rewrite – trust me, that first draft isn’t the perfect gem you think it is. The second one’s probably not that much better. Keep polishing until you’ve got something to be proud of.
- Jump – take the plunge and submit that project. Get an agent. Try for a publishing house.
- Save – for Pete’s sake, back up your computer! Make it a habit to do this at least once a week.
Author J.A. Konrath has the following to add to your list:
Newbie Writer Resolutions
- I will start/finish the damn book
- I will always have at least three stories on submission, while working on a fourth
- I will attend at least one writer’s conference, and introduce myself to agents, editors, and other writers
- I will subscribe to the magazines I submit to
- I will join a critique group. If one doesn’t exist, I will start one at the local bookstore or library
- I will finish every story I start
- I will listen to criticism
- I will create/update my website
- I will master the query process and search for an agent
- I’ll quit procrastinating in the form of research, outlines, synopses, taking classes, reading how-to books, talking about writing, and actually write something
- I will refuse to get discouraged, because I know JA Konrath wrote 9 novels, received almost 500 rejections, and penned over 1 million words before he sold a thing–and I’m a lot more talented than that guy
Professional Writer Resolutions
- I will keep my website updated
- I will keep up with my blog and social networks
- I will schedule bookstore signings, and while at the bookstore I’ll meet and greet the customers rather than sit dejected in the corner
- I will send out a newsletter, emphasizing what I have to offer rather than what I have for sale, and I won’t send out more than four a year
- I will learn to speak in public, even if I think I already know how
- I will make selling my books my responsibility, not my publisher’s
- I will stay in touch with my fans
- I will contact local libraries, and tell them I’m available for speaking engagements
- I will attend as many writing conferences as I can afford
- I will spend a large portion of my advance on self-promotion
- I will help out other writers
- I will not get jealous, will never compare myself to my peers, and will cleanse my soul of envy
- I will be accessible, amiable, and enthusiastic
- I will do one thing every day to self-promote I will always remember where I came from
Happy holidays to all my readers! I hope you have a great one, whichever one you celebrate, and that 2016 is even better than 2015.
In old San Francisco, the lads have decorated their house – probably not with the sort of decorations I’ve got on my tree, but you can bet the place is decked out top to bottom.
Carmela has the day off, but she’s left a feast for the lads to nibble on (in between parties). San Francisco’s favorite bachelors aren’t going to spend the day loafing by themselves, after all.
What sorts of presents do you think the lads will get this year?
As most of my followers already know, I’ve just gotten back from a “working vacation” where I spent most of my time writing Book 2. I got somewhere around five chapters done in just over two days.
Here are some ideas for planning your own (not too expensive) writing retreat:
- Take the train – this is what I did. Just book a short train trip, either round-trip or one-way and fly or drive the return trip. There won’t be any WiFi to distract you, and cellphone coverage will likely be spotty as well, so you’ll be forced to knuckle down and get that writing done.
- Get a room – splurge on a local hotel you’ve always wanted to try out. Even just a weekend away from the usual setting can be enough to stir your creative juices, and you won’t have to cook or make the bed.
- Rent an RV – just drive somewhere fairly scenic and park. Stay as long as you like. The downside is that you have to do your own cooking and cleaning.
- Go off season– you can often get a private cabin, condo or other location for cut-rate prices during the off season. Visit the beach during the winter, or the ski lodge during summer. You’re not going there for the socializing, anyway.
- Set your alerts – most of those travel-booking sites have alerts you can set up to email you when there are special deals or when prices drop below a certain level. Keep an eye on your favorite spots and book a retreat when prices are low.
- Go off the grid – if you can’t afford any of the above ideas, you can have a retreat at home if you steel yourself and shut off all the distractions. Set a time and shut off everything except the essentials. No internet, no cellphone, no TV or video games. You might even consider going whole-hog and writing longhand on paper, just to avoid temptation.
I recommend a retreat for every writer, even if it’s only for a few days, as mine has been. Just getting away from the routine can result in a great jump-start for your project. Oh, and that train trip? Going to do it again next year – you can bet on it!
Don’t know what to get that writer for Christmas? Here are some great ideas:
A genuine Leather Notebook
Aqua Notes for those ideas that pop up in the shower
An iPad and tablet workstation
Writer’s Block … literally
The Writer’s Toolbox kit
An Out of Print shirt or tote bag – out of print book titles
Writer’s Remedy – a bottle of magnetic words
Space Age Pen – writes at any angle, any temperature
Typewriter key jewelry
Something from Litographs – literary shirts, totes, even tattoos
The Rumpus Mug – just read it … your writer will agree
A good, solid bag
Bookends, of course
The Storymatic – 6 trillion stories in one box
Writer’s Block soap
A writer’s clock
An antique (or reproduction) portable writing desk
Journals, of course
A smartass mug
A really nice pen and/or pencil set
An actual typewriter
And, of course … books!
Books about writing or books just for reading
And for those with a little more money to spend:
- A session with a literary editor
- A stay at a writing retreat (or just a nice, quiet hotel)
- The mod notebook – a notebook that syncs to the cloud