Have you made your list of writing resolutions for 2014? Here's a simple formula that will help keep your writing on track this year.
One of the best things you can do as a writer is to learn everything you can about what you are writing. Whether this means researching for your novel with travel, attending conferences and workshops that focus on craft, or taking creative writing or poetry classes through your local community college, make learning about writing one of your top goals for the year. Find things that interest you, and set measurable learning goals for 2014.
So you want to write short stories? The best way to write a better story is to read one. Go back to the classics and read all of the short stories you only pretended to read in high school and college. (Hemingway, O'Connor, Chekov, and Welty are good places to start.) Are you more interested in modern stories? The Best American Short Stories of 2013 just came out, edited by Elizabeth Strout.
If you are interested in novels, or poetry, or creative non-fiction, remember that libraries, bookstores and the Internet are full of books just waiting for you. Read what you love, and write what you love. I plan to read at least sixty books this year. What about you?
Poets & Writers Magazine has an incredible database of upcoming contests, grants, and literary journals open to submission. Set a goal for yourself to submit something each month of the year. There are contests, grants, and small presses, all available for you, if you look. Beyond that, agents and editors are on the lookout for great novels. Not only does submitting your work keep you focused, it keeps you writing. Which brings me to the most important writing goal…
Write as often as you can, and finish what's worth finishing, whether that means completing the tenth edit of a poem, the fifth rewriting of a short story, or the third complete draft of a novel. Write what you love and complete it.
Here's to a great 2014!