Resolutions for Writers: 10 Ways to Hone Your Craft in 2013

WritersdontcryRachel E. MorrisLast year I came up with 52 writing exercises for writers. As I haven’t heard from anyone whose finished them all, I figured this year, instead of coming up with 52 more, I’d do something a bit more practical: a list of resolutions for writers, aimed at making writing as fluid as breathing. Now, you certainly don’t have to do them all! (Though you’d surely be some kind of Writing Superhuman if you did.) But picking even just one of these to commit to this year is a great way to improve both the quality and the quantity of your writing.

So, Happy Writing in 2013!

1. Make Writing a Habit
Oh, come on—you had to know this one was coming! It’s resolutions for writers, and what are burgeoning writers famously known for? (Hint: it’s not writing.) But despite the siren call of procrastination, writing really does get easier with practice--and the more you write, the better you’ll get. So try to make a habit of writing, and write for 30 minutes a day, five or more days a week. It doesn’t have to be good writing! We’re not talking publishable prose or polished poesy. Just write. Flash fiction, writing exercises, diary entries, or another chapter in the world’s greatest novel. It doesn’t matter. Anything will do. The whole idea is just to keep that writing muscle limber and maybe even beef it up a little bit, so that when you need it, it’s fit for action and ready to rumble.

2. Oh, and Make Reading a Habit, Too
Try to read at least 15 minutes of every day. Every day! (I know: that’s a lot of days.) But reading is way easy to slip into a day—especially a mere 15 minutes. You can read while eating breakfast, you can read in the bath, you can read before bedtime, and you can read on the bus, too. Or between meetings, or at lunch, or during coffee break. Really, books are so incredibly portable these days—with an increasing number of people reading on their phones—that you can read just about anywhere. And the benefits of reading? Reduced stress, a sharper mind, an enviable vocabulary, greater empathy, a steel-trappier memory, and a nimble learning capacity.

3. Keep an Idea Notebook
New York Times best-selling author Laini Taylor wrote an excellent piece for Figment the other day about keeping an idea notebook—a place for all the things that, as Taylor said, “set [your] mind on fire.” She credits her idea notebook with helping her find the story of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone--and then, to further back that up, she shows excerpts from her journal that uncannily spell out huge swathes of the story. And what a brilliant idea! Both the book, and the idea notebook. So resolve this year to write like Laini Taylor, and keep a journal filled with the things that inspire you and keep your fire burning--and see what ideas your brain has in store for you.

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Comments (10)

Maximum people are like to make a hobby in playing games and listening music but some of them are make their hobby in reading/writing books, novels. For make their hobby in future life style for that universities courses are playing such a big role for inlarging our carrier. Resolutions for Writers for our craft in 2013 said by this blog. So make a good hobby which is effectively good for us and our future carrier also.

Posted by: Financial Services Turnkey Universities Course | Friday February 8, 2013 at 2:45 AM

This is quite diligent way to write. Still, the tips are fine.

Posted by: Gaurav Raghav | Monday January 7, 2013 at 7:22 PM

My favorite new book I have read this month is "The Last Dance."

Posted by: Lonna Enox | Saturday January 5, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Excellent advice, Susan – I've included your piece in my post today, thanks.

Posted by: Abbs Pepper | Wednesday January 2, 2013 at 7:38 AM

Thank you for your reply Susan.
oh I sure do love books! I only meant to ask if shorter, concentrated blogs are better than books to build a "perspective" about anything in general. I agree, however, that the blogs or any online content for that matter cannot substitute books.

Posted by: Badarinarayan Burli | Wednesday January 2, 2013 at 2:00 AM

Ester: The 2011 "The Indie Author Guide" does have an interesting message on Amazon! I'd use the contact customer service button at the bottom if you want more information.

Badarinarayan: Thank you! Now, you're talking to the wrong person if you want someone to tell you NOT to read a book to learn about a subject! Especially when it comes to very good writing. But if you're just looking to do some research on a random topic, good starts are the Encyclopedia Britannia online and Wikipedia (so long as you check your sources). Those can give a head start on what primary sources you might pursue.

Katie: Thank you so much! My writing partner took quite a while to find, but I'm quite grateful for her. Good luck finding one of your own!

Spectra: Thank you so much! I really appreciate that :). And best of luck with your writing for the new year!

Posted by: Susan J. Morris | Tuesday January 1, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Thank you SO much for this. I'm looking forward to putting these into practice in the new year. And, if I must say, this was so well-written! Sharp, clear, witty, and useful. Thank you.

Posted by: Spectra Speaks | Tuesday January 1, 2013 at 7:51 AM

I love your article, but number 8 can be a real tough one. If you have one, more power to you!

Posted by: Katie Gatto | Tuesday January 1, 2013 at 7:11 AM

Hi Susan! Great article to read. I have recently developed the writing habit and am finding it very comforting. However, I want to build my perspective more. Besides reading books can you suggest any blogs, or credible websites where I can find some very good writing on any subject?

Thanks in advance and Keep writing!

Posted by: Badarinarayan Burli | Monday December 31, 2012 at 11:59 PM

I would like to purchase an updated version of THE INDIE AUTHOR GUIDE. Can you help me??


Ester Horompoly

Posted by: Ester Horompoly | Monday December 31, 2012 at 11:39 AM

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