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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's Time to Improve Our Writing

It certainly is fortuitous for me to be writing the last post of 2013. I love this day, this day when the year ends and the New Year is on the cusp of its beginning. This is the day I think about what I need to do next year. 

"Hold on, there missy," you blurt out with a snarl, stopping me from waxing  poetic about the new year. "Don't you need to look back at what you did and didn't accomplish during the current year of 2013? I mean isn't that what today is about?" 

"Oh ye of the unforgiving nature," I respond, "Shut thy mouth." The reality is that I never like to look back and revisit all of my many (and I do mean many) slip-ups, mistakes, missteps, misspeaks...oh well you catch my drift. Come on ya'll, lets not beat ourselves up for the things we screwed up, it's too late. Time to look forward and once again set our resolutions for a better year. Hope springs eternal and all that.

I always (and I do mean always) start my list with the unachievable. Why set myself up for failure? I don't know, maybe I'm a closet masochist or is sadist? I always get those confused. Anyway, I start with my annual Lose ten pounds (I've lost those same ten pounds so many times, I should weigh in at around fifty pounds-which I do plus...never mind.) After I get that one out of the way, I get down the nitty gritty, and this year the nitty gritty will be all about our (yes, yours and mine) writing. Here we go.

1.Write from our hearts. Make our readers cry, laugh, get angry, whatever. Let's not hold back, lets show our innermost fears, loves, hopes, and dreams in our writing. It's time for us to take be bold.
2. Not take ourselves too seriously. To many of us (including myself) writing is a business and yes paying our bills is serious business. I get all of that, but let's lighten up and quite treating every little comment on our writing as a matter of life or death. It's time to quite whining and moaning and get over ourselves. Let's have some fun.
3. Try writing something different. Let's push ourselves, I bet we'll be surprised with what we can do. (I'm going to try paranormal, but I don't care how growing this exercise is, I will never, ever write about vampires, even in you threaten to stick me with pins.)
4. Write when we don’t feel like it. This is the one I'm currently struggling with. I've got several projects going and do not want to finish any of them. If you're like me, it's time to quite making excuses and get to work.
5. Revise, revise, revise until we can revise no more. None of us are brilliant on the first draft. And the second one kinda sucks, too. That’s okay, because this is a marathon, not a sprint. we won't consider ourselves done until we’ve written at least a few drafts, everything up to that point is merely a prologue.
6. Read widely. Read some masters in our genres as well as books from other genres. It's time for us to absorb as many books as possible from as many different sources. Doing so will enrich us all.
7. Focus on the writing. Get off Twitter or Instagram and spend the majority of our writing time actually writing. It will makes us feel better, and the work will improve (promise).
8. Shake things up: write in an unusual voice, or from an strange POV, or something else that is different from what we usually write. It's time for us to mess with the status quo, and see what happens. It could be good, really good.
9. Finish that project that we keep putting back on the shelf. Who knows it could be the next big thing. And even if it isn't, it's time to get it done and move on.
10. Quit stalling and get writing. Stop reading this post, rechecking your email, or posting on Facebook. It's time for all of us to unplug from the world and just write. It’s the simplest, hardest, scariest thing for any of us to do. Not think about writing or talk about writing, but actually writing. Imagine that.*

Enjoy tonight and get ready for a brand new year.

* A nod to Jeff Goins for providing the basis for most of these.

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