10 Tips To Help You Keep Your New Year’s Writing Resolutions
2015 came with a bang and we’re already sprinting through the first month of the year. Most make New Year’s resolutions that are focused on one’s waistline. However, we writers are always trying to boost our daily word counts.
What are your writing resolutions for the New Year?
Chances are that you’ve already failed at making writing a habit this year. Life gets in the way, kids don’t understand your need for space, computers explode, or your dog likes to bark at anything that moves.
The point is that life is distracting and finding a moment to sit and write can be hard.
Here are 10 tips to help you beat the distraction and keep your New Year’s writing resolutions:
- Read. Reading sounds counterintuitive doesn’t it? But the fact is that reading sparks creativity and teaches us how to write. We can find new ways of explaining emotions or scenes through reading other masters of the craft. We gain ideas when we read because reading ignites the imagination. We are inspired and helped out of our writing ruts when we take time to read. As the prolific author Stephen King says, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
- Schedule a writing session. Life gets in the way of a daily writing habit, but scheduling writing sessions can dismiss most of life’s distractions. When we treat our writing times like we would a business meeting, we are telling ourselves and the world that what we write is important. We are saying that our writing time is sacred and that we cannot be bothered. This may not work with kids in the house, but it will work for the other 80 percent of distractions out there.
- Utilize writing prompts. We all get that dreaded writer’s block at some point when we write. Times like this can be frustrating, but they don’t have to last long. There are many websites and books that offer daily writing prompts to help get our imagination moving. Utilizing writing prompts in a daily workflow allows for more writing and less staring at the wall or out the window.
- Write everything down. Everything. Sometimes the simple act of rote writing helps to inspire creativity. Stream-of-consciousness write anything and everything that is in your brain. It doesn’t matter how boring or weird it is. The point is that sometimes we just need to write even if it’s not art at first sight.
- Write by hand. Or try typing if you always write by hand. Changing our methods of writing allows for different tactile responses that can mean more creativity.
- Keep a journal. One way to maintain a daily writing goal is to keep a journal. Write down moments of the day and let the mundane activities flow into something creative. Sometimes journal entries begin with boring events and end with creative poems or stories.
- Change your location. The home office, or hovel if you will, starts to confine more than just your body. Writing in the same workplace day after day can stifle creativity. Walk or drive to a coffee shop or head to a park to sit down and write. Doing so can dramatically improve your writing for the day and longer.
- Get accountable. Join a writer’s group or make a writing pact with a friend. Setting a writing deadline by yourself is easily overlooked, but you’re more motivated when you have set deadlines with friends. Make it interesting by setting up financial penalties when someone misses a deadline. A struggling writer will never miss a deadline that way.
- Get dressed. One of the best things about being a writer is that we can wear—or not wear—whatever we want. There’s little better than waking up and heading to the office in your pajamas. However, that can mess with your writing. Similar to scheduling writing times, getting dressed—and showered—before we write gives us a sense of importance in what we’re writing and an added oomph in productivity.
- Take a break. Don’t force it too much. Take a break if nothing is coming to you and you’re struggling. There’s no sense in adding stress to your writer’s block. Take a walk around the block, play with your kids, spend time with your partner, or kick a ball around with your pet. Chances are that you’ll get an idea that you’ll be running to write down.
These are just some ideas that will help you to keep your New Year’s writing resolutions. There are many more that can be shared. Share some of your best writing tips in the comments below.
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