It’s that time of year again – New Year!
Millions of people around the world vow to improve one or more aspects of their lives every New Year. It's a tradition that allows us to take a long, hard look at our not so stellar habits from the past 12 months and determine to turn over a new leaf, start from scratch or just try to do things a little better.
As the New Year kicks in, take this opportunity to make resolutions that help you improve not just your health or fitness, but also your writing. Here are 15 New Year writing resolutions you should adopt to help you achieve your writing goals this year. Try and actually make good on these resolutions.
Alvah Simon, in his book, North to the Night, reminds us, "The best time to take action toward a dream is yesterday; the worst is tomorrow; the best compromise is today." If you truly want to achieve more in your writing goals, resolve to create more time to write each day.
Resolve to focus more on writing practical, actionable content that engages and provides real value to your readers than content purely focused on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Search engines like Google have gotten smarter and you no longer need to stuff keywords into articles to achieve "perfect keyword density" or use exact-match links. Structure content first and foremost for readers then optimize your article for high search engine ranking. Readers and search engines will love you for it.
Resolve to develop and improve your writing skills and other complementing skills like marketing. Read industry books, attend relevant seminars and enroll for writing classes to sharpen your skills. Spend a given number of hours per day practicing, practicing and practicing some more to make perfect.
Resolve to grow your name recognition online and social media presence. Post a specific number of social media entries per week on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Also, commit to post a regular number of blog posts per month on your own blog and on other people’s blogs as guest posts.
Resolve to care more about your audience. Go the extra mile; do your research; give your readers something unique and high-value other than what they’ve read 1,000 times before. Write like you give a darn about it. Overly-professional, corporate and mechanical writing doesn’t resonate well.
Resolve to write more of the longer, well researched posts. Studies seem to confirm what we’ve been seeing throughout the last few years that longer articles tend to be shared more online than shorter posts. Longer posts also tend to get more links from other sites.
Resolve to express yourself more freely and write more unrestrained in your own style. Let your authentic voice, personality, attitudes and creativity shine through your texts. For example, don't be afraid to be "controversial" or "silly." These are the subtle factors that will distinguish your writing.
Resolve to talk less about how you will write, finish works in progress or start new projects and actually do those things. Talking won’t get things done; rolling your sleeves and diving into your work will. Instead of talking a lot, journal more. Record important milestones and lessons learnt along the way.
Resolve to step outside your comfort zone otherwise you might get complacent and stagnate. Read books that you wouldn’t normally pick up. If you are a fiction writer, branch out into the world of freelance article writing or try writing memoirs. Just spread your wings and fly with the wind.
Resolve to be more sociable and share great stuff you find online with friends and family using social media buttons and via e-mail. Many wonderful articles drown in the torrent of new information added online each day. Bring useful posts back to life by Tweeting, Digging or giving them a Google +1.
Resolve not to waste time on frivolous online activities, such as mindless Facebooking, Tweeting and YouTubeing. Minimizing non-essential Internet surfing will help you recapture valuable, productive hours in your day. Every time you find yourself caught up online, ask yourself: “Am I really doing what I should be doing?” Stop if you are not.
Resolve to stop comparing yourself to others. Just be your own person. Everybody advances in life at their own pace, depending on a variety of factors and influences. Some writers will make a boatload of money fast, while others will take some time to make a modest amount. That’s just how life is. Figure out what you really want in life and then go for it. Start seeing through the need for approval in the new year.
Resolve to balance your writing life and social life better for a more wholesome existence. Put your work aside regularly and make time for a beloved spouse, those adorable children, nice friends and even sports. Your social life offline is just as important as your writing life online, if not more. Don’t allow yourself to slip into a social vacuum.
Resolve to give something back to the writing community. This is not only uplifting to the spirit, but also beneficial to the entire industry. Write reviews on Amazon for books you’ve enjoyed, mentor budding writers to succeed and generously offer writing help, advice and critique where solicited.
Finally, resolve to enjoy every moment of your writing journey throughout the year, including enjoying new friendships built online and offline. Sure, there will be bumps, road blocks and knockdowns sometimes along the way, but that is what makes the journey so exciting and writing successes so sweet.
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by Hugh MacLeod
Ever wonder what it really takes to make a living as a creative person in today's complicated world?
MacLeod presents some witty keys for creative success, including "ignore everybody. Why should you "ignore everybody"?
Because, he writes, nobody else can tell you whether your idea is worthwhile. People can give you advice, but at the end of the day, it's your decision. The more original an idea, the less helpful the advice is going to be.
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