As we move into the new decade, we writers need to come to terms with what worked for over the last ten years versus what didn’t work for us so well. That means telling ourselves some hard truths about our habits and fears.
No More Half Written Novels
Stop calling your short stories, novelettes, novellas, whatever “half-written.” It’s rude. It hurts their feelings.
There is nothing wrong with writing short. If you’ve said all there is to say about Tom and Jacob’s tricycle gang that sold abandoned souls on the black market in 3500 words or less, then cool! Leave them to live their lives in those 3500 words.
Move on with your life. Stop using them as an excuse not to write that other story that you’ve been telling your friends you’ll “get to after your first book is done.”
MVP. Minimum viable products will get you through this.
The Book in Your Head Finally On Paper
You do not get a reward for thinking about writing a book just like no one gets brain surgery by me because I thought about becoming a brain surgeon.
Write it down. Type it. Speak it into a recorder or dictation device. Do something to free your characters from your mind.
You are their only hope of having their story told, so what, my darling, are you waiting for?
Read Less. Write More.
2017 was the last year I read 100 books in a year. Last year, I read 76 books. This year, I’ve read a little over 20.
In the last two years, I’ve written one novelette (and published it) and one soft sci-fi novel.
Additionally, I’ve begun teaching writing to fellow writers.
Reading is wonderful, but writing makes you a writer. Do both in as balanced a fashion as possible.
Write Daily, But Don’t Be A Jerk About It
Keeping that balance means writing daily, but be kind to yourself. I am not a fan of setting daily word count goals. I get credit every time I write anything toward my end goal. If I am not working on a book, then journaling and blogging count.
Penning poems and short pieces of fiction without planning are all forms of writing and count toward your daily writing goal because they use your creative writing muscles.
Emails and newsletters shouldn’t count toward that goal, because those items are admin related.
Set these resolutions for yourself. Keep them for at least three months to see if they work for you. If they do, let me know when you’ve posted or published something. I’m rooting for you.
This post originally appeared January 2020 on hellothisisbarbara.com