New Year, New Writing You
New Year, New Writing You
by: Belinda Brady
We hear it every December in the lead-up to a New Year. Articles, blogs, and the like shouting at us that now is the time for a ‘New Year, New You!’ We’ll be told how to lose weight, eat better, exercise more, sleep better, think positively, how to get happy, how to say ‘no’ more etc, etc. Every possible aspect of our lives is covered, and while they may be helpful for some, what about us writers? Where are our help guides, our ‘how to’ life hacks, or just a simple ‘hang in there, you’re doing great’ article? Well, if you are looking for a prep talk aimed at us creative types, then look no further, for I have put together a little ‘how to’ guide to help and inspire your writing journey in the new year and beyond:
No matter how big or small your achievement, pat yourself on the back:
We all see other authors on their socials’, boasting about how much they are killing it in the writing world, while your year, on the other hand, has been…well, crickets. We have all been there. It hurts and, quite frankly, sucks. But don’t let it get to you. So what if you have had a quiet year, or a year teamed with that many rejections you could put an anthology together based on your rejection letters. It happens to all of us – whether we admit it or not, whether we choose to share it or not. The writer’s life is not all rainbows and glowing acceptances. Now, before you allow yourself to wallow in the deep pool of self-pity, think of one little thing you did this year that you can congratulate yourself on. One little thing – and there has to be, at the very least, one. Did you have a story accepted? Did someone tell you how much they enjoyed something you wrote a while back, or did you finally write that thing you have been putting off for far too long? Something. Anything. Dig deep and find it. And then, when you do, own it and congratulate yourself for it. You are doing the best you can, so own every single little achievement. You’ve earnt it.
Take on new challenges:
Is there something you have always wanted to do but have been too afraid to put yourself out there? This is the year to do it. This past year, I approached an online seasonal magazine I had been wanting to be a part of for as long as I can remember about possibly writing an article. My pitch was accepted, my article published, and I have been invited to write for them again next year. To say I am blown away is an understatement. I am so happy I took the plunge and reached out to them. If I didn’t, I’d still be sitting here thinking, ‘what if?’ What would you love to be part of or do? What are you drawn to? Break that old mold and go for it – you have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Write new genres:
Easier said than done, sure, but it is doable. Love writing horror? Try comedy. A sucker for a good romance? Branch out and write fantasy. You never know – you might find a new genre that you enjoy writing. Worse case, you have thought outside your box and forced yourself to write something different, honing some valuable new skills along the way. And that is never a bad thing.
Give up things that no longer hold value to you
Are you committed to something that is no longer holding any value to you? Something that gives you more grief than joy? Time to give it up. This year, I finally said goodbye to something I had been doing on the side for a few years but was enjoying less and less, so I finally bit the bullet and quit. The relief was instant and all too telling. Dropping this extra activity has freed up more time for me to do whatever my little heart desires, be it writing or aimlessly scrolling on social media, and also leaves me more available to try new opportunities. If you are feeling more dread than excitement attending to something you have signed up for, it may be time to let it go and be available for what the universe has in store for you next.
Even if you don’t submit it, write
Even if you don’t submit one single story this year, aim to write at least one. Just one. Submitting can be exhausting and soul destroying and while we all enjoy getting that acceptance, those rejections still sting, no matter how many we get. Take the fear of rejection out and just write what you want how you want. Write messily, write sloppily and without inhibitions and just let that story pour out of you.
Be proud of yourself
Whether you’ve had a book signing in a bookstore, or a story accepted by a little-known indie publication, be proud of everything you have achieved, and don’t play it down. What is a little achievement to you is a huge thing to someone else. I have had two separate friends, who have been very quiet whenever I share any writing news, and tell me how proud they are of me. And they wouldn’t hear of me trying to downplay it – in their mind, my ‘little’ thing was huge and something to be proud of, not something to excuse because it wasn’t ‘big enough.’ Nothing is too small of an achievement. Nothing. Remember what you wanted when you started this journey, and be immensely proud of how far you’ve come and what you have achieved so far.
So, there we have it. A few little tips to hopefully help us writers into the New Year and beyond doing what we do and love. Don’t get bogged down in the noise of a New Year, and keep on keeping on, making sure you are open to any new opportunities and experiences that come your way, because who knows? This year might be your best one yet.
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