I’m calling these resolutions because it’s that time of year. But they’re more a collection of things I know I need to do to “maximise my potential” (sorry that’s a phrase from a previous incarnation as a marketing person). Generally I’m not a great fan of “resolutions” it smacks of joining the gym in January, only to find you go twice and never again, but still pay the monthly fee. If you’re going to do something like that I think you need more motivation than simply “it’s that time of year”. Anyway, these are my, whatever you want to call them. Perhaps some might resonate. If you have favourites of your own maybe you would share them with me.
1) Organise my work space
Good to begin with one I have already made a start on, gives me hope. I am not the tidiest person. And I know this works against me. Working in a mess is a distraction in itself. It sits there accusing you of not sorting it out. You wonder what’s lurking. You can’t find things. You stuff things ‘out of sight out of mind’. Anyway, you know the story. So I’m sorting it out, giving myself the work environment that will encourage me to get on and write. I might even treat myself to a decent desk (not the current old Ikea thing that one of my sons had when he was at school).
2) Start thinking of myself as a writer
Strange one perhaps. But I think many of us apply caveats such as: Aspiring writer, would be writer, part-time writer, struggling writer, etc. etc. as if somehow we haven’t quite earned the badge. So no, I AM A WRITER. If I commit to that thought then who knows what might follow.
3) Keep working at the blog
If you’ve read my ‘5 Reasons why writers should blog’ you’ll know that it has become much more than I ever imagined when I started. The trick now is to keep it progressing and growing, finding those nuggets that are interesting to write and that, hopefully, you find interesting to read. Any suggestions for blog articles are welcome.
4) Write more, prevaricate less
Sometimes it’s easy, I sit at the desk and ideas just flow out of the ether. Other times its hard, I have to work at it. I can’t see where the story is going and I need to stop and plan. Its then that I’m easily, too easily, distracted. Twitter, the guitar, those everyday tasks we all have. But that’s not what I sat down to do. So, don’t let myself get so easily distracted.
5) Plan a story from start to finish
You might think as a writer I do this anyway. But I don’t. I start with an idea, I might have an inkling where it’s going, but basically I let it take me on a journey. I often start with a ‘what if?’ and then just write. If you’ve read Stephen King’s book on writing this is kind of his approach. Sometimes it works, but sometimes I get stuck (back to 4)). So I want to give the planning approach a go. Having read other authors who use this method, you don’t have to completely stick to it. However, I imagine it can free you up to, well write.
6) Try to find outlets for my short stories
I am building quite a collection of these. Often written in response to the ‘word of the week’ from my writing group. Some are on the web site. Others I think could be expanded. Others need working on. But it seems a shame just to let them fester on my hard drive. Occasionally I have sent them off to Science Fiction magazines, but I admit I have aimed high and so have had rejections. I know you need to keep trying. Also, I think I need to spread the net a bit wider, find other publications that individual stories might appeal to. Again, any help here would be much appreciated.
7) Explore self marketing and work at it
I’ve published my first two books. I’ve done a few simple things aimed at self marketing with limited success, including joining the Independent Author Network (#IAN1, which seems pretty good value at $24.99 one off fee). I hate to say it but I think I need a plan, there I’ve said it. In many ways I think this should be at the top of the list. However, I’m a writer and that is what I want to do more of. I read (in a blog somewhere) that time wise you should spend about 70% of your writing time doing just that, writing and 30% on the marketing. Me, I always like the 80/20 rule, but somewhere around that mark seems about right. I’ve just got to know where to start – all ideas gratefully received
8) Setting targets for my writing
Now at the moment I’m not saying what those are. I think it’s something I need to experiment with. Up till now I couldn’t tell you what my average number of words are for any given period (I suspect it’s not as good as I would like to think it is). However, there could be nothing worse that setting a number of words per day / week / month that you have no hope of achieving. I will report back.
Right, I think that’s enough to be going on with. If I can achieve those / improve in those areas, 2014 should be pretty good. All the best for your 2014.