It’s the end of the year and now is the time to start making lists of resolutions. Some will be easy to keep, some will simply never be done (I’m looking at you bitten nails).
For me, 2013 will be the year I return to writing. NaNoWriMo kickstarted everything, but now I need to set tangible goals and get some original work out.
If you’re setting a writing goal, here are some ways to keep your resolution and make yourself a writing machine (Gutenberg style).
1. Get Inspired
The easiest way to keep writing is to find new ways to continually motivate and provoke new ideas.
- Start following new blogs or websites. They don’t have to be writing related, it can be design or architecture–something that you can extrapolate ideas from. Try looking for a website on a topic you normally don’t follow, or know much about, and pull ideas from there. Find topics that challenge you, that make you question some of your world views
- Get on Pinterest. Pinterest allows you to take (or ‘pin’) images from various websites onto a personal ‘pin board’. Pinterest allows you to group images together so you have an archive of inspirational images that you can keep referring to–otherwise known as a mood board. As a bonus, Pinterest now allows private ‘pin boards’ so if you want to keep your ideas to yourself you can.
- Use Evernote’s webclipper. It’s similar to Pinterest but it works for articles and webpages as well as images. The images are saved in an Evernote notebook that you can sync across devices.
2. Be Active
Though exercise has been known to sharpen focus and decision making skills as well as provide endorphins, I don’t just mean physical activity. Engage in active reading. Actively watch movies and TV shows. Active reading and watching means the reader is engaging with the information provided; they are following up on subjects and questioning the materials. Media doesn’t have to be a one-way interaction.
3. Start Critiquing
Join a writing or critiquing group either in your town or online. Engaging with other writers at the same stage as you can provide an opportunity to network as well as emotional back up.
It also allows you to see the revision process, as a work is taken through the various rough drafts to the finished product. Most online critiquing groups enforce a critique ratio, where you need to critique a minimum number of works before having your own work reviewed. There are numerous pros and cons to joining a local or online critique group–something I’ll cover later.
You can find local writing groups through websites likes Meetup.com or finding a local Reddit forum. Most towns and cities have some sort of Indie Writing Groups or genred writing group that caters to local authors.
There are plenty of online critique groups that cater to fiction writers. Before submitting your work or information, as with any internet site, be wary of scams and always protect your work online. Always read the membership rules carefully and check the FAQ to see if they address copyrighting or licensing of written work. If you’re still not comfortable submitting your work, try contacting the website administrator to clarify whether your work is being made public and how it’s protected.
Below are some well-known online critiquing groups.
Making a resolution and keeping a resolution are vastly different things. Keeping yourself motivated will keep you on track, but more importantly, it will keep you interested.