by Kris Maze
Most writers struggle to find enough time to get all their projects accomplished. Adding other author related tasks can eat away at precious writing time, regardless of your writing style or organization skills level. Whether your plotlines must be prefect before you begin a story or you’re a seat-of-your-pants pantser, all writers can benefit from taking a solid moment to reflect on their past year.
2022 brought us more changes to the writing industry, but it hasn’t changed the need for storytelling. Storytelling and crafting good tales to tell will always be at the heart of why we write, but the passion for writing can fizzle out without reflection and iteration.
Invest in your writing by figuring out what went well in your writing this year and consider these suggestions to plan for a successful 2023.
I attended a writing conference years ago and heard a keynote speech by Garth Stein, the author of The Art of Racing in the Rain. The audience of aspiring authors wanted to know his secret for success. During a Q and A session they asked for his biggest recommendation. He replied, in a word, craft. Know your craft. Learn your craft. Be the best writer you can be. Wise words.
I took an immersion class this summer with an NYT historical romance writer, and asked her this same question. “What should a writer do to improve and find success?” She told me that she spent five years going to every class and seminar she could, then read and applied everything possible on craft and the good mechanics of writing.
She invested and poured herself into learning and it has enabled her current work with a large publisher. Last time I heard, she was researching for a novel set in Paris.
Ah, now that’s a writer’s life I could envision for myself. Where would your writing life take you? How can you invest in your writing skills?
Improving one's writing craft is a lifelong journey of growth. As we sharpen the tools of the trade, we become better writers that readers appreciate. Try finding a writing class and see how you improve this year.
There are many ways to stay true to the muse and most of them involve keeping a writing schedule. Here are some popular ways to keep you building a mighty writing habit.
Which of these methods have you used last year? How did those impact your writing? Which would you change or add to your routine in 2023?
Getting words on the page is fundamental to building a writing career. See where your writing routine can take you next year.
Writing a book and getting it into the world is typically a slow, but reward process. A process filled with potholes and squeaky wheels, some may say, but somehow a book must go from concept to story and finally to a finished product. And that process is often messy.
If you haven’t examined how to take a story through the stages of writing, this may help you save time. Here are some things to think about may help you design a writing process that suits your needs better.
If you want a better writerly year in 2023, consider examining your writing from an overarching view. Taking a look at your system as a big picture can identify places where your writing process is frustrating or inefficient. Taking time to address any concerns you find could alleviate stressors and allow you to focus on your writing more.
Examine your writing process at the end of this year and reflect on how you can make it a smoother, more enjoyable experience.
How do you organize the tools you use for your writing? What are you paying for? What value do you get from these services and products?
Consider keeping a spreadsheet or digital list with links for all the tools you may use in a given writing year. Keep track of what you pay for and don’t. This can save you time if you include your writing expenses in taxes. It can also help you keep track of when expenses occur and planning for those yearly or monthly costs.
Seeing your bottom line can be discouraging, or it can feed your writing career decisions. Knowledge is power, the old after-school-special-commercials used to say, let it inform your decisions this year.
While keeping track of all the tools and their costs can be tedious, it provides writers with valuable information. This can remind you to use the tools you have to make your writing process easier. It can also help you identify what products you actually use versus those that aren't as practical for your writing style.
Take a deep dive into the products help make your writing process work.
Ultimately, we write because we can’t contain the stories within us. Writers are built to share words with the world and when we don’t we are miserable. It’s a true mark of a writer. More than books finished, books sold, amount of followers, or NYT status. Pay attention to how satisfied you are with your writing and it will continue to be a positive outlet in your life.
Reflect on your writing life last year. What did you appreciate about being a writer? What would you prefer to not repeat again? Start fresh in 2023 with a new outlook if needed, but don’t forget to celebrate the work you did finish.
Writing without personal connection becomes a chore, in my opinion. Without an end goal writing becomes a vague travelogue of my thoughts. Writing without care to craft becomes a drudgery of bad sentences.
Simply put, a writing life without reflection can be less rewarding for you and me. Iterating parts of your writing process can alleviate some stress and allow you to focus more on the creative side of writing. Consider joining me in the spirit of my annual writerly overview and celebrate your successes from 2022.
Here’s to capturing your writer joy in 2023, my writing friends! Cheers!
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Kris Maze is an author, writing coach, and teacher. She has worked in education for many years and writes for various publications including Practical Advice for Teachers of Heritage Learners of Spanish and the award-winning blog Writers in the Storm where she is also a host. You can find her horror stories and young adult writing at her website. Keep up with future projects and events by subscribing to her newsletter.
A recovering grammarian and hopeless wanderer, Kris enjoys reading, playing violin and piano, and spending time outdoors.
And occasionally, she dabbles in drawings.
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