Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Location: Books & Such Main Office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
My husband told me on New Year’s Day that he read somewhere (how’s that for citing a source?) that 40% of those who make New Year’s resolutions keep those promises to themselves for at least six months.
To help you to keep the resolutions you made regarding your writing, I have five tips.
- Follow the BIC Principle. The most important way to improve any aspect of your writing is to put your Butt in Chair. (For the dainty among us, you could call it the SIC Principle, Seat in Chair.) If you don’t sit down and write, you can hardly make the best-seller list or craft a better sentence, can you?
- Let someone else read your material. I know one writer who often becomes discouraged that she’ll ever be a published author. To keep herself motivated, she lets astute readers give her feedback. They consistently return her manuscripts with high praise–and some suggestions. It’s a winning combo.
- Read widely. There’s nothing like reading a marvelous novel to remind you that the sky’s the limit when it comes to creative expression. Or read a nonfiction book that causes you to rethink your worldview. Yeah, your manuscript could have the same affect on someone. Read newspapers, read blogs, read magazines. Read, read, read.
- Be accountable. Find a writing partner who wants to be serious about the business of creating on paper. Set individual goals (e.g., so many words per day, or to finish your rewrite within the month) and then check in with each other regularly to cheer yourselves on.
- Write your passion. Sometimes we become so tuned into the market that we set aside what we feel passionate about and try to write what we think publishers want, what readers want, what seems highly marketable–everything but what you, the author, wants. I believe writers should pay attention to the market. But they should also listen to their hearts. That’s where the really great stuff resides.
So now it’s your turn. What are other good writerly resolutions?
Debra E Marvin
Thanks. I like you. No nonsense. And, confirmation I’m on the right track! What’s not to love about that?
Janet, you didn’t leave much off that I can think of. Maybe I’d add, Beware of Dreaded Distractions — don’t find a ‘new show’ to watch, close your email and internet down if that bobbing envelope is too much temptation.
James Andrew Wilson
Spend more time in Word than on Facebook.
Thanks for the great tips, Janet! I’m happy to say I’m doing all five.
For me, this year is all about being “intentional.” I realized that it wasn’t enough to say “I want to finish this manuscript.” I had to have a plan. HOW am I going to finish this manuscript? To that end, I’m making myself write at least 1000 words a day, Monday – Friday (which goes right back to the BIC principle!) So far, so good.
BTW, I’m enjoying the blog. Glad Books & Such has a presence in the blogosphere!
Teri D. Smith
I’m doing the big five you suggested so I’ll go with some small ones: improve the metaphors and similes, check each scene to see if the senses come into play, go over all dialogue to improve wit and conciseness, submit proposals, and (should the Lord open the way) attend Mr. Hermon at last.
Okay so the last wasn’t small.
Thanks for doing this. Teri