Maybe it’s a little early to be talking about New Year’s resolution doldrums. Or maybe you’re already struggling—maybe you resolved, like many others, to write more. You pour a mug of coffee in the morning and plop down at your desk. Moments later, you’re holding an empty coffee mug and staring at an empty computer screen. Soon, you find yourself at the gym, wondering how you drummed up the resolve to workout instead of write. You wonder if you could be more efficient by writing between red lights.
But before risking your health and the health of other drivers, check out this advice we compiled from some author friends about how to effectively “write more” in 2012:
1. Make writing a scheduled priority. If your Google calendar chronicles dinner menus, vet appointments and which kid to pick up where, then why isn’t writing in there? If you want to write more in 2012, then you need to put writing in your schedule and plan on it.
2. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Telling yourself to just “write more” is about as effective as saying “eat healthy.” You need to identify what healthy means—maybe you need to increase your daily word count from 300 to 800 words per day. Maybe you need to schedule smaller goals such as increasing your word count by 100 words each month. Maybe “write more” means you divide your daily hour of writing into 20 minutes of “free writing” and 40 minutes of focused craft.
3. Don’t write alone. Do you share your work with anyone but acquisitions editors? Writing groups can do wonders for you. One friend asked her writing group to review her articles and eventually, she started landing gigs like the cover page article in Neue Magazine, which inspired everyone in the group to achieve more of their goals.
4. Find your inner-writer’s “happy place.” Do you write best in a café on your laptop? Or in the peace and quiet of your home office? Create a detailed description of what works best for you and make sure you’re writing in that environment. You may need to invest in some noise-canceling headphones, a babysitter, or a new desk. One author drops her kids off at school and heads straight to the library for some quality writing time.
5. Have fun. Maybe finishing your novel in 2012 is attainable for you, but the week your car breaks down and your husband comes down with the flu, that lofty 4,000-word completed chapter may not be attainable. Allow yourself time to breathe and stimulate your creativity. This may include scheduling time to walk through a museum, ride your bike, or listen to great albums. This may mean not writing every day, or scheduling time to write something completely unrelated to any of your projects. Remember, you want to write more—not suffer more!