10 Easy Things to Do in January for Your Writing Life
Posted January 5, 2015on:
Happy New Year!
Although January is a popular time for declaring writing resolutions, I’m usually too worn out from holiday socializing to join in. Instead, I like to use January to clear the decks, declutter and organize.
Devoting just an hour or so to each of the tasks below will yield a strong foundation for writing during the year.
Read your cache of blogs. All during the year, I bookmark bloggers and various blog posts that spark my interest. And, it is always my intention to go back to them and read them in a more leisurely way. It’s probably the same for you. Now is a fantastic time to dive into new ideas. Coming across other great bloggers is one of the joys of an online writing community.
Line up beta readers. You are going to finish something this year, right? If so, you will need some beta readers. Beta readers are people who read your work while it is in draft form. They could be people in your writing group, other writers, trusted friends, etc. It’s generally good to have a mix of non-writers and writers as beta readers. Want to know about beta reader etiquette? Check out author K.M. Weiland’s helpful post on this topic.
Clean up your bio across your social media sites. Read your short bios that live on social media (e.g. FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). Do they still reflect the writer that you are? Are they compelling? Do you need to add, subtract or tighten anything?
Clean up digital clutter on your desktop. It’s coming to get you if you don’t.
Toss out old drafts. What do you do with drafts you’ve gotten back from your writing group? How long do you keep them? I have tendency to keep them way too long; they start to form into mountains on my desk. When you have integrated editorial comments into a completed story, toss the draft.
Check the ergonomics of your writing space. What can be moved and realigned for maximum support of your body?
Straighten up your submissions file—update your 2014 submissions file and create the 2015 one. And, of course if you haven’t started a submissions file yet, correct that. Writers write and submit their work.
Go through last year’s journals, class and conference notes. If you took writing classes, attended conferences or workshops and/or kept a journal this year I bet there are still some nuggets to mine. Take time to honor that work.
Get a new subscription to a writing magazine and/or literary journal. Where do you learn about the field of publishing? How do you find out about new writers? We do this in many ways, through blogs, friends, librarians and visits to bookstores. However, writing magazines and literary journals also can play a key role in our professionalization. You’ve probably been thinking about treating yourself to subscription to a writing magazine (or publishing trade magazine), or literary journal for some time. Do it! I began my subscription to Poets and Writers in January 2013 and have found it invaluable for my writing life
Update your writing accomplishments list and post it where you can see it. Smile at it from time to time.