• Kathryn Dodson

Write with Intention: Tips for writing success in the new year

It's a shiny new year!

It’s NOT 2020! (We can all agree that’s a great thing, right?)

We all have big goals that we’re going to conquer like a boss...right? If you’re like many of us, a new year seems all sparkly and new and full of possibility. For writers, that means we want to plan that future bestseller or the memoir that will change people’s lives!

Maybe some of you wrote the heck out of 2020, and used all of your quarantine time for writing and creating. If you did, that is amazing! Pat yourself on the back for making the best of a bad situation. However, I’m guessing there’s a larger portion of you that wish you had done that...but you didn’t. Because your kids were home and all of a sudden you were teaching multiple grades. Or you had to figure out how to do your job from home. Or you ended up on the couch with a blanket and Netflix, telling yourself you’d get going on something productive after just one more episode.

Here’s the good news and the bad news…

The good news: if you didn’t hit your writing goals last year, no sweat! Many of us just survived last year. I say kudos to all who survived.

The bad news: we all probably have some quarantine time ahead of us yet.

But let’s create our own silver lining. Let’s reset some positive writing habits so that we can utilize that time and make the most of it.

Not every writing tip is for every writer, but here are some tried and true things that work for a lot of writers.

“Butt in Chair!” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this expression, but it’s too many to count. Sometimes you simply have to put your butt into a chair, and sit down to write. Plan a time that you are going to write NO MATTER WHAT. This can be as small as 30 minutes a week, but dedicate some time in your calendar to writing. ACTUALLY WRITE THIS ON YOUR CALENDAR OR IN YOUR PLANNER. I know when I physically write something into my planner, I’m more likely to do it. Commit to sitting down at your computer, or with your notebook, and putting words on the page. If you have a family, let them know that this time is sacred writing time. Yes, it’s okay if you’re children watch Frozen II for the thousandth time if it means you get a little writing time. Over time, this will become a habit and the words will come. But you have to get your butt in the chair.

  1. What if you put your butt in the chair and the words won’t come? Maybe you need to do some prewriting before you hit your first draft. Sounds silly, but remember all those graphic organizers that your teachers used to make you do before you wrote in middle school? They’re not silly at all! There are a lot of methods for planning and outlining a story- use whichever works best for you. Also, you should know that it’s perfectly fine to write pages that you end up throwing out- (GASP!) Write your way into knowing a character, and then take what works for you and throw the rest. Try writing a scene from two different viewpoints, and then take the one you like the best and toss the other. Writing is a process, and sometimes this process can get messy!

  2. Still stuck with serious writer’s block? Set aside your writing for a few days. Find a great book, and spend some time reading. All of the writers I know spend a fair amount of time reading as well. Perhaps find a book or two in the same genre that you are writing if you’re looking for inspiration. If you’re sick of your genre and need a break, find something totally different! Sometimes giving a project room to breathe will help you return to it refreshed and ready to go the next time! But make sure you get back to it when you’re done with the book!

  3. Find an accountability partner. Whether this means you tell your mom that you’re going to send her the next five pages of your story each week to read (nobody wants to disappoint their mama!), or you find a writer friend who will hold you to exchanging 10 pages a month with them, committing to sharing your work with someone else will give you the drive to get it done. If you are serious about your story and want professional accountability and support, consider hiring a book coach! All of us at the Book Coach Collective are here for that very reason. Invest in your writing success!

  4. Another tip is the concept of the “body double” for when you’re procrastinating. This means finding someone to work with you. One of the Book Coach Collective, Georgina, hosts a co-writing group every Sunday for Mothers Who Write, at www.calliopeswriters.com, or try focusmate.com to find other co-writers.

  5. Take a course and learn something new! If you’re serious about your writing and know that you need to add to your knowledge base first, classes are a great way to learn new things and possibly connect with other writers that can support you in your journey! A few of my fellow Book Coach Collective coaches offer some great courses. Savannah Gilbo has a course: “Notes to Novel” that will help you write a story that works! Check it out here: https://www.savannahgilbo.com/waitlist Kathy Dodson’s “First Step Novel Prep” can also help get your wheels turning and your writing going! Find it here: https://www.nextstepbookcoach.com/novel-prep-online-course.

  6. Buy colorful pens and a fun journal. This one depends on your personality, but if you are sick of staring at screens because you just spent the last year typing on your computer, Zooming your family, and facilitating your child’s educational Google Meets and SeeSaw activities, maybe you just need to go old school and sit down with some paper and a pen. I highly recommend PaperMate Flair pens! Although if you’re a serious writer, I’m guessing you might already have a favorite pen. :)

I hope that at least a few of these tips resonated with you, and that you can put them to practical use to make the best of this next year and your writing journey!

Happy writing!

Kathryn Dodson | Next Step Book Coach
Sarah Krosschell, Book Coach

If you’re looking for more information about how I can help you on your writing journey, visit https://www.sarahkrosschell.com/work-with-sarah to read about the packages that I offer to help get your book off the ground, or get your revisions in line! Cheers to making progress this year towards living your writing dreams!

Reach her at SarahKrosschell.com.

www.BookCoachCollective.com - Click here for a list of our coaches and more information.