Every November, I write a new first draft of a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month. After I write 50,000 words and reach “The End” of the story … I stop. If anyone asks, I claim I’m too busy to pursue revising, editing or publishing. At least, until the next November, when I enthusiastically write another novel.
That doesn’t sound too bad… until I admit that I’ve been avoiding revising my fiction since 2003. Last fall, I wrote my 15th fiction manuscript, all of which I’ve never let anyone else read.
Learning new ways
This year, I want to stop claiming I’m “too busy” and admit that I haven’t been willing to try. My brain throws up so many excuses:
- I suspect that revising my own work will be uncomfortable.
- I know from previous experience that learning and practicing new skills is challenging.
- And if I’m being honest, I’m a bit scared to show my writing to other writers and readers and ask for their feedback.
This year, I want to do something different. I want to start revising and editing my writing. I’m planning to use library resources to support this new learning. In fact, it’s one of my writing resolutions!
My writing resolutions for 2018
With some luck and perseverance, you can expect to see more book reviews posted at Bibliocommons and Goodreads, more engagement in the local writing community, more beta reading of my fellow writers’ manuscripts, and more drafts I am willing to share out with other writers as I begin revising my own work.
Inspiration for your writing goals
- During the “Now What?” Months in January and February, National Novel Writing Month supports the revision and publishing process. It’s an extension of their anything-goes noveling philosophy, with the added aim of helping you fulfill your novel’s potential: from first draft to final.
- Chris Blocker recommends, “Write reviews to help your own words flow. Reading and reflecting are essential for writers who hope to improve their craft.” Revisit his article on writing reviews.
- Use a prompt list like “365 Creative Writing Prompts” to write every day.
- Read or re-read a classic about writing like The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron or Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg.
Make it social: start or join a writing group
- Journaling with Words & Images meets at the library on the 2nd Tuesday of each month.
- The local district of the Kansas Authors Club lists several local writing groups on their website.
- If you are considering starting your own group, use advice from this library program: How to Workshop for Writers.
What writing resolutions will you set for 2018?
To help inspire you, I reached out to other local writers to find out their writing resolutions:
- “Sending out queries for articles and poetry publishing.” – Johnna
- “Writing a better first chapter and sending out my first Nano novel. Editing my third novel.” – Bethany
- “I’m going to rewrite my novel on my iPhone and make it much more dialog and less descriptive action.” – Roy
- “Write every day next year. I find when I’m in the groove of writing every day I actually write better and enjoy the writing so much more, so 2018 will be the year of multiple novels.” – Stephen
- “A resolution I keep meaning to making but never follow through with is submitting my writing for publication. It’s scary and new and different because it means admitting to myself that my writing can be pretty good, sharing it with others, and facing rejection, but it’s a personal goal.” – Emi
What are your writing goals for 2018? And if you aren’t thinking in terms of writing goals, what else will you stop claiming you are “too busy” to learn or try? Share your goals in the comments!