When Writer’s Relief decided to make a list of nine New Year’s resolutions, we first thought of old chestnuts such as giving up smoking (which gets complicated when one doesn’t smoke) and losing weight (easily accomplished by shedding one’s shoes at airport security).
But we’d rather offer nine writing-related resolutions that will help you improve your already-stellar work habits in 2012. Superstar rockers U2 sang that “nothing changes on New Year’s Day,” but we’d like to believe otherwise!
1. When you’re at your computer, don’t listen to great but distracting music such as…“New Year’s Day” by U2. Softer music, wordless music, or no music at all might be better for maintaining the concentration you need. And, yes, we resolve to ignore jokes about playing “The Sound of Silence” while you work.
2. Simon & Garfunkel also sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” which reminds us that it’s better to get a glass of water before you sit down to write instead of using thirst as an excuse to rise from your desk. If the water accidentally spills on your keyboard, please resolve not to gripe at us for the above advice.
3. Get more sleep! It’s hard finding enough hours to write (especially if you also have a day job and family responsibilities), but you’ll be more creative and productive with adequate shut-eye. Having your dozing head hit the keyboard could result in deathless prose such as “Why am I typing with my nose?”
4. Get more exercise! A relaxing walk will not only loosen your muscles but might loosen your brain enough for more ideas to enter. And to avoid fretting about forgetting those ideas before you return from the stroll, bring a notebook, digital voice recorder, or your living, breathing “Stenographers ‘R’ Us” purchase.
5. Reduce the number of typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors in your writing. Yule bee gladd u didd! Read more: How To Perfect Your Personal Proofreading.
6. Read, read, and then read some more. This will directly or indirectly help your writing, even though you might feel frustrated reading things that seem better than what you’re writing. Read books, short stories, essays, poems, the news, blogs, the back of cereal boxes, and blogs about the back of cereal boxes. Read more: How To Get The Most Out Of Your Reading.
7. You might also feel frustrated if you read a book/poem/story that is worse than what you’re writing but was published anyway because a celebrity (or ghostwriter for a celebrity) authored it. Resolve to work harder to overcome the lack-of-fame disadvantage. And if a kid comes to your door this Halloween dressed as a ghostwriter, try not to scream. Read more: How To Maintain a Positive Outlook For Your Writing Career.
8. Don’t give up on eventual acceptances when the rejections arrive. We know the “nays” hurt. We know they sow self-doubt. But we hope you’ll welcome each new rejection letter as a stepping stone. Read more: How To Interpret Rejection Letters.
9. “Change things up” here and there. Tackle a new topic or a new form. Literary historians are still puzzling over why Shakespeare didn’t diversify his canon with sonnets about Facebook. Read more: What To Do When You Get Stuck.
In conclusion, we’d like to name a final Simon & Garfunkel song. One of our resolutions for 2012 is to “Keep the Customer Satisfied.”
QUESTION: Do you have any writing-related New Year’s resolutions? We’d love to hear them!