Last week, I shared a few of my writing/publishing resolutions for 2011. Here’s the second half of my list. Happy holidays, comrades in writing!
There’s something very romantic about devoting one’s life to a single genre (like poetry), and I envy writers with the devotion and the level of commercial success required to stick to a single genre. For myself, however, I’ve found that diversifying my writing endeavors has helped me to survive better as a freelancer and devote myself more fully to writing rather than taking on non-writing jobs. One of my resolutions for 2011 is to diversify my skill set even further.
In the last few years, I’ve put most of my energy into blogging, fiction, and self-help/psychology. In 2011, I’d like to expand my writerly arsenal to include more magazine articles and non-fiction essays. It takes a while to learn the ropes of a new form, but in my experience it’s always worth it. Expanding your skill set to include many different genres and styles gives you that many more outlets for your creativity, and that many more opportunities for publication. It’s also great for alleviating writer’s block (romance novel not working out? Bang out a few how-to articles until you feel inspired again!).
5. Invest in some professional development
Each year, there are hundreds of conferences, workshops, and retreats where writers can meet other writers and connect with agents, editors, and booksellers. I’ve never been to a single one. It’s part stinginess (“the cost of a two-day admission is two hundred dollars?”) and part squeamishness about the prospect of being squished into a giant conference room with thousands of other writerly hopefuls all vying for a chance to stand out.
In 2011, I plan to bite the bullet and give it a shot. As a writer who mainly works in isolation, I get tremendously energized by being around other writers, even for short periods of time. A writing conference could therefore be a very motivating experience. A writing workshop is also a great opportunity to scope out the “state of the art”—find out what the trends are, what other writers are working on, and what’s going on in the big wide world I so often forget about when I’m at home writing.
6. Write more
I think most writers make this resolution every day, let alone around the New Year. At least, I’ve never heard of a writer resolving to write less. In 2011, like in 2010 and 2009 and years before, I resolve to pour myself into my chosen craft with enthusiasm, dedication, curiosity and joy. By which I mean: 10,000 words a day or bust! OK, maybe 5,000. 1,000. Well, at least three pages, anyway…