How are your New Year’s Resolutions going?
Haven’t you seen the calendar – it’s March! That’s right – I know.
So how are those resolutions made in January going? Did you write down that you want to be a better writer?
Becoming a better writer is something every writer, from the one just beginning to the well-published author wants to achieve. Weaving mesmerizing tales is what we want to do best. Nothing brings joy to our hearts faster than having a reader say “I couldn’t put it down!”
But what does becoming a better writer mean? The meaning varies from writer to writer.
The problem with resolutions is that they are often nice sounding words – but not really goals. You see, goals are measurable. “Becoming a better writer” is not really a goal. How do you measure it?
Becoming a better anything – writer, athlete, teacher, artist – whatever – is only realised by practising. Then practising some more, then more yet. There are many ways of improving your writing, and here is a list of some strategies that have worked for me:
Goals that will improve my writing:
- I will write for at least 30 minutes each day.
- I will write at least 200 words each day.
- I will read at least 3 books or magazines about writing this year.
- I will attend one writers’ conference this year.
- I will attend one seminar or workshop for writers this year.
- I will write one poem or story every week.
Don’t get too hung up about the numbers or examples I have used; they are just a guide. Change the numbers to suit your situation and experience. And stick at it. Keep going for at least three weeks; research has shown that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit, so stick at it.
Above all: just do it!
The Birthday Gift
The small group of family and friends gathered around the table. The glow of the candles lit my face. One puff and they were out, to the cheers of everyone in the room. The flash of my daughter’s camera momentarily blinded me.
‘Happy Birthday!’ they all shouted and they launched into a shaky rendition of the traditional song.
‘C’mon, time to open your gifts.’
I took the first present. I knew it was from my wife. It had sat taunting me for days on one end of the coffee table. I ripped open the beautiful wrapping paper. I think my next expression said it all. It was not the birthday present I was expecting.
I had been giving solid hints for weeks about the latest best-selling novel I wanted to read. The wrapped up parcel looked exactly right. Surely she had heard my heavy hinting?
My gaping mouth said it all. This was most unexpected, and a little embarrassing. As I showed the title to all in the room, I heard a few gasps.
An Illustrated Guide to Pig Farming boasted the cover.
Totally bemused I flipped through a few pages. My puzzled look intensified. There seemed to be something wrong; no illustrations. I thumbed back to the title page. Now I understood. She had tricked me.
‘Thank you darling,’ I said as I kissed her cheek. She’d bought me the novel after all. ‘Nice trick to put on a false cover.’
All rights reserved.
Copyright 2007 Trevor W. Hampel.