by Victor Salinas
A new year signals a new beginning.
While the change of the calendar year is really nothing more than a formality, it can, in fact, be a powerful symbol in the human mind.
Most of us make resolutions at the end of each year. We promise ourselves and those close to us that we will strive to make a better, happier us.
So for all of us writers, here are five great things you can do in 2016 for your writing.
One: Start Writing Your Ideas Down
If you’re a writer, you probably daydream a lot.
So many ideas pummel you throughout the day. New characters, new adventures, new monsters and all sorts of things flood into your imagination every day.
If you don’t have a writing journal, 2016 is the year to start one.
Just get an inexpensive spiral notebook or composition book. Dedicate that book to writing down your ideas as they come to you.
If you do it right, you’re probably writing in it several times a day, every day.
Your awesome ideas can be easy to forget. Too easy!
Write them down, keep them close, and review them often. That way, when the time comes, you’ll have them at hand to put them into your next great adventure.
Two: Find a Writing Partner
Writing is lonely work. But it doesn’t have to be.
If you don’t already have one, find a writing partner. This can be someone you know personally or someone you know online.
You and your writing partner can go to each other for advice. If you’re stuck on a particular problem in your writing, need someone to bounce ideas off of, or someone to review your work, your writing partner will be there to help.
It’s a mutually-beneficial relationship. You can rely on the services of your partner and your partner can rely on you for the same kind of help.
A writing partner is a fabulous way to overcome loneliness and uncertainty. Plus, 2016 may be the year you find your new best friend!
If you’re not sure where to turn for a writing partner, why not start in the comments section of this article.
Three: Read a Book Outside of Your Comfort Zone
If we don’t try new things, we stagnate.
In order to grow for 2016, try and reach outside of your normal habitat. Choose a subject you know you hate.
Maybe mathematics has never been your friend. Maybe you failed history class in school. Pick a subject of fiction or nonfiction that you absolutely can’t stand to even think about… and read it.
Read at least one book from a genre you hate. Ask around for a recommendation on a decent book in this genre.
After you read this book your eyes will be opened to a new way of thinking.
Even if you don’t enjoy it, you are guaranteed to learn something.
And at the very least, you’ll have more material to write your next villain!
Four: Start a Personal Blog
If you don’t already have a blog, start one.
Writing a blog isn’t just about gaining a following (which is always nice). It’s more about getting into the habit of expressing your ideas and being open with other people.
There’s nothing like pouring your heart out and putting that material up for the entire world to see. If you’ve never run a blog before, it can be a scary prospect.
But it’s highly rewarding. Even if few people end up reading it, you will benefit by becoming more open with others. After all, that’s the entire objective of writing: to share personal ideas, insights, and opinions.
If you stick with your blog for a time, others will find you and likewise share their insights with you. And you will grow as writer and as a person.
Post on your blog at least once a week during all of 2016 and see where it takes you!
Five: Share Something That Isn’t Finished Yet
We writers fret so much about making our work perfect.
But we all know that there’s no such thing as perfect. It’s an illusion. There’s always some minor improvement that can be made. And typically, it’s done at greater and greater cost for less and less payoff.
In 2016, get in the habit of showing people something that isn’t finished. Volunteer to read someone else’s unfinished work in exchange for them reading your own.
Critique each other’s rough drafts. Get comfortable with your mistakes, and learn from them.
When you no longer feel ashamed or embarrassed by your shortcomings you can see them for what they really are: opportunities to learn and grow.
How fun would life be if everything was already done, everything already known, and everyone always satisfied?
It’s the challenge that makes life worth living. And the story worth writing.
Victor Salinas is a long-time fan of many fantasy and sci-fi series including the Lord of the Rings, Dune, and Star Wars (his all-time favorite; he dares you to test his knowledge!). He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area. with his wife, cat Dorado, and giant collection of nerd memorabilia.