With the holiday season behind us and a new year ahead, it’s a natural time to take stock of where we are on our writing journey and consider what we want to achieve this calendar year.
Don’t consider them “resolutions.” Instead, let’s take positive steps toward our writing goals. Let’s think about where we want to end up and what small steps we might take today, tomorrow, next week, to get ourselves there.
Maybe we haven’t written anything for a long, long time. Maybe 2018 is the year we intend to writeâ€”if not every dayâ€”then with some kind of regularity. This might entail joining a weekly or monthly writing group to keep us on track; blocking out “us” time on weekends away from demands of family or work; or simply carrying around a little notebook so we can grab small amounts of writing time in the spaces of our day, standing in line or waiting for our kids to finish basketball practice. The little moments add up.
Maybe we’ve been writing a while now and hope that some of our material is ready for publication. If so, then this is the year to submit! Many literary magazines don’t read submissions in the summer (roughly May-August), so if we’re planning on getting published in 2018, now’s the time to start sending out our work. Some writers aim for 100 rejections a year, believing that’s how many rejections it takes to get something accepted. So often, it’s about submission volume. Plus, if we’re submitting, that means we’re actively engaged with our progress as an artist. We can start with the Opportunities section of our websiteÂ (log-in required); our annual contests (three of which are currenty open for submissions!); as well as our recent survey of Carolina-based literary rags, and go from there. Good luck!
(And if you do land a publication or contest win, let us know! We love nothing more than sharing that kind of good news in our Hats Off! section.)
Or maybe we’ve got a book coming out this year, and we’re laying groundwork for our marketing and PR campaigns. If so, congratulations. Publishing a book is a major accomplishment. But our work is far from finished. If we’re being published the traditional way, or if we’ve published a book ourselves, there is no bigger advocate for our work than the person who wrote it. We need to prepare our elevator pitch, so when someone asks what our book is about, we’re ready with an engaging blurb that makes the questioner want to rush out and buy it. We need to send out review copies as early as possible, as there’s always a lag. And if we haven’t let NCWN know about our new book, submit here! We’ll feature it in our Book Buzz section and share it through social media.
This can be a special year us and for our writing. The North Carolina Writers’ Network hopes to be a productive part of it, no matter where we are on our writing path.
Happy New Year!