by Jenny Hansen
We're two weeks into the new year (and a whole new decade!) and I know plenty of writers who made some lofty resolutions. Here at WITS, we keep it simple and stick to one word to guide our writing journey in the new year.
Frankly, one word is about all I can handle at the beginning of January.
The holidays have usually left me breathless. Someone in my family is often sick over that holiday break (this time it was everyone). My house is predictably a raging mess in early January.
But I can do One Word.
I don't know about you, but I print the One Word post out. I tack my paragraph up somewhere noticeable in my house. I make a drawing out of my word. I ponder it.
But here we are mid-January, with 2020 stretching before us -- the Good, the Bad, and the Election. Ugh. I've caught my breath and there are goals to be outlined, and dreams to be chased.
If you are a writer, published or unpublished, I'd guess you’re hoping this New Year will be one that builds your career. So, let's do this!
I challenge you to make at least one concrete writing goal for 2020.
I'll start you off with ideas from one of our early WITS contributors, wise-woman Charlotte Carter. She wrote almost 60 books before she passed on and she knew how to get the work done.
1. Make writing a priority. It’s way too easy to get off track if you don’t stick to your guns. Family and friends make demands on you. A good movie opens at the local theater, you promise yourself that you’ll get back to your writing schedule tomorrow. Don’t count on it!
2. Spend time with other writers. No one understands a writer’s fears, failures and successes like another writer. Not even your mother.
3. Don’t let the business get you down. Nora Roberts says, and I believe her, that it was hard to get published when she started writing. It's still hard. Get used to it.
4. Develop a presence on the Internet. Editors do check authors’ blogs and websites. But remember Resolution #1 - don’t spend all of your writing time fussing with your online exposure and forget about your career goals.
5. Improve your craft. Attend workshops and conferences, take classes online, find a critique group that will encourage you and help you to grow. This is part of making your writing a priority.
6. Keep yourself mentally and physically healthy. Yep, you do have to exercise, spend time with friends and family, and find ways to fill your creative well.
7. Read. A lot. Both in and out of the genre you’re writing. I guarantee that won’t be a burden.
Now it's your turn, WITS Readers! Instead of One Word, what is your One Thing? A class you've dreamed of...a story that won't leave you alone? Perhaps you've been waiting to tackle a different genre or start a blog. Share your One Thing with us down in the comments!
Here’s to making one of your dreams come true in 2020...
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By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 18 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.
When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Facebook at JennyHansenAuthor or at Writers In The Storm.
Copyright © 2023 Writers In The Storm - All Rights Reserved
God, how I love seeing Char's words - I have a bookmark of hers hanging on my writer's bulletin board. Miss her bunches, but I know she's making God laugh right now.
My one thing is FINALLY selling in Women's Fiction. Always thought that was what I wrote, but regardless, TODAY my agent is sending a proposal out for the one I'm working on now and LOVE. It's given me back my joy of writing.
Wish me luck!
"Giving you back the joy of writing." Wishing you luck AND the word that seems to fit = renewal.
Mine would be balance. I think you'll understand ...
Balance is always a good word, Barbara!
I know! I miss her so...she was one-of-a-kind. And I am delighted you have walked confidently into the WF pool. Writing SHOULD give you joy.
Yea! Laura. Go for this! Best luck.
Jenny, I get the WITS emails, and I always look forward to your columns, you wise woman.
I'll have to think about the One Thing. Alas, at the moment I can't remember my One Word, but that's a cool way to keep it foremost in your mind. Thanks for the tip. Now to go find that pesky word I chose. LOL.
Awwwwwww, thanks Susan! Shortcut...if you put your One Word in the comments of the January 1 post, you can find it there. 🙂 And a quick Google search of your one word with "coloring page" tacked on will let you be creative with it.
Mine's a biggie, Jenny: get a book deal for my memoir. I've put in all the work - the manuscript has been through two professional edits and about eleventy-nine drafts, give or take. I've researched agents and have a list of about eighty good matches. I'm paying to have my query letter critiqued this week, and will start sending queries out in batches next week. That will give me eleven and a half months to make it a reality. My fingers are crossed!
To me this is many things, Karen. The main one in your control is querying. Go you! That's a big step! The book deal is only in your control in terms of writing a great query letter.
P.s. Did you take Laura Drake's query class?
Thanks for the encouragement, Jenny. I didn't take Laura's class, but thanks for mentioning it!
Laura's query class is AWESOME. If you're a member of WFWA, I believe they have her 1 hour class recorded.
I shared the One Word with my writing group. Each of us has selected ONE WORD. It's been a big help, Jenny, by forcing us to be brutally honest with ourselves and get focused. Thank you.
I am so delighted to hear it, Michelle! What was your One Word?
My one thing this year is to get control back and finish the things that have had to take a back seat due to life interruptions. I now have the fully edited manuscript for the third James McCarthy book in my possession. I also have the re-edited and reformatted editions of the first two books. All WILL be released this year--NO EXCUSES!
You're so hard on yourself, Bob. You've been a stand up family member, chauffeured multiple people to numerous doctor appointments, and STILL got all those manuscripts ready for release. I bow to you, man!
First and foremost I need to find a local critique group. This will keep me going. And if I work at it and my editor gets back to me, with good fortune I'll find a home for The Hobo Code. Fingers, toes, and eyes crossed.?
Fingers, toes and legs crossed! Surely there are some good writers who want to critique in your corner of the world. If not, I'll bet you could find one online.
P.S. You know you can send the Wednesday group chapters, right?
After finishing my MS last week, I went back and looked at few of my documents I started to see if they're worth finishing or if I should just start anew with a different story. Still thinking on it.
You finished your manuscript! How exciting, Denise. Congratulations! We are all cheering for you as you go through this process. 🙂
Thank you so much!
My word is - direction - it's time to find some 🙂
Tracy, when I'm not sure where I want to go, I take it back to basics and just write. It seems like everything starts and ends there. You've got this!
Jenny, I'm glad I get to do a lot with the second suggestion. Hee hee
Thanks for the encouraging post!