Nearly a month into 2014, most people have already gone back to eating dessert and sleeping in instead of hitting the gym. But let’s keep good writing habits all year long. Here are the writing resolutions I’m sticking to in 2014.
1. Create outside of the office.
Before writing became my full-time job, I kept a journal, wrote short stories and jotted down the very occasional poem. Now that I sit at a desk from 9-5, demanding that my thoughts and inspirations arrive on schedule to be used in various assigned articles, I rarely work on personal creative projects. To continue growing as an artist, I need the challenge of unassigned projects that rely on my own imagination, and those can only be realized outside of the work environment.
2. Find passion in every assignment/project.
While working on producing outside of the office, I also promise to find some passion or genuine interest in every piece assigned to me. Working for a multifaceted company, I research and write about a wide variety of topics, not all of which I immediately find all that stimulating. This year, I vow to find a connection with each project, be it an interview with an author I’ve followed and loved my whole life or creating content for the newsletter of one of our more obscure titles (no need to name names, of course). I became a nonfiction writer to explore the world through writing and that requires unbridled curiosity.
3. Employ my inner humorist.
People certainly don’t read my writing for laughs. As a journalist, most of my work gets straight to the point, more Meet the Press than The Tonight Show, but wherever possible I’d like to try adding some elements of humor, even if only in those personal projects I vowed to start working on outside of the office. Humor often helps the reader connect with a piece and enjoy it enough to read all the way to the end. Nothing irks me more than laboring over the perfect ending to a piece and then wondering if anyone even made it that far. I like humor as a tool to drag, or at least guide, the reader through to the end. I don’t automatically incorporate humor into my work, so I hope this resolution motivates me to do so.
4. Eliminate “to be.”
All good writers know this, right? I certainly think about it whenever I work, but this year I want to see how long I can go without this pesky verb in all forms of writing. Not just my articles but emails, Facebook posts and letters, too. With practice, this should become more automatic and could perhaps even make me a more expressive conversationalist.