Linda’s Blog

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year. And yes – it’s that time again: Writing Resolutions for 2022.

I know when I mention this is to one of my writing groups, there’s a collective groan – and not a few excuses. So, let’s forget 2021. For all sorts of reasons, and not least the Covoid pandemic, last year wasn’t that great for many people. I know writers who just couldn’t keep to their writing plans because of other responsibilities and distractions.

But it’s a New Year now and we could all do with a few goals to get our writing going. I’ve come up with 52 ideas – that’s ONLY one a week!

These don’t have to be done in order. It might be an idea to print this list out and then tick off each one as you do it. I’ve divided the 52 ideas into groups, so you might choose one from each group in rotation. Or not! It’s up to you.

If you find you like one particular idea, then repeat it, and delete one you don’t like.

And if you have more personal, specific writing resolutions, then just put those in and delete others.

Try something a bit different

1-5. Take a good look at the genres you have written in the past five years. Is there a pattern, one particular genre you stick to? Try five different genres. Take a look at last month’s blog for genre ideas.

6-10. Similarly, is your reading mostly of one genre? Mine tend to be crime novels and historical sagas, but once in a while, usually on a recommendation, I try something else and am usually pleased I have done so. My goals for this year are biography, sci-fi or gothic, a classic, a hobby and humour.

11. If you are usually a planner, try writing something off the cuff – no forethought, no planning, no plotting, just write. It can be liberating. This type of writer is often called a Pantser! I prefer FREEWRITING. Just write – no plans, no plots, no editing, no corrections. The first thing in the morning is often a good time.
If that’s how you usually write, then try some planning. You might just find it works!

12. Make a conscious effort to write in different POINTS OF VIEW: first, third and even second. If you usually stick to the same one all the time, you’ll find it quite different and it will probably take a bit of effort. Just have a go.

13. Similarly, change your TENSES. If you usually write in the past, try a story in the present. And vice versa.

14. If you’ve never done so before, enter a WRITING COMPETITION. If you have, set a target for 2022, perhaps one every two months.

Clear out the clutter

1. Clear out that pile of MAGAZINES! Save all the useful articles but ditch the rest. They are only taking up space and collecting dust. When did you last read them?

2. If you haven’t already got one, create a WRITING IDEAS file or box. This is where you put interesting articles, newspaper stories, pictures, postcards, brochures – anything that might be an idea for your writing in the future.

3. Have a good look at the FILING SYSTEM on your computer. Can you easily find your writing projects? Did you say What filing system? Now is the time to get all your writing files in order. If you’re not confident about filing, find a friend or ask at your local library for someone to help. It’s amazing how much better you’ll feel about your writing once you can see, at a glance, where everything is.

4. BACK UP YOUR WRITING. Regular computer users will, I hope, already be doing this – making a copy of all your writing (and other important files) and saving them to a safe place, such as an external hard drive, DVDs, the Cloud. Again, if you don’t know how to do this, find a friend or a class.

5. Have a clear-out of your BOOKS. Yes, I know – we writers love books! But when was the last time you opened, let alone read, some of those on the top shelf? There are websites that might buy your books, plus plenty of charity shops, schools and libraries that could benefit. (And it clears some space for this year’s crop!)

6. Have a look through all your PAST WRITING PROJECTS. I always advocate never throwing anything away so now is the time to re-read your old stories. Perhaps they need editing, or a re-think, or sending off to a competition.

7. Your WRITING DESK could probably do with a de-clutter too. I did this recently and then treated myself to a desk mat – makes me feel a bit more organised. (Please note the Pomodoro clock!)

Keep the grey cells active

1– 5. Read 5 new WRITING BOOKS this year. Go to your local library and local bookshop and find out if they have a section on creative writing. Take a note of recommendations on writing websites, blogs, classes etc. You can include well-known authors writing about writing.

6.    Suggest your writing group creates its own LENDING LIBRARY.

  • Search the Internet for free online WRITING COURSES & WORKSHOPS. FutureLearn with the Open University is one place; there are many others. See what you can find.
  • SIGN UP for one of the classes or workshops you found in 3 above.
  • Search the Internet for free online writing WEBINARS: talks by and Q & A sessions with top authors. It’s a good way to take a break and to hear from other writers.
  • Investigate PAID WRITING COURSES . They vary considerbaly in price, anything from £20 to thousands! 
  • Consider taking a WRITING HOLIDAY. These can be one-day retreats, weekend courses or five-day courses or retreats. Non-writing partners can sometimes be accommodated. Investigate.

Get out and about

If you can go for a walk, or on a journey by car or public transport, then try some of these suggestions. If you’re at home, do it on the Internet. With these excursions, it’s important to remember the SENSES and what CHARACTERS might be doing there.

Plan or write a flash fiction story set in each location, changing the point of view each time.

Often it’s best if you go somewhere you haven’t been before as your eyes, and other senses, won’t be clouded by familiarity.

  1. A street market
  2. A park
  3. A bus or train station
  4. A large building – cathedral, palace, warehouse, hypermarket
  5. An animal park/wildlife sanctuary/wetlands
  6. A museum
  7. A stately home or castle
  8. A car boot sale or charity shop
  9. A road you’ve never been down before
  10. A place of worship
  11. A shop you wouldn’t normally go into
  12. A café or restaurant
  13. A library
  14. A sports club or ground

Writing resources

1. Buy a writing MAGAZINE and read it thoroughly. If you enjoy it and find it useful, subscribe. If not, try another next month. The magazine could also be one that’s connected to your current writing project eg travel, world wars, history.

2. Surf the Internet for writing BLOGS. You can often subscribe, for nothing, and receive regular blogs, articles, tips, competitions etc

3. Find, install and use a GRAMMAR checker on your laptop/computer/tablet. MS Word has one and there are others, some free.

4. Once in a while, subject your writing to a CLICHÉ FINDER. As my writing groups know all too well, I have a “thing” about cliches. They might say what you want, but they are not YOUR words. There are free apps on the Internet.

Spread the Word

  1. ENCOURAGE one person to take up Creative Writing eg invite a friend to your local writing group; ask your grandchildren to write a story or a poem for you.
  2. Find a WRITING BUDDY. (see chapter 26 in my book) Set your own targets between you, have regular meetings, give constructive feedback.

So, 52 Writing Resolutions. Good Luck!

I’ve created a New Year Quiz for you this month – it’s on the Quiz page and the answers are on the Answer page! If you’ve been reading my blogs over the past few months, it’ll be a piece of cake.

Happy New Year and Happy Writing.

Linda

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