13 Struggles Only Unpublished Fiction Writers Understand

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First things first. This isn’t an article for all y’all fiction writers who have actually been published. I’m sure you have your problems, but this post is not for you, you beautiful, successful monsters. This post is for the semi-clueless writers whose hearts are still full of hope, with their Word docs full of nonsense plot outlines and six different versions of the same abandoned manuscript. This is for anyone and everyone who is writing a book right now and has no idea what the hell they’re doing, because that’s where I’m at too. If you’re riding on this struggle-bus with me, you know all of these struggles way too well:

1. You never have time to write

Apparently you have to work to pay rent? And see people to maintain friendships? Also, laundry gets dirty, plates don’t wash themselves, and the fridge is not filled by fairies? What! Does not compute???

2. Just kidding — you do have time, and you waste it like nobody’s business

*scrolls into the Twitter abyss*

*calls mum for a catch up*

*finds the lost portal to Narnia*

Oh man, no time to write! Better luck tomorrow.

3. The conditions have to be ‘just so’ when you’re writing

When there’s no pressure, you can write upside down strapped to a rocket. When you’re writing The Novel That Will Make You As Famous As J.K. Rowling, So Help You God, then you need to have a candle burning, a half glass of red wine at your side, and a chimpanzee playing the violin before you’ll even think about opening your laptop.

4. You’re constantly daydreaming about your characters

I’ve apologised to at least ten different stationary objects that I’ve walked into this month alone.

5. You keep getting 40,000 words into something and then immediately want to burn it down

BURN IT ALL DOWN. (Or rename it “ZZZZZ” so it hits the bottom of your Docs folder and you never have to see its ugly mug again.)

6. Whenever someone asks you what kind of story you’re working on, you make this face…

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Which basically says “It’s just this little dumb stupid terrible awful horrible story I’m working on, sort of, kind of, maybe.”

7. And whenever someone asks to read what you’re working on, you make THIS face…

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Whilst thinking “OVER MY DEAD BODY. (Nobody has to read this for it to get published, right? Right??)”.

8. And yet, you’re genuinely concerned about casting the movie for this book you haven’t even finished

Is [insert favourite actor/actress here] available and will they remain available for the next 10-15 years while I’m getting my sh*t together?

9. Friends you didn’t even know were writing a book end up getting published before you do

Congrats, by the way. Can’t wait to read it and love it and eat an entire pack of Oreos consoling myself, you talented pain in the ass.

10. Every 3 weeks or so you are thoroughly convinced that your ideas suck, everything is crap and what the hell were you even thinking?!

Writers are totally emotionally stable, though!! Honestly, we’re fine!! Everything’s great!!!!!!!!! (Help.)

11. Writer’s block is some real sauce

You can stare at that blank page for hours, and end up typing every random word you can think of in the futile quest for inspiration. You start a sentence, and delete it. Get up and make a drink. Type another sentence. Delete it. At the end of the day you have a blank page and a headache from banging your head on the wall. And it’s not like you can talk to anybody about it, because then you’d have to actually admit that you were writing something in the first place.

12. Nobody but you actually cares

Like, you’re a nobody. You have no deadlines, no expectations, and no cheerleaders to provide that much needed praise and admiration for the stinking pile of dog-poop you’re writing. So you are forced to plod on, without reward. Most likely most days you feel dead inside. TELL ME I’M PRETTY, INTERNET.

13. You actually have no freaking idea what to do when you’re done with this giant thing you made

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Click your heels three times, blow some glitter on your manuscript and hope for the best! According to the internet, the “real work” in getting published hasn’t even begun yet.

***

Via: https://www.bustle.com/articles/101031-13-struggles-only-unpublished-fiction-writers-understand

 

Simple Ways To Boost Your Confidence As A Writer

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Being a writer by profession is an incredibly public thing to do. Our work will inevitably be distributed and read by extended audiences that we may never meet.

With the opportunity of self-publishing thriving, more and more writers have emerged and there is now a saturation of content. More than just asking ourselves how to produce great quality work, we now have to face the question of how to stand out among the crowd as well. 

To do this, one of the most significant attributes to have is confidence.

Confidence helps us stay focused about our writing paths regardless of the amount of competition that is in the industry. Confidence also keeps us motivated to write and write some more regardless of whether our work is labelled successes or failures.

Here are a few simple ways to help writers boost that confidence.

1. Understand the learning process

Though it sounds cliche, it makes the saying no less true: writing is a learning process.

The more we write, the more we will learn about language itself and about the topics we are writing about. For example, if you’re writing about a character in your novel, re-writing the dialogues and revising the plot lines helps you to think more critically about that character and their situation.

Writing and re-writing forces you to make connections between ideas and self-expression. Consequently, the output of repetitive writing practice allows you to create more established thought processes for your next piece of work. In this way too, your confidence will be boosted.

2. Read to learn

The equation of becoming a better writer is simple. We must read and we must write. But to do this well, it is important to maintain a teachable perspective.

As easy as it is for others to read your writing, so will you of others. With no shortage of readily available reading material for us online, it’s become even easier to learn about writing on a more dynamic scale.

People are made up of different stories and their own unique experiences. Consider it a privilege to have incredible amounts of reading material at the tip of your fingers.

Reading with a teachable perspective, though, makes a distinction between reading for enjoyment and reading to learn. Try not to spend too much time comparing, it will only disappoint you as you realise that there will always be someone out there who writes better or has found greater success.

When you read to learn, however, you give yourself potential to discover new ideas, more patterns of writing, new vocabulary and so on. This will help your confidence.

3. Celebrate the little victories

Rarely do writers find success overnight. The potential for an incredibly long process of trying, before your work gets recognised or published, can be confidence crushing.

One way to avoid this is to celebrate the little victories, because success is essentially made of milestones.

Milestones, like getting your articles published online, building your market of influence, extending your network of contacts and gaining inspiration for new ideas, are all included. Even through these victories, you’ll be able to learn more about the writing industry, how to build your writing career and even who to go to when you need help.

These little victories will boost your confidence as you know that you’re gaining achievements that’ll help you in the future.

4. Give yourself a break

Everyone makes mistakes. However, when we understand the learning process of becoming a better writer, we begin to appreciate the mistakes we make.

It’s through our mistakes that we discover what we can improve on in our work. Responding with determination and an active spirit for learning, rather than self-degradation, is a much healthier way of dealing with mistakes and failures.

For Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale and more recently, The Heart Goes Last, she says in an interview with The Guardian:

“Failure is just another name for much of real life: much of what we set out to accomplish ends in failure, at least in our own eyes. Who set the bar so high that most of our attempts to sail gracefully over it on the viewless wings of Poesy end in an undignified scramble or a nasty fall into the mud? Who told us we had to success at any cost? Get back on the horse that threw you, as they used to say.”

5. Find a trusted writer community

Confidence is a contagious spirit, but so is doubt. It’s crucial that you assess the type of environment you can allow yourself to thrive in.

Ask yourself: is it one that provides opportunities for you to flourish confidently?

Having a community that encourages and inspires your writing processes may be the only thing that is standing in your way of having some inner writer confidence.

More than that, having a trusted writers’ community will put you in a place where you can bounce ideas off each other, get feedback and even, discover ways to overcome challenges specific to a writers’ world.

Writing itself may be something you do alone. However, in preparing for it, ensure that positive energy fuels your writer-mind and places you back into a confident space.

6. Embrace criticism

Finally, criticism is a gateway to a steep learning curve.

As noted before, it’s through criticism that we find out more about what we can make improvements on. At the same time, it’s also through criticism that we see where our strengths lie.

But before you take the criticism too seriously, it’s important to know where your criticism is coming from.

In a digital era, anyone can scrutinise your work and publish harsh comments that may or may not be relevant. It’s easy to have low confidence because of this. After all, hearing negative views about work you’ve poured your heart and soul into can be hurtful. 

Furthermore, you must understand who is criticising you. Are they people you can trust? Are they people whom you respect? Do they want the best for you? Are they offering constructive feedback or just being nasty?

Asking these questions can definitely point us in a better direction on who to trust without sabotaging our writing careers. Some criticism might be worth taking with a pinch of salt. And some can be dismissed altogether. 

All in all, keep an open mind, and try to let your confidence flourish through all criticism, mistakes and little victories. Stay positive, and surround yourself with people who will support you and your writing.

Via: https://writersedit.com/10881/resources-for-writers/6-simple-ways-boost-confidence-writer/

What Your Reading Style Says About Your Personality

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If you’ve ever encountered a fellow reader in a classroom or a book club or living in the walls of an independent bookshop, then you probably know that there are many different types of readers. And I don’t just mean that different readers favour different book genres — people can enjoy the same book in very different ways. You might be a highly organized, one chapter per night kind of reader, or you might be the kind of person who picks up a novel and doesn’t put it down until you’ve reached the last page, dehydrated and sobbing. The good news is that there’s no one right way to be a book-lover, so here’s what your reading style says about you.

Of course, most of us dabble in multiple reading styles. When I’m reading a biography, for example, I’ll read a chapter or two during my commute and spend a lot of time thinking quietly about the impact of one individual on the grand course of history. But if I’m reading the latest bestselling fiction thriller novel, I’ll hole up in my room until I’m finished, and then spend a lot of time discussing it with everyone I know until they stop taking my calls.

So check out your these different reading styles, and what they say about you:

1. The Cozy Reader

You don’t even think about cracking open that book until you’ve got your slippers, sweatpants, blankets, and warm drink of choice firmly in place. You like your reading time to be quiet and solitary (unless you have a best friend or significant other willing to cuddle in silence). You’re religious about taking off your pants and/or bra as soon as you get home, your bed is the most comfortable place in the world, you prefer cats to dogs, and you check “interested” instead of “going” on all Facebook invites, just in case you’d rather stay home.

2. The Commuter

You have to take the train/bus/ferry everyday anyway. Why not put that time to good use? You’re a pro at blocking out all sights and smells while you read, and you can balance a book, a bagel, and a cup of coffee while holding onto a pole, wedged between two business bros. You’re not afraid to be judged for the books you read in public, and you’re excellent at making the most of your time.

3. The Speed Reader

You devour books whole. You were always getting in trouble as a kid for reading at the table, or under your desk during class, but all that youthful reading gave you the ability to rip through paragraphs in record time. You feel like you’ve wasted a week if you weren’t able to make it through a single book, and no matter how fast you read it always seems like your TBR list is getting longer. At least once, you’ve started a “new” book, only to realise that you’ve read it before (it’s hard to keep track!).

4. The Book Clubber

When you finish a book, you want to talk about it. You need to talk about it, preferably over wine with people you like. It doesn’t matter if you loved or hated the book, you have opinions to share! If you read a book outside of book club, you might even venture online just to discuss it with someone. You also enjoy bite-sized finger foods, starting debates, and throwing themed birthday parties for your friends/pets.

5. The Digital Reader

You’re all about Kindles and E-readers of every kind. You like having all your books in one place, especially when you travel. You never type when you can speak into your phone, you own real headphones, not earbuds, and you have a strong opinion about the proper pronunciation of “gif.”

6. The Series Junkie

Sure, you’ll read the occasional stand alone book, but deep down you’re a die-hard series junkie. Nothing gets your heart racing like seeing “Book One” on the cover of that new novel you just purchased. You’re enthusiastic and deeply protective of the books and people that you love. You may or may not own several mugs/key chains/candles based on your favourite series, you’ve read at least one piece of fanfiction, and you always display your books in order on the shelf.

7. The Re-Reader

Your favourite books are held together with tape and sheer willpower. You could probably recite Harry Potter from memory. You know that re-reading isn’t for everyone, but you secretly believe that you haven’t really read a book until you’ve read it at least twice. You’re big on posting Throwback Thursday pics, and you’re not afraid to get a little nostalgic about everything from The Baby-sitters’ Club to Furbies.

8. The Slow & Steady Reader

Reading isn’t all about speed. You don’t race to the last page, but you still enjoy a good book. You might leisurely work your way through an 800 page novel over the course of the year, and that’s still quite an accomplishment. You choose your words carefully, but when you speak, people listen (your friends won’t let you pick the restaurant anymore, though, because no one has that kind of time).

9. The Scribbler

Some people call it desecrating a book, but you call it taking notes! When you read, you simply have to underline and highlight and comment on every sentence that strikes you. You’re all about writing in the margins (what else are the margins for?) and collecting quotes. You’ve caught multiple typos before. You jiggle your foot a lot when you try to sit still, you were always the first to raise your hand in English class, and you have extensive thoughts about why that pivotal scene got cut out of the HBO adaptation of your favourite book.

10. The Audio Addict

You have no time for those people who don’t think that audiobooks “count” as “real books.” If you’re walking or cleaning or driving, you better believe that you’re listening to an audiobook. You can read so many more books this way! You have a very active imagination, and you sometimes find yourself daydreaming in your favourite book narrator’s voice.

11. The Book Juggler

Why read one book at once when you could read five? You’re constantly starting new books, and you’re pretty adept at holding multiple plots in your brain at once. You’re a habitual multi-tasker, you bounce between multiple social groups, and your plans are sometimes just a tad more ambitious than you have the time for.

12. The Night Owl

You don’t necessarily plan to stay up all night reading…but here you are at four in the morning, still flipping pages. You’ll go days without picking up a single book, and then read two in one night. You’ll try to stick to one chapter before bed, and wind up reading ten. Something about nighttime just makes it easier to get sucked in! You have a similar problem with binge watching TV shows and eating all the Girl Scout cookies in one sitting, but you’re also a lot of fun when it comes to spontaneous road trips and late night heart to hearts.

***

Via: https://www.bustle.com/p/what-your-reading-style-says-about-your-personality

What Your Writing Style Says About You

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So you’re a writer. My condolences. You might be a fresh faced creative writing major, or a veteran freelancer, or a new writing convert with a fancy pen and a lot of ideas. There are many different types of writers, and there is no one “right way” to write. But you’ve probably noticed by now that there’s a certain pattern to your particular writing. Like it or not, you have a signature writing style, and you should probably learn to embrace it or you’ll never finish that manuscript. Here’s what your writing style says about you.

If you’ve ever read about famous writers’ writing habits, you’ve probably notice that writing styles vary wildly from person to person. Maya Angelou wrote in a hotel room with a glass of sherry. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Haruki Murakami wakes up at 4 a.m. everyday to write before running 10km. The common factor with all successful writers just seems to be that they kept at it. So, whichever writing style seems to work for you, just keep going until you hit that final page count. And maybe take a moment to think about what your writing style means, because every writer could use a healthy dose of self reflection and listicle-based procrastination:

The Procrastinator

You have elevated Not Writing into an art form. You sit down to write… and then somehow you find yourself washing the windows, or watching unboxing videos on YouTube. The only thing that can actually motivate you to work is last minute panic — so you’ve become a master of the lightning fast rewrite. You can churn out ten pages the day of your deadline. You think that arriving anywhere early is an act of aggression, and you’re always changing plans so you can submit your work on-time, but you’re excellent when it comes to thinking on your feet and improvising (especially improvising excuses).

The Nine-to-Five-er

If your writing time isn’t rigorously scheduled, it’s not going to happen. You’re an early riser who sets word count goals, takes regular snack breaks, and keeps track of pens. People think you’re naturally organised, but really, if you didn’t schedule things, your life would very quickly collapse into a vortex of chaos. You’re the friend who people rely on for getting to the airport, you keep a physical planner, you set timers, and lending out your good pens makes you anxious (you’ve been burned too many times before).

The Nocturnalist

You’re basically a vampire, if you replace all that bloodsucking with writing and eating dry Lucky Charms out of a mug. During the day you work a day job or sleep, but when the moon comes out you set up shop and write long into the night. Or maybe you plan to stop writing at a reasonable hour, but you get caught up in your screenplay and/or suspense novel, and before you know it the birds are chirping. You’re passionate about your writing, but frequently tired, and you’re forever frustrated when friends won’t answer your texts at three in the morning.

The Diligent Note-Taker

You never go anywhere without your notebook (or legal pad, or voice-to-memo app). You’re constantly scribbling down ideas, or even entire overheard conversations. You’ve gotten in to trouble for putting your friends’ quotes into your writing verbatim, but you’ve got to draw inspiration from somewhere, right? You’re almost constantly in writing mode, which is great for coming up with new ideas, but not so great when you need to put your story on pause and focus on your so-called “job.”

The Plotter

The dark cousin of the Note-Taker, the Plotter doesn’t write a word without several charts, outlines, and perhaps a binder full of paper on plotting. The Plotter approaches writing as a subset of engineering: in order to build something great, you first need several month’s worth of math. As a Plotter, you take a little extra time on big projects, and your friends don’t understand half of what you’re talking about. But your detail work is impeccable, your character backstories are extensive, and you throw the world’s best theme parties.

The Research Fiend

You have an encyclopedic knowledge of Heian Era Japan and the history of conjoined twins in America, but you’re not quite sure how to fit it all into your Veep spec script. You live for the thrill of the research, frequently fall down Wikipedia wormholes, and you consider reading to be a form of writing (you’re absorbing material!). You sometimes overwhelm people with your enthusiasm and exhaustive knowledge of cat breeds/fencing/space travel, but you’re a killer at bar trivia.

The Inspiration Seeker

Writer’s Block is your constant nemesis. You make the time for writing… and spend it staring vacantly into space. You spend a lot of time “courting inspiration” by trying out various writing spots, music choices, and latte flavors, to see what gets your creative juices flowing. When the inspiration finally hits, though, you’re a writing machine. You also spend way too long looking at the menu at restaurants, trying to decide what you want, but you’re a great friend to talk to about emotions, because you understand frustration very, very well.

The Speed Demon

You’re all about writing as much and as quickly as possible. You’re strategy is to throw absolutely everything at the wall and see what sticks. You’ll pare it down later. That’s what editing is for! You’d much rather hit that page count as soon as humanly possible, and worry about the finessing later. You’re not great at sitting still and you have no patience for meandering slice of life films.

The Detailer

The opposite of the Speed Demon, you know that writing isn’t a race. You’ll put in one comma in the morning, go about your day, and take the comma out again that night. You’ve been working on your magnum opus for years now, because you know that great work takes time. You take font choices seriously. You’re thoughtful and methodical in everything that you do, and you never let anyone see your work until you have the description of every character’s hair colour precisely right.

The Multi-Tasker

You write under the table during meetings. You have two novels and one play going at once. You’re always reading no fewer than three books at any given time. You can keep four or five online chats going at once, not to mention all those group texts. If you get blocked on one piece of writing, you just bounce on over to another (starting things is a no brainer, but finishing them is a tad harder). You drink a lot of coffee and sometimes have to be reminded to eat.

The Workshopper

You live for the feedback. Giving it, getting it, either way — you like having a writing workshop group to force you to actually sit down and write. You never know what to do with a finished piece of writing until an incisive piece of feedback slaps you in the face. You regularly outsource your outfit choices to friends, you send detailed reports on first dates, and you’re always trying to trick people to come to coffee shops with you and make you write.

The Secret Writer

You don’t talk about writing. You don’t share your writing. You only write in total solitude, preferably in some sort of cavern or attic. You’re kind of hoping that you can become a wildly successful novelist without ever letting anyone read what you’ve written but you understand that might be difficult. You don’t like social media or workshop groups, but you do kind of like the dual identity thing you have going on, because you’re basically the Batman of writing.

***

Via: https://www.bustle.com/what-kind-of-writer-are-you

Writers and Authors: 5 Reasons to Drop the Word ‘Aspiring’

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There is no such thing as an ‘aspiring writer.’ You are a writer. Period.” – Matthew Reilly

The term ‘aspiring author’/’aspiring writer’ is thrown about in literary circles without anyone giving it so much as a second thought.

It certainly seems like a harmless enough phrase. You’ve no doubt used it yourself, I certainly have. But harmless as it may seem, the term ‘aspiring writer’ is actually quite problematic, and could even be holding you back in your writing career. So the sooner you quit employing the phrase, the better.

Here’s five reasons why you should never refer to yourself as an ‘aspiring author’ ever again:

1. ‘Aspiring’ is an abstract term

Aspirations exist only in thought, not in actuality. To ‘aspire’ is to think, not to do. In this way, the term ‘aspiring writer’ allows for a state of inactivity. Or, as author Chuck Wendig puts it,

“Aspiring is a meaningless, null state that romanticises Not Writing.”

By dropping the term ‘aspiring’ and stating instead ‘I am a writer,’ you confirm to yourself, and to the world, that yes, you are actively working on a writing career. You are writing. You are a writer.

2. ‘Aspiring’ takes the pressure off

By describing yourself as an ‘aspiring writer’, you are essentially stating ‘I am not a writer now, but I would like to be one at some vague point in the future’. In doing this, you are reinforcing the notion in your head that all your writing efforts – all your physical, and actual hard work in pursuing your dreams – all lie beyond the present moment.

The pressure is taken off to write right now. In other words, what you are doing is permitting a ‘diet-starts-tomorrow’ mentality for your writing. But as a little, redheaded orphan once reminded us, ‘Tomorrow’ is always a day away.

Thus, ‘tomorrow’ never comes. So, if you truly want to be a writer, don’t wait until tomorrow, start today.

3. ‘Aspiring’ undermines self-esteem

Think of all the times you have described yourself as an ‘aspiring writer’. How often have you employed the term out of a lack of confidence or self-belief? Because you didn’t feel ‘qualified’ to call yourself a writer. But even if this is not the case, the term itself could be eating away at your self-esteem, without you even realising it.

As we have already established, ‘aspiring’ implies that the state of actually being is a thing of the future. In other words, stating you are an aspiring writer implies that you will not actually be a writer until some, unknown, future date.

In this way, when you use this term to describe yourself, you nurture the subconscious belief that your goal of becoming a writer will always lie just beyond your grasp – just out of reach. Such a belief is extremely demotivating, and can thus undermine your self-esteem.

So the next time you describe yourself, try using a more reaffirming phrase. Don’t say ‘I’m an aspiring writer.’ Say ‘I’m a writer.’

4. ‘Aspiring’ is a term to hide behind

Writing is a very difficult profession. Unfortunately, not all who turn their attentions to the written word succeed. For this reason, those of us who do feel the yearning to construct worlds out of words carry a great deal of anxiety.

We fear failure. We fear others seeing us as failures. And if we admit that we are writers, we must then own up to how much or how little success we have actually found.

Therefore, when we are faced with the judgemental eyes of a long lost acquaintance, probing us with the question, ‘And what do you do these days?’, we feel the need to apologise for the fact that we are not J.K. Rowling. We fear being labelled a failure or pretender, simply because we haven’t sold a million copies of that novel we’re drafting.

So we hide. We hide behind the term ‘aspiring.’ Because if we are merely aspiring, it’s okay if we haven’t found success yet. Because ‘aspiring’ means we aren’t necessarily trying. We are thinking, not doing.

But here lies the problem: if we never accept our title, if we do not stop hiding from our passions and begin at last to pursue them wholeheartedly, we will never find the success we so long for. It’s time we admit what we are. We are writers. No more aspiring. No more hiding.

5. Take yourself seriously

The moment you stop calling yourself an ‘aspiring writer’ and start calling yourself a writer, is the moment you begin taking yourself seriously. This is extremely important, as writers are constantly required to make others believe in them.

We must convince agents, editors, publishers, and readers that our writing is worth their time – that they should take us seriously. But this, of course, is impossible to do unless we take ourselves seriously, first.

So the next time you need to explain to anyone ‘what you do’, don’t shy away and hide. Have confidence in your abilities, and never refer to yourself as an ‘aspiring writer’ ever again. You are a writer. Period.

Via: http://writersedit.com/5-reasons-drop-aspiring-aspiring-author/

52 Things | Ideas for Writers

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A couple years ago my friends and I made a list of 52 goals we wanted to accomplish, the equivalent of a bucket list for a year’s worth of achievable things. Most of them were simple goals, but measurable. For instance, you couldn’t just write “read more” as a goal. It had to be quantifiable, like “Read a book a month.” It was fun, but also challenging, both to put the list together and to accomplish all the things I came up with.

So if you want to create a 52 Things list this year, and you’re looking to add some writing goals to your list, here are 52 ideas:

1. Start or join a writing group.

2. Go see three movies based on books you love.

3. Guest post for a blog you read/admire.

4. Get your name in print.

5. Read a banned book during Banned Book Week.

6. Submit a story to a call for submissions for an anthology.

7. Become a blogger.

8. Buy a book for a child or teenager in your life for no reason at all

9. Join an online writing community or a private Facebook group dedicated to a specific genre.

10. Commit to writing a certain number of words per week, or per month.

11. Become a regular content contributor to a website you follow or admire.

12. Attend a local author reading, or two or five or ten.

13. Support your local independent bookstore with a new purchase.

14. Write a book review and put it on your blog. If you don’t have a blog, post it on Facebook.

15. Do one thing that truly champions another writer.

16. Read a book that falls way outside your general area of interest.

17. Post a comment on social media in support of someone you admire.

18. Go to a writers’ conference.

19. Participate in online pitch conferences (like pitch fests on Twitter).

20. Participate in NaNoWriMo in November.

21. Join a literary association.

22. Go on a writing retreat.

23. Get an op-ed placed, or learn how to do it by taking an Op-Ed Project class.

24. Do a 500 Words challenge, where you write 500 words a day for a set number of days, a month or longer. Give it a whirl!

25. Listen to an audio book of a recently published book.

26. Map a book you love. It will teach you a lot to outline a book you’ve read more than once to see how another author thinks about structure, scenes, and narrative arc.

27. Read your work out loud, either at an open mic night or at a literary event.

28. Take an online class.

29. Find a number of authors you love on Facebook or Twitter and follow them.

30. Follow literary agents on Facebook and Twitter if you’re interested in developing agent relationships.

31. Gift yourself a weekend away somewhere nice to brainstorm or write, or to just be with your own thoughts.

32. Do a literary pilgrimage to see a site where a favourite author lived or wrote about, or, if you’re a memoirist, perhaps take a pilgrimage into your own past – to your childhood home, or the setting of your memoir.

33. Visit a printing press.

34. Write and publish an e-book. These can be as short as 25 or 30 pages (single stories or essays) and they can get your work on the map.

35. Enter your work into a contest. You have nothing to lose!

36. Tell your friends and family about your literary ambitions. It’s okay to dream big!

37. Set up a separate bank account for your writing pursuits. Pay yourself a small sum a month for your writing, or when you get paid to publish. Start to think of your writing as a business.

38. Attend an in-person writing class.

39. Map out a timeline for your book, or for your next book. Consider when would be a reasonable publication date for your book and write it down. Post it somewhere where you can see it to hold that date as a goal.

40. Create a book cover for your book-in-progress. Nothing brings a book to life like making it real, even if it’s just a collage or a vision that serves as the basis of what you want the book to look like some day.

41. Commit to a certain number of blog posts a month — one, two, four — and stick to it for the whole year.

42. If you don’t already have a website, start one. If you have a website you know needs a facelift, commit to giving it one.

43. Write a fan letter to your favourite author. These letters are amazing displays of gratitude and appreciation. It’s also good karma.

44. Create a vision board for your book. This is different than a book cover concept. It’s a collage of images and/or words that inspire you, and that can keep you motivated and disciplined with your writing goals.

45. Memorise a poem.

46. Get involved with a local library event.

47. Create a family reading night once a week.

48. Set up a book donation site at your workplace during the holidays.

49. Make a list of your top 10 favourite books in your own genre and reread two of them.

50. Get a logo made. Yes, the brand of you — as a writer — needs a logo.

51. Write an affirmation statement that expresses all your strengths as a writer. Remind yourself why you write and allow yourself an opportunity to truly give yourself a compliment.

52. Do something that shows your commitment to writing – plant something or buy yourself a house plant; get a piece of “writing” jewelry; or create or purchase something that’s meaningful to you that you see every day as a reminder to yourself about the meaning writing holds in your life.

Via: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6396948

Embrace the Art of Editing

Art-of-Editing-1

When I write, I write alone.

This statement is true for most people who take on a creative pursuit such as being an author. In fact, solitude is often the key to finding ‘the flow’ or ‘the zone’ or whatever you like to call the wonderful state where words pour onto the page bringing ideas to life. But when the story reaches its conclusion, or creative flow eludes you, being alone can become simply, lonely. That loneliness can create a space where self-doubt grows, making it even harder to keep trying.

When you finally send your work out into the world, perhaps to an agent or a professional editor, you can be forgiven for being a little apprehensive whilst awaiting a response. After all, you are sending out your darlings to be judged.

However, hearing someone’s thoughts and opinions about your work will help you see your writing in a new light. There’s always the risk of getting too close to a story, whether it’s fact or fiction. The people, good or bad, and the drama can come to affect you so deeply that objectivity becomes difficult. You begin writing from the heart rather than your head, so removing yourself enough to know what to cut can be near impossible.

In the case of fiction, it is rare when an author is not emotionally involved. We create characters from our imaginations, giving them life, hopes, dreams and obstacles to overcome. So similarly, when it comes time to edit, one of the hardest things to do is ‘kill our darlings’ – as it should be!

Editors can be objective. Whether we are talking about journalism or fiction, they are not emotionally invested like the author. Their job is to take a clinical look at the piece. They are experienced wordsmiths who can examine word placement, flow, character, plot, structure and the basics of spelling and grammar in order to give constructive feedback.

Having at times been both an editor and writer I have learnt a very important lesson; editing is essential, regardless of the form of writing and it is something we need to learn to embrace. There are horror stories about bad editors who do more harm than good, so as an author it is always your job to maintain the integrity of a story or article. However, also remember good editors have just one goal in mind – to make your writing the very best it can be.

The key is not to take feedback too personally, something often easier said than done. Not all editors are gentle and sometimes they point out things you don’t want to hear, but all feedback will teach you something.

While it can be confronting to open yourself up for criticism, editors also help give you confidence in your creation by making sure the story essentials are all clear and in place. So if you’re lonely or struggling, find an editor and don’t give up.

Things to remember:

  • See feedback as an opportunity to improve
  • Don’t be precious or defensive – if you really don’t agree, don’t make the changes
  • Keep an open mind
  • Enjoy the process of sharing your work
  • Be brave

Finishing a writing project, big or small, is an achievement that should not be understated. Many writers work around day jobs, family and dozens of other life obstacles. So keep writing and embrace editing, you never know where you might end up.

Read the original article here: http://writersedit.com/embracing-art-editing/