Is this your year to write? If you’ve got the impulse and are ready to make good on your promise to yourself to put more words to paper (or screen) in 2013, here’s our New Year’s prescription for making progress in your writing and having some creative fun along the way.
1. Choose your medium. Start by thinking about what kind of writing you want to do more of this year. Is it time to convert your workbook or manual into a more narrative-style business book? Is this the year of the blog for you? Or would you really love to ramp up your client newsletter? Think about which medium best meets your professional goals for 2013, then balance this with what gives you energy. If the two sync up, great. If not, you’ll have to decide whether to allow strategy to guide you, or follow your passion instead and see where it takes you. Either way, having a clear focus for your writing will point you in the right direction.
2. Get inspired. Now that you’ve committed to what kind of writing you’ll be doing more of in the New Year, it’s time to get the creative marbles rolling. This isn’t about writing yet; it’s about getting inspired to write. Take yourself on an artist’s date à la Julia Cameron, whether it be to a museum; a talk at the local university; a bustling coffee shop, with your favorite novel in hand; or a walk along the river. If that’s too foo-fooey for you, design an outing that works for you. The goal is to create time and space for you to engage the world as a collector of ideas. You don’t know what will come out of this time but you do have an intention—to reinvigorate that part of you that knows how to observe and to create from what you observe.
3. Find your writing schedule RX. Yes, you already know that you need to find time to write. The question is, what writing schedule works best for you? Because there is power in momentum, consider carving out time to write regularly four or more days a week, even if it’s only for a half hour. If you’ve ever hit the gym on a regular basis, you know how it gets easier to exercise when it becomes a routine. Writing’s no different. Putting words to paper on a daily basis will keep the confidence up and writing anxieties at bay. It also allows for a regular flow of ideas and helps sharpen your writing skills. If daily writing isn’t feasible or appealing to you, which is true for a fair share of busy professionals, find a routine that works for you: weekend mornings, two hours every Thursday night, one week a month, or something in between. Whatever the specifics, take your writing time seriously, put it on the calendar, and follow through.
4. Build your squad. Unless you get paid to write, writing can seem like a luxury. Writing time can easily become the first thing you strike from the calendar when life gets busy. Get a team comes to create some accountability with one or more people who will root for your success, remind you why you wanted to write in the first place, and not let you skip out on producing pages. Your writing squad could include another colleague, a writer friend, and/or a professional editor or publishing consultant dedicated to your project. Let these folks know your goals and keep them posted on your challenges and your progress. By staying connected to your team, you can help ensure that the writing process stays real.
If writing more in 2013 is on your agenda, you’ve got your four-part prescription. It begins with figuring out what genre of writing will energize you while helping you meet strategic professional goals. Then treat yourself to some creative rejuvenation time in the form of an artist’s date and plan to repeat those dates throughout the year. Settle on a regular writing schedule that works for your lifestyle and personality, and ensure you stick to it by inviting a few others to cheer you on as part of your support team. The end result—whether witty blog, anecdote-filled self-help book, or a collection of cutting edge white papers—is likely to be persuasive, professional, and inspired.