New Year – New You – New Writing Goals!! Five tips to help you on your way!

So, Christmas has been and gone and now it’s time to start thinking about the new year and your plans for writing.

God, the title I’ve picked for this article is far too happy and jolly. Especially when I look out the window and I see the cold, miserable weather and the fact that I’ve given up alcohol.

Don’t worry, it won’t last. Dry January for me lasts about a day. Hoorah!

But I’m a complete lightweight so, don’t be like me. Be that person who makes goals and sticks to them.

Why should we listen to anything you say, Angela, if you can’t even last for a day without alcohol, I hear you say?

Because you are stronger than me.

I am weak.

And I do it so you don’t have to. I’m good like that, I’ll take one for the team 🙂

So, here’s a list of five things that you are going to do (and I should be doing) to stay ahead of this writing game (but I won’t because I suck at this adulting malarkey :)).

One – Set realistic goals.

Set a target amount of words to write each day or week and stick to it. And write it down!

Keep it realistic though.

Mark Dawson writes three-thousand words a day.

I salute him!

Me, I’m lucky if I get five-hundred down, but that’s okay. Know what you can do comfortably and stick to it.

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Two – Keep positive.

I may not be at the top of my game at this quite depressing time of the year. I may also have failed on the dry January thing. That’s okay.

There’s always next year.

See, I’m a very positive person.

You can be too.

When you’re setting your goals, remember to be strong about it and write it down using the words “I will” instead of words like “I might” or “I’ll try.”

You can get those words down, so do it!

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Three – Be SMART

Use the SMART template to set out your goals. Set:

Specific

Measurable goals that are

Attainable

Relevant and

Time-bound.

Check out more about the SMART system of setting out goals here.

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Four – Ask yourself why you are writing.

If you know why you are writing you’re more likely to do it.

I write because I have to. My brain needs it, so, primarily I write for myself. I write to give myself a voice when I feel my voice gets lost in all the background noise. I write to work through things that have happened or are going to happen, to set things straight in my brain. I also explore things in my writing that fascinate, horrify or scare me (the subject of death fits into all three of those categories. And, I do like to write about death, in some way, shape or form in most things I write. I can’t help it. I’m weird).

I need writing like the air I breathe.

So I write.

Five – Keep your list of writing goals visible.

That list of goals ain’t going to do anything if it’s left in a cupboard to rot like a corpse. That list ain’t Dracula, it needs daylight to succeed. It also needs you to look at it and take notice!

What other things would you add to this list?

What are your writing goals for this year?

And are you going to stick to it?

 

FURTHER READING:

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.ht

 

 

 

So, You Want to be a writer? Six tips to get you on your way.

So, you want to be a writer?

Here are six tips to help you on your way!

  1. Read. A lot!! I love reading so this isn’t a major issue for me. Reading will make you a better writer. You need to learn somewhere, right? So why not learn from those who came before you? It’s amazing what you can get from other writers. You’ll pick up writing techniques, grammar tips and vocabulary as you go. Learning by osmosis – what’s not to love? And, reading can mean comic books, newspapers, and online articles (like this one :)) so there’s no excuse!! Except, if you have no time, but everyone can make five minutes a day to read, can’t they?

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  2. Get yourself a notebook and a pen, go somewhere quiet and write! You don’t need any expensive gadgets to start. Just time, inspiration, and a notebook and pen (there are some gorgeous notebooks out there. And, have you seen some of the beautiful pens you can buy? My personal faves are the coloured biros by Bic, especially the purple ones). It doesn’t even matter if you think it’s bad. Write anyway!

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  3. Practice. And Practice. And practice… Once you begin writing, keep going. The only way to get better at anything is practice. Maybe take a writing course to hone your skills. Writing courses come in many shapes and sizes. Some are free and some are run by fabulous, well-established writers (Neil Gaiman, I’m looking at you!).
  4. Get feedback. This gives you an outsider’s perspective of your writing. People can tell you where your weak points are, but also when you’re doing something right. You could join a local writing group for this. I did and it improved my writing considerably.

    “Remember, you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. And that’s okay!”

  5. Get a thick skin. You’re not always going to write fabulous prose. Sometimes your work will be utter crap. Don’t be afraid to face that fact. And even when your work is absolutely amazing and fabulous, people will tear it apart and make you feel like dirt. Unfortunately, this is something we, as writers, have to live with. Not everyone is going to love what you write and you need to learn to live with that. Write anyway! Remember, you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. And that’s okay!
  6. Write! Make sure you write, even if it’s just a few words every day. Don’t just talk about it. Write! Write your first draft even if it’s utter rubbish. Don’t worry, everyone’s first draft is crap (I mean, have you read my first draft of Death’s Apprentice, written here on my blog as I go? Try reading it, you’ll see what I mean :)). But as they say, you can’t edit a blank page! You can edit your writing though. And edit. And edit. Rewrites will make your writing shine!

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As Charles Buckowski said:

“There is no losing in writing, it will make your toes laugh as you sleep, it will make you stride like a tiger, it will fire the eye and put you face to face with death. You will die a fighter, you will be honored in hell. The luck of the word. Go with it.”

 

My Six Tips for Handling Rejection

In life, there are times we all get rejected, whether it’s by friends or lovers, but as a writer, rejection takes on a whole new level of pain. This is equally true if you run a handmade business too. So, how do you handle it?

To be fair, this is one thing that I’ve always been quite good at. I have a very thick skin and my happiness doesn’t generally tend to rely on others. Having said that, there are times when rejection and bad reviews get to me. So, how do you deal with it and move on?

  1. Okay, so your book has been rejected. It’s okay to feel shitty for a bit. Rejection sucks. Allow yourself time to process it. Allow yourself time to feel crap, BUT don’t stay there wallowing in that crappy feeling. What I’m saying is, it’s okay to feel bad but don’t unpack and live there for a great length of time.
  2. Do something to make yourself feel better. What floats your boat? Do that. Feel like a walk? Do it. Wanna dance naked in the rain? Do it (but try not to get arrested). Want a piece of chocolate cake? Do it. Just don’t use it as an excuse to eat the whole goddamn cake because that ain’t gonna be good for ya! Feel the pain. Accept it. Find something to distract yourself and hopefully you’ll start to feel a bit better.
  3. Tell someone about it. This is where writing groups are fab! Fellow writers are amazing for this type of thing, both in real-life groups and those on Facebook. The best people are those that have been there and know how you’re feeling, but won’t allow you to feel sorry for yourself for too long.
  4. Just because your work was rejected doesn’t mean it sucks. I mean, the rejection sucks, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that the writing is bad. Again, use those writer friends and ask them to read through your stuff (but make sure you return the favour :)) Use it as an opportunity to look critically at your work. And remember, rejection of your work ISN’T a rejection of you as a person. It might just be that your writing wasn’t right for the person you sent it to.
  5. Maybe use it as an opportunity to put that piece of work aside and start something fresh. Leave your manuscript for a bit, start something new, then come back to it with fresh eyes. Is there anything that stands out now you’re looking at it again? Is it formatted correctly? Have you sent it to the right agent/ publisher? Can you write a better covering letter?
  6. Don’t allow rejections to control your future. Remember, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was rejected by no less than twelve publishers! TWELVE! Think about that when you feel like giving up. Rejection isn’t about how many times you get rejected, it’s about what happens next. It’s about resilience. It’s about getting back up again, dusting yourself off and getting out there again.

Don’t let rejection define you. Use it as a tool to improve and keep pushing yourself forward. Keep doing your own thing.

What would you add to the list? How do you handle rejection?

 

Further Reading:

https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/5-ways-mentally-strong-people-deal-with-rejection.html