Happy New Year, a little bit late. I was celebrating, you know 🙂
Anyway, let’s get the new year started off on the right foot with some great resolutions for writers for the new year.
New Year’s Resolutions for Writers
Every writer is different, but there are some things that seem to be true for most writers. I’ve started off this list of writer’s New Year’s resolutions with those that fit into that almost universal category and then moved on to those things that might be more useful for fellow freelance writers.
- Write – No matter who you are or what you do, writing is the one thing that will always improve your craft. Reading is useful (see #2) but there is no substitute for just writing. The thing that catches many writers is that they force themselves to write certain things in order for it to count as “writing.” For example, a freelance financial writer may only count the things written about finance as writing. In truth, any writing is useful, skill building writing. In fact, writing outside of your comfort zone is a great way to develop better writing skills. Writing for recreation, is a great way to avoid burn out. This blog is a great way to turn procrastination into useful procrastination. Cranking out a blog post may not drop any income on the table (at least not immediately) but it has many uses. In addition to being cathartic, this blog allows my freelance writing business to show up in searches, help me meet and become friends with other writers, and pay it forward by helping others develop their own writing craft or writing business.
- Read – The other thing that helps all writers is reading. Reading allows you to learn and hear other styles. It allows you to gather new information, obtain a fresh look on old knowledge and it keeps your mind working in complete, grammatically correct ways. The other important benefit of reading is that it allows you to know more. New writers often hear, “write what you know.” That is true, but what blocks too many writers is not realizing that you can always know more. You can “know” about being a prisoner in Alcatraz by having served time there, or you can always learn by reading everything you can get your hands on about the subject.
- Brag and Boast – Too many writers, especially new ones, are reluctant to put themselves out there as high-quality writers. I’ve seen many a top-notch writer dismiss what they do to others. “I mostly just write little things for some ad agencies,” is hardly the way to make the kind of impression that might lead someone to remember later that you are a professional writer. When you tell people about what you do, toot your own horn a little bit. That way, when the day comes that acquaintance happens to be in a room where someone talks about getting some professional writing help, he’ll think, “Hey! I know a great writer.”
- Market – Many writers are writers because they like to be in their own heads. They often like to work alone, if not by themselves. For writers like us, marketing can be a major downer. Unfortunately, marketing is the only way to develop and keep a reliable pipeline of freelance writing gigs coming your way. Fortunately, you don’t have to cold call like some telemarketer begging for work. This is the 21st century. There are literally hundreds of ways to market yourself without every picking up a telephone or shaking hands at a Chamber of Commerce mixer. Create a website, start a blog, build up a following on Twitter, print up flyers, take out ads, make sure you have compelling, up to date profiles on Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. A little legwork in one or more of these areas can improve your exposure greatly.
Lastly, never forget why became a writer in the first place. If you don’t love it, figure out another way to make a living; there are a lot of jobs out there that are easier and better paying for someone who isn’t a hopeless wordsmith.
Good luck to everyone on their new year and may 2012 be your most successful writing year ever, in whatever way you frame success.