Welcome to 2009!
Image by ilmungo via Flickr
One of the profound ironies about writing a site about being a productive, efficient writer is that the better I am at what I write about, the less time I have to write about it. The last couple of months I’ve been getting more work than ever, even while I struggled to deal with a difficult semester (my day job is teaching anthropology and gender studies to college students) and an even more difficult break-up and move.
My guest writers helped a lot – Aaron Peters, Kelly Kilpatrick, and Stephanie Stiavetti stepped in to take some of the load off as I got moved and then buried under end-of-the-semester grading, and I’m immensely grateful to them all. It’s been fun having guest writers on the site, and I’m definitely up for more.
The Writer’s Technology Companion has changed quite a bit since I started it. When I launched the site last March, I thought I would be primarily reviewing software and writing how-tos. Those kind of posts have been common on the site, of course, but I find that the ones I enjoy writing the most are the ones about being a more productive writer, and so that will be a bigger focus in the year to come. These posts take quite a bit longer to write, especially since – as anyone who follows my work at Lifehack will have seen – I’m struggling mightily with the notion of “productivity” and how to integrate efficiency, meaning, and passion in our lives. But I think it’s a worthwhile pursuit, even if it means slightly longer gaps between posts here.
To help fill some of those gaps, I’m going to try to do regular posts bringing together some of the best posts around the Internet on writing. I come across tons of great stuff out there, and it’s time I start sharing with my readers. Now, as a general rule, I hate link posts, so my promise to you is that I’ll never post just a set of links; I’ll always make an effort to bring some kind of value to the material I’m linking to, so that even if you never click a link, you’ll walk away with something useful.
Since goals and resolutions are on everyone’s mind as we move into the new year, I thought I’d start by sharing with you some of the great posts I’ve come across on that theme.
Better Resolutions for Writers
No-Fail Freelance Resolutions: How To Succeed in 2009: Jenny Cromie offers some great advice for setting writing goals for the new year. Especially welcome is her emphasis on spending some time to know yourself as a writer – check your commitment level and learn what motivates you now, so you’re ready when the writing flags and just about anything else seems preferable to working towards your goals.
“He shoots…he scores!” (or, writing goals): Jane of Seven angels, four kids, one family offers a crucial piece of advice to writers setting goals for 2009: focus on things you actually have control over. You can write the greatest work ever and the most stunning queries of all time, but in the end you cannot control whether your book gets published. “Get book published” might be setting yourself up to fail; “Submit manuscript/proposal to one publisher or agent every month this year” is something you can make sure happens.
Writing Goals and New Year’s Resolutions Tips for Writers: Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen offers her take on writers’ resolutions for the new year. with a special emphasis on financial goals. Writers often ignore finances (which makes us especially easy to take advantage of, unfortunately) – if you want to make writing your life’s work, though, you’ve got to take the money side seriously.
Stress Relief for Writers: Four Ways to Achieve Your Writing Goals: Angela Booth tells writers to relax – and provides some strategies for doing so. Though many writers seem to thrive on chaos and deadlines, the reality is that our minds think and work best when they’re at peace. Clear your mind and let the ideas flow!
47 Ways Copyblogger Can Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions: Although this is primarily a “sneeze post” for Copyblogger (a “sneeze post” is a post written primarily to direct you to other work in the site’s archive – it’s a good traffic generating tool, but typically not especially exciting content), Sonia Simone provides lots of good advice for writers in between the links to other Copyblogger posts. And, to be honest, you can do a lot worse for yourself than to spend some time with Copyblogger’s usually excellent writing posts.
Top 10 Resolutions for Writers: A simple, to-the-point overview of the ten resolutions that should top a writer’s list of resolutions.
Ten health hazards for writers: Writing seems like a pretty safe work option, compared to say driving the ice roads of the Arctic or doing humanitarian relief work in a warzone, but it’s not without its own particular on-the-job hazards. Tumblemoose Writing Productions offers tips for avoiding 10 health risks that can stop your writing in its tracks. Don’t fall short of your goals because you’re too sick or injured to write!
And don’t forget my own post, How to Set SMART Writing Goals, which isn’t about resolutions per se but which has plenty to say about setting goals that work.
Thanks for the mention Dustin! Happy New Year!
Thanks for the great post, Jenny! Happy New Year to you, too!
Thanks for the links — I’m BIG into financial goals and earning a full-time living as a writer! Money talks, I listen 🙂
I’ve learned to break down my more lofty goals (“get published in Health magazine once every 2 months”) to specific, achievable steps (“send the Health editors 1 new pitch every Wednesday”). This way, I’m not dreaming of some vague hope — I’m actually doing something to achieve my goals. It works, fellow scribes…just create your little “to do” list, and do it, and you’ll go farther than you dreamed possible.
Dustin, I have to chuckle. The process you’ve gone through mirrors my own experience almost exactly!
I have a suggestion for both of us: can we encourage our readers to send an email to WRITER’S DIGEST, suggesting that a category for PRODUCTIVITY be added to the best websites for writers annual list. I myself have already nominated you and Juiced on Writing.
I’m in the midst of major rethinking about my blog and my own personal direction. I’m developing some very different approaches, but not yet sure I’ll proceed with them.
I do however plan to open my own blog up to contributors.
Good luck for 2009.
Happy New Year! This is my first time here but will definitely not be my last. Having just set down an action plan for my writing this year I’m looking forward to reading the articles that you’ve posted links to here and seeing how my plans reflect the ideas written about.
I hope 2009 is a less bumpy year for you.
Thanks, Jodi, and welcome! Things are off to a good start so far, so here’s hoping! Best of luck to you, too.
Tom: You’re right, of course — if you like the kind ofcomment posted here, check out Tom’s site at http://www.becoming-a-writer-seriously.com/ and feel free to let Writer’s Digest and other writing publications know you want to see more of this kind of stuff.
Actually, posts about posts are pretty useful. Sure, you won’t want to do it all the time, but some of my favorite RRS feeds were discovered this way. I’m glad you’ll be sharing ones you find particularly useful. Shared discovery is a good thing.