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What Are Your Writing Priorities?

New Year’s is just around the corner and for many of us, one of our resolutions will be to write more. But what are we actually seeking to achieve or experience in 2017? Better quality, or just more quantity? A paycheck or becoming part of a community?

You might say ‘All of the above.’ But Jim Collins said, ‘If you have more than three priorities, then you don’t have any.’ With that profound thought in mind, let’s explore some options so you can pick the most important places to put your time and attention in the new year.

from Bloglovin'

from Bloglovin’

WRITING PRIORITIES

  1. Devote more hours to writing-related activities. For a lot of writers our ‘day jobs’, family, and other commitments push our hobby, our passion, out past the margins of our lives. We can even feel guilty calling ourselves writers when days, weeks (or even months) slip by without us producing anything new. Be assured you are writers but you also have to prioritize your life to allow more time for classes, writing groups, and especially the butt-in-chair work.
  2. Finish ‘The Thing’. For some writers next year (and almost all of us at one time), the most important goal is to cross over to the other side of a big project and declare it ‘done’. This could be a final draft, a first draft, or self publishing a piece. Whatever it is, if your project has started to take on epic proportions in your writing life, please consider making 2017 the year you complete it. You’ll feel empowered and amazing on the other side, I promise.
  3. Make money at writing. This one is tricky because most of us would love to ‘go pro’ or see our efforts pay off. That said, if you really want to make a meaningful amount of cash from writing in the next 365 days, be aware that you’re probably talking about a lot of job hunting, networking, resume polishing, and submitting offers online. Most of us hope to make it one day when the writing’s good enough, the wind’s at our back, and luck at our side — but if you want money now, then you have to realize that next year’s writing time may look more like an office job than creative bliss. Nothing wrong with that — just be ready to get to work.
  4. Start the scary thing. For a portion of us, our priority is doing what’s never been done — by us, at least. If you are starting a blog (email me!), beginning a novel, or teaching your first class, just be aware that perfection, accolades, and cash aren’t your goals. You are doing something incredibly brave, and you should just have as much fun as you can while patting yourself on the back for attempting something new. Perfection will come in time; you are here now for the experience.
  5. Get freakin’ amazing —quality-wise. Maybe you have come a long way in terms of your writing but you’re not quite there yet. Whether you want to improve enough to get published, get a job offer, or just create work you’re really proud of, 2017 is a great time to ‘take it up a notch’. But be aware that it’s work. The same as with a fitness program, becoming a better writer is a long journey with few shortcuts. That said, if you are already producing good work, you may just need to hone that last 5% of your process — polish more, take a class, improve your weak spots, and let your true passions come out more often.

    from Thoughtjoy

    from Thoughtjoy

  6. Be part of a community. For a lot of writers, joining a group is an important way to feel encouraged, inspired, and even ‘real’. You can engage in a critique group to improve your writing, read your work out loud on stage or at a table to experience being a true storyteller, ask questions about everything from plot to formatting, and meet others who are also on this crazy journey. You may even find yourself teaching a class, organizing meetings, or putting on an event.
  7. Get your dream job. If you know exactly what you want to be doing as a writer, then learn everything you can about the people who are already there. Meet these people, ask questions online, read blogs, follow them on Twitter. It also helps to imagine your success story: you’re being interviewed about how you ‘made it’ and you talk about the insane work ethic and bold choices that launched you into the life of your dreams. And if you need to go write 20 scripts, then go write 20 scripts.
  8. Find your joy, your voice, and your passion. On the flip side of money and job offers, there’s using 2017 as a way to discover who you as a person and who you are as a writer. Learn about yourself — who are you since the divorce? Since turning sixty? Since graduating college? And what is your passion and potential as a writer? Could you write a blog post that would save a life? Is it time to return to the poetry of your youth? Could you write the funniest graphic novel ever? This can be the year you can find out.
  9. Get serious. For some, the writing’s easy, but the rest of it is hard. Are your files straight, your work submitted on time, your office at least clean enough to find something when you need it? And especially, can you tell people you’re a writer when they ask what you do? This is real, this is happening. Own your talent, respect it, and don’t get in your own way.

    from Bloglovin'

    from Bloglovin’

  10. Learn how to write. I’m a big believer in learning to write by writing but there are also many wonderful books and teachers out there. It’s very true that we don’t know what we don’t know. If you really want to become a great writer, then invest in yourself and buy some books or take a class. There’s also a ton of free blogs, youtube videos, and groups online that can help you for free. And don’t forget to read a lot too!
  11. Find your fans. Austin Kleon’s great book ‘Show Your Work!’ says ‘Do good work and put it where people can see it.’ Maybe you want 200 people following your blog, or 15 Amazon reviews, or just to get a letter from someone who ‘absolutely adored’ your novel (I got one of those this year!). Maybe the writing’s going well and you’re ready to find your tribe. It will take time and dedication but if you love your work, others will too.
  12. Put your work out in the world. One of the tremendous things about being a writer is the giving and receiving of inspiration. You learn and are inspired by great writing of the past and you write the next chapter in our ongoing, collective, creative story. You spend time alone — months or years — crafting a book and then you let it out into the world. To me, releasing is important. Whether you self publish, traditionally publish, blog, or submit to contests, magazines, and websites, it’s a good feeling to let your work go and see what happens. The point isn’t to make it big, but it make it small — find one fan here and there, a kind word, a touched heart. Your writing can make another person say ‘Oh wow, I thought I was the only one who felt that way.’
from movenourishbelieve.com

from movenourishbelieve.com

So which three of these twelve are your priorities? Or are yours not even of this list? For myself, devoting more hours, improving myself quality-wise, and finding my voice and joy are my resolutions. That last one I didn’t even know was a priority until I starting writing this piece.

And in the end that’s what I hope for you all in 2017 — may your writing lead you to revelations you never expected and to the wonderful destinations you’ve always dreamed about.

from advancehappynewyear2017.com

from
advancehappynewyear2017.com

What Writing Challenge is Stirring Within Your Soul?

Yes, even as we enjoy and bustle through the holiday season, 2016 is already appearing on the horizon, challenging us with a new year of fresh possibility.  And whether you’ve been a writer since 1951 or last Friday, you have the potential to improve and amaze yourself in the coming weeks and months.

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Found on lifehack.org

365 days is a long time, provided each one finds you pushing yourself toward some new, greater goal.  Maybe 2016 is the year you finish your first novel, see your work published, or get that dream job.  The only absolute limits are those we impose on ourselves.

For myself, I’m looking to break into writing for dramatic television.  Am I looking at long odds and hard work ahead of me?  You bet.  But as my sister Sarah, an artist, says ‘What matters isn’t that it’s hard, what matters is that it’s doable.’

And your dreams too, can become realities.  So, once the Christmas tree comes down and the New Year’s Eve revelries are finished, once we’ve caught our breaths and cleared our minds, what will come whispering in your ear — what writing challenge is striving within your soul?

Found on lifehack.org

Found on lifehack.org

Whatever your goals are for next year, I hope the AWA can help.  Membership is as simple and free as showing up at an event or asking to join.  By design, we are a very loose, always transforming organization — it’s just more fun that way.  We never fear change or challenge (okay, everyone fears those things, but we try to feel the fear and do it anyway 😉

One of the downsides of our wide-ranging approach is that all our members may not know everything we do.  So here’s a short list of possible ways AWA can help you in the new year —

  • Our monthly meeting.  The last Sunday of every month finds a group of us coming together for a couple of hours of coffee and great conversation.  Everyone gets a turn to share what they’ve been working on in the last month (only if they wish to).  The group is always changing, newbies are welcome, and we end up having a wonderful time and talking about everything interesting under the sun.  A great place to start your AWA adventures.  Bonus: we’re all super-nice.
  • Classes!  Several times a time we offer free classes to encourage learning, discussion, and continued improvement in craft for our members.  We have four classes scheduled for Winter/Spring 2016 — Gisela Hausmann: The Naked Truth About Getting Book Reviews; Dynamic Duos: Great Love Stories & Friendships; Self Publishing and Ebooks; A Work of HeART: Bringing Artistry to a Single Line.  All levels of experience are welcomed and we often have handout sheets for extra educational value.
  • Tuesday Writing/Critique Group.  A wonderful and vibrant entity with its own independent vision and spirit.  This group has been meeting for a couple of years now, and they are as close-knit and supportive a group as I’ve even seen.  They recently published their first book —

  • Read-ins.  An exciting new event created by co-founder Jill Hartmann-Roberts.  In Jill’s words, ‘You can read a short piece or just listen and enjoy. Feedback is optional, and you can ask for specific comments if you wish.  This is ***not*** a critique group. We are here to appreciate the amazing writing of our peers in a relaxed, informal atmosphere.’  Everyone sits around a table, and it brings to mind many of the enjoyable aspects of reading in front of a crowd without it being nearly as stressful 😉
  • Write-ins.  Come and join other writers as we work on our writing projects. This is a great opportunity to get out of the house and away from the distractions of home to focus on your work while surrounded by other creative types.
  • Critique groups.  We currently have two full groups and a new group forming.  Let us know if you’re seriously interested in join up — you’ll learn a lot.
  • Have a personal page on our website.  If you haven’t yet leapt into the deep end of the pool and built your own website but still want to direct people to your bio and web presence, join our Your Locals Authors section of this site.  It’s free, though we may ask to meet you at an event first.  Let the world know who you are, if you have books available, and how to find more of your witty writing online (Facebook, Twitter, etc).
  • Public readings.  OMG!  There’s nothing like staring out at a packed room of people, all eyes on you, and reading your work to the world.  And you CAN do it.  The rewarding feeling of expanding your comfort zone is something you’ll always carry with you, and having people laugh, cry, and clap at your words is an incredible feeling.  We haven’t done these recently because they take a lot of planning but we will resume them when there’s enough interested parties (or robotic event planners become cheaper).
  • Self published collections.  Pimpin’ Prompts is only the latest AWA-affiliated book to hit shelves.  Also check out The Journey Home and Writers After Dark.  We are planning on a humorous collection in the coming year and will have more details in time.
  • Free Meetup.com group.  Meetup.com can be expensive if you want to start your own group, but please feel free to post any events related to fun, friendship, health (hiking etc), creative inspiration (going together to see movies, music etc), and of course anything writing related (as long as it’s not just an advertisement — I reserve the right to take those down).  Connect to your peeps and make new friends.  I’d love people to use this page more often.  Feel free — it’s your page!
  • Mentoring.  While not an official offering, you’ll find wonderful support and help from almost every member of AWA you meet.  We all have different experiences and viewpoints to help you reach your goals, and we’ve all asked ourselves the questions running around in your brain (well, maybe not that one).  I’m happy to answer any writing questions I can by email.
  • A chance to gain experience in teaching classes, spearheading events, editing book collections…  Seriously, this is a group that is all about each person becoming better because someone else is bold enough and excited and wants to share.  So get in here and begin to see yourself as a teacher, a leader.  You’ve got wonderful experience that no one else has and everyone needs to become the best writer they can be.  And when you see what kind of mentor YOU can be, you’ll never think of yourself the same way again.  I haven’t.

How to find more info: Check out the Upcoming Events link on this site, or join our free Meetup.com group — http://www.meetup.com/People-Who-Have-Come-Alive-Achieving-Your-Dreams-in-Athens.  Join our Facebook page.  And contact me, your founder, at katherinecerulean@gmail.com if you’re interested in the Tuesday Writing/Critique Group; being part of our new critique group; teaching/editing/event planning; or if you have random writing questions.

The AWA is comprised of real writers, i.e. people who write a lot on the whole.  That takes up time.  Add in full time jobs and family responsibilities (not to mention the once-a-year dish washing) and we individually only have so much energy to plan events and grow the AWA in new and unexpected ways.

That’s where you come in.  The AWA is a tool to allow you to connect, create, and improve yourself and your writing — one day at a time.  It’s full of the nicest people you’ll ever meet but we’ve saved a seat, right in middle, for you.  So come join us, and make 2016 your best, most exciting year of writing yet.

Found on wellsfargocommunity.com

Found on wellsfargocommunity.com