1. Read (more books)
Last year, I read a few less than 50 books from cover to cover. I didn’t follow the awards season, or the new releases in spring or fall. I currently have no idea what is happening with our national treasure Jian G. and Canada Reads. (Luckily, I still have time to rectify this.) I had the attention span of a goldfish in 2013 and, as a result, ended up reading a lot of news headlines and magazine blurbs. Concise writing, certainly, but maybe not the best model for a novel-length writer? I’m blaming it on a slight shift in the earth’s magnetic field (and nothing at all to do with binge-watching Sherlock, The Hour, Luther and The Shield on Netflix.)
Make time, Erin. Don’t make excuses. Don’t let the blank page win. Fill it up. Then follow with a good dose of #3.
And not just for spelling mistakes. Ever read something you wrote five years ago? Ever remember how you thought you were a genius when you wrote that thing five years ago? Perspective is that voice that says, “Really?,” in that very annoying, condescending way.
If ever I think I’ve written a great paragraph, or an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime sentence, I hang on to it. I put it away somewhere … a deep dark drawer would be ideal, but more often than not, it’s a mis-labelled folder on my messy desktop. In three to six months, I read it again. Is it still amazing? Usually not. In 2014, I want to lose things I write, and then find them, and then lose them for sure a little more.
4. Submit your writing.
Of all my resolutions, will this be the toughest for me? Rejection is difficult. But maybe I could give myself a break? If I set a goal, say, to make two submissions a month, disregarding the outcome, at least I can feel good about keeping my resolution? Why is almost every sentence in this paragraph a question? Get some confidence, Erin.
Erin Bedford, writer.