"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

10 Resolutions Every Writer Should Make and Keep for 2015!



We're hours away to a new year. You can feel the energy in the air. I don't know about you, but I rather dig what this special time symbolizes.
The New Year is like a blank canvas awaiting our individual "masterpiece." A time to create with greater passion and purpose.
It's a fresh start. There's so much to explore. So much to discover. So much potential to be realized.

And as is customary of this time of year, it's a season to reflect on what actions we need to take to reach new heights in our careers.
That's right. It's resolutions time.
But before we embark upon those that are most beneficial for today's writers, let's examine why resolutions often fail from year to year in general, to increase our odds for success in 2015. Shall we?

  • They're unrealistic. Remember when you vowed to write 1000 words everyday? Most of us can't even successfully master the requirements of NANOWRIMO, for one month. Especially when you factor in the rigors of a full-time job, family obligations, and personal commitments. Better to be realistic than overly ambitious. Start with small, manageable goals then work your way up from there.
  • They're not clearly defined with logical steps. To vow that you will "one day write a book" won't cut it. Instead devise a specific game plan with concrete deadlines.  
  • They're not written down and revisited on a regular basis. Studies show that people that write down their goals are 3X more likely to achieve them than those that don't. 

With this in mind, here are 10 Resolutions to "swear by" for 2015:

1. TO READ MORE
For most of my life, I've always been an avid reader. But, with the closing of several brick and mortar bookstores in my area, and time constraints, I find myself doing less. It's impossible to develop your creative muscles, fire the imagination, or understand the needs of an audience without reading books. It's really that simple.

2. TO SPEND MONEY ON BUSINESS ENHANCEMENT AND PERSONAL ADVANCEMENT
I'm amazed at how little most writers spend on services, classes and products that will help them to reap a greater return on their sweat equity. Don't let that be you. There's great truth to the adage, "You've got to spend money to make money." 2015 is a great time to update those business cards, take a class in photography, brand your blog with a  logo, or expand your writer's library. The possibilities are endless.

3. TO ESCAPE THE FEAST AND FAMINE CYCLE
One of the biggest challenges of being a creative artist is having consistent, reliable income that allows us to meet our obligations and maintain a decent quality of life. Clients come and go. Publications cut budgets. And sometimes writers unfortunately encounter "dead beats" that refuse to pay for services rendered. Because of this you'll need to diversify your projects, screen clients better, manage your time more efficiently, and save money when and where you can. Say bye-bye to a life of Ramen Noodles.

4. TO KEEP YOUR BLOG UPDATED CONSISTENTLY
I've said this before, but repetition reinforces. An updated blog with quality content will help you to better achieve your traffic and income goals.

5. TO ENTER CREATIVE CONTESTS
Everybody loves a winner! And participating in and winning creative contests will increase your online visibility, your credibility and regard as a writer, and your bottom line. For contest opportunities, check out FanStory.com.

6. TO JOIN A WRITERS' ORGANIZATION
Writers' groups are great for connecting with other artists for moral support and shared interests. Additionally, many of them offer insurance, job listings and critique groups.
Depending upon your needs, level, niche and lifestyle, you can join an online group or one in your local area.

7. TO PARTICIPATE IN MORE COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS
One thing that I highly recommend is contributing to one or more of the popular anthologies on various themes. "Chicken Soup" series is one example. They are loads of fun, allow you to meet other authors around the world, and even to travel for book signings in some cases. Anybody out there have any experience in this area?

8. TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE
It's no secret that  for many writers chocolate and caffeine are an integral part of our weekly menu. Not to mention, the sedentary lifestyle comprised of countless hours sitting behind a computer. If we're not careful, we can pack on the pounds; which can compromise our health and contribute to certain diseases and ailments. Indulge a little less. Work out a little more. Minimize stress. 'Nuff said.

9. TO IDENTIFY NEW MARKETS
Doing so will help you to expand your portfolio, increase your areas of expertise, and potentially create more income sources.

 10. TO STOP DOING WHAT ISN'T WORKING
This may seem like a no-brainer, but for some it really isn't. Don't be too stubborn to seek new strategies,  to study the success of others as a navigational guide, or to re-assess your direction, if you're not making measurable progress.
In the words of Sarah Palin, "Don't retreat. Reload!"

Well, there you have it. Ten practices and principles to put you on the path to success in the year ahead.



Happy New Year
readers, followers and fans!
May 2015 be a year of fulfilled dreams and wonderful things!


Thoughts? Which resolution here will you likely be working on?





24 comments:

  1. Jennifer--If you have not already read it, read Leonard Pitts Jr.'s "Freeman." I guarantee you will love it. (Okay, I almost guarantee it. You might have bad taste in books. You might not enjoy epic novels. You might not enjoy twists and turns of a well-crafted story. ;)

    Have a great start to 2015.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sioux,

      Let me say this. If your taste in literature is anything like your taste in music, I'm definitely on board! Your recommendation of Ruthie Foster was on point! Love her sound and her vibe. Who knew that a school teacher would have that much soul? LOL You go girl. :-) Thanks much for stopping by and starting us off.

      Delete
    2. Sioux,

      By the way, you'll want to check out Aretha Franklin's new CD where she sings all the "Diva Classics." To die for! :-) Just sayin'

      Delete
  2. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is another good read.
    As usual, your advice is appreciated and well taken. Happy New year. 2015 just sounds like a winner to me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Lin. Sounds interesting. Happy New Year to you too! It does look rather promising so far. :-)

      Delete
  3. Jennifer, thanks for sending me the link this! I'm generally pretty disciplined (although I drink a lot of coffee and I just had 2 squares of chocolate) but I do get ideas from you. Just looked over the Chicken Soup site and I have an idea that is perfect for one of their projects. Thanks for that tip!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Victoria,

      Ah...another "satisfied customer!" I love it. :-) Please keep us posted on your progress. Happy New Year!

      Delete
    2. I already sent it off. It's based on a peculiar personal experience that I had many years ago and which was easy to write up. Glad to have located a potential spot for it.

      It will be many months before I learn if it is accepted, but that's OK.

      Delete
    3. Great, Vicki. Wishing the best for you!

      Delete
  4. THIS JUST IN FROM STEPHANIE GATES VIA EMAIL...

    "Excellent advice. If I can manage 5 out of the 10, I'll be popping like fresh buttered popcorn."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steph,

      I'm sure you can make a go of it! I'll be rootin' for you. :-)

      Delete
    2. P.S.
      Since I'm a fan of your blog, I hope # 4 is definitely on your list this year! :-)

      Delete
  5. Happy New Year Jennifer and readers! I've resonated with points number 1,5 & 9 = read more, enter creative writing contests and get out there and find new avenues for my work. I agree whole heartedly in writing down your goals and making them realistic...so going to do that too! By the way, I can highly recommend audio books to get more good reads into your daily life while you go about cooking or washing or driving...I am devouring them like delicious sweeties at the moment as I travelled on a plane recently and was so content to sit and listen with my headphones...thanks Jen for your great pointers and look forward to reading more in 2015!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maribel,

      How are things in your corner of the world? Great to get your input. And thanks for the reminder: audio books are awesome! I have an entire library of tapes by motivational and religious speakers: Wayne Dyer, Zig Ziglar, Les Brown, Joyce Meyer, etc.

      Delete
  6. I love this advice. I've been thinking about changes and disciplines necessary for more efficiency and productivity in my writing. This confirms it, and adds a few ideas I hadn't thought of. Thank you, dear friend, for ever supporting us on this journey! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Karen,

    Welcome back. Thanks for your kind words; it's been my pleasure. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wonderful advice! It is important to focus on goals that will help us achieve our dreams. Part of that is setting realistic expectations so we can keep moving forward. I also like the point about stopping the stuff that isn't working. Why waste our time! :)

    Wishing you a fabulous 2015!
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Jess,

    How have you been? Thanks for adding to the mix here. I always love gettingyour feedback. Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I intend to shoot for higher paying markets this year and finish the third (maybe start the 4th) in my mystery series. Great advice, as always, Jen. Happy 2015!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sue,

    Good for you! Wishing you abundant success. Thanks for adding to the mix here. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Happy New Year Productive Writers! those are all great resolutions, for what maintaining a healthier lifestyle is concerned, you might like one of my recent featured posts about Standing Desks...,

    For what Identifying New Markets is concerned you can also discover a featured post about some Innovations & developments in the Greeting Card Market,

    For what Collaborative Projects is concerned, I do believe that my blog will greatly benefit and become a much more readers worthy when I get more Comments & Replies from writers that share their experiences, it might even turn me into a productive writer :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy New Year, H.P., thanks for your thoughts. :-)

      Delete
  13. Hey GEM - I'm blasting from the past here... but I'm gonna do 1, 7, 8, 9, 10. Had already started to do so, but had not written them down for the clarity you recommend. Thanks and blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Sporty,

    Good to reconnect! Happy New Year. Sounds like you're off to a positive and progressive start here. Let us know how things develop, OK? :-)

    ReplyDelete