As we put on our writing gloves and prepare for the millions of words that are going to flow from our fingertips in 2019 (it’s gonna be millions, right?), many writers and editors are making goals for themselves.
Perhaps you want to finish a novel, begin a screenplay, enter a short story contest, or complete a grammar course. Making SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Bound) goals can certainly gear you towards getting words on the page.
The one goal I suggest should be on every writer’s list is this:
Choose a weak spot in your writing and focus on improving it.
This may require some reflection on the content you’ve produced in the past year and accepting constructive criticism from other writers. What is the area you know you’re not good at, the one you’d like to improve on? Is it creating believable settings? Giving your characters personality? Writing dialogue? Grammar or sentence structure? Learning to humble yourself by accepting critiques of your stories?
Or maybe it’s multiples of these, in which case I suggest choosing one to start.
Many people think that writing is just something you’re either good at, or you’re not. This isn’t true. Writing, and getting better at writing, requires work, and that means focusing on your weak spots and continually learning how to improve your craft.
Once you’ve chosen your area to improve on, analyze authors that are great at the technique; pull apart their sentences and figure out how they put them together. Look up writing exercises, find a book on the topic, listen to writing podcasts—there are lots of amazing guides out there. I challenge you to spend 2019 learning as well as penning that next great novel. In my opinion, the only way to fail at writing is to decide you have nothing left to learn.
Now, go forth and write!