This is my last post for 2016, and I say that with a certain amount of relief. It’s been a big year of writing, in many forms, and, frankly, all I can think about doing right now is shutting down the many browser windows in my brain for a few weeks.
To finish up the year, though, I thought I’d look ahead, with a few ideas about five brilliant things you can do for your writing in 2017.
Interestingly, only two of these things are specifically writing-related, but all of them will have a positive effect on your words.
- Relax. I understand the imperative to write. I have it in spades. I also understand the imperative to be published. What I’ve learnt over several years of writing and being published, however, is that all of these things take time. You can’t force the work – and if you do, you’ll probably need to do so much editing that you’re just creating more work for yourself. And you certainly can’t force the publishing world to sit up and take notice (though you can definitely take steps in that direction!).
What you can do is to work hard, do the best you can, appreciate that the best work takes time, and give yourself some space to enjoy the ride. Because the ride is amazing, trust me.
- Take a course. Even the most talented writer in the world can benefit from a course or two. Whether you choose to focus on craft, promotion, or industry knowledge, there’s always something new to learn. I’ve decided on two courses that I’m going to undertake this year, and I can’t wait to get into them!
- Go to a conference. If you’ve never attended a literary festival or writers’ conference, make 2017 the year you get to one. Either choose one that fits exactly into the genre you’re writing – and most writers’ centres run weekend festivals along these lines, or look for those run by associations such as Romance Writers of Australia – or roll up to the nearest writers’ festival you can find. The best thing about these events is hanging out with other writers, talking about writing, immersing yourself in writing. It’s incredibly inspiring and motivating.
(If you need some ideas, this terrific calendar of Australian literary festivals will help!}
- Read books by five Australian authors you’ve never read before. I’m being very specific here, but I am an Australian author and I feel that part of my job is to support my industry. That means reading books by Australian authors. Doing this helps my writing in two ways – one is that I get to discover the wide and wonderful variety of Australian voices and stories out there. And two, I get to support the industry in which I work.
If you are an Australian writer and you’d like to be a published Australian author, support your industry. It’s easy – and it’s fun!
- Write something different. I know you’re focussed on either finishing your manuscript or polishing your manuscript, but here’s a tip: Take the time to write something different. Exercise a different set of writing muscles. Whether it’s trying a non-fiction piece – essay, feature article, memoir – or setting out to write the opening chapters of a YA novel, branch out. Start a blog if you don’t have one – it’s great for developing your voice.
I think that sometimes we get locked into the idea of the kinds of things we should be writing, and it’s only when we try something completely different that we, perhaps, discover our true calling.
What do you think? Have you done any or all of these things in 2016? What was the result? I’ve love to hear from you! In the meantime, enjoy your holidays, wherever they may be, and I look forward to seeing you all here again in January! 2017 is going to be a very big year around these parts, and I can’t wait to share the journey with you.