16 Things All Writers Should Try in 2016


A new year is upon us, which means 365 new days to be better writers. I always love this time of year: a time for reflecting on the previous year and setting goals for the new one. When you are setting your writing goals for 2016, you might want to consider doing one or more of the following things:

1. Join a writing prompt mailing list. There are tons of mailing lists that send out daily writing prompts. You don’t have to use the prompts every day, but it might help to get you started if you are feeling stuck. (Luckily, I happen to run The Daily Writer which does that very thing!)

2. Participate in a writing challenge. There are a lot of writing challenges throughout the year to take advantage of. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November is a popular one, but there is also Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July. You could also try the 30 day poetry challenge in April or my 30-day writing challenge in any month.

3. Join the Creative Writers Opportunities List. There is a mailing list on Yahoo that sends out creative writing opportunities for writers of fiction, plays, poetry, nonfiction, and more.

4. Write a guest blog post. Do you love blogs like LifeHack or Hello Giggles? Most sites like those are always looking for more writers.

5. Join a writing group. There are tons of in-person writing groups. Take a look at Meetup.com to find writing groups in your area or browse writing groups online.

6. Find a critique partner or beta reader. You can meet critique partners in writing groups. There are also websites specifically designed for finding critique partners.

7. Watch #writetube videos. There is a whole community of writers on YouTube making videos about writing. (My YouTube channel is an example of this in addition to the videos I do about music and books.) I have a list here on my blog of all of the writetubers.

8. Participate in the #writestuff Twitter chat. Speaking of, my writetuber friend, Tamara Woods, hosts the #writestuff Twitter chat every Tuesday night about writing. She has a different topic every week, and writers can get together and tweet about their writing process.

9. Attend a writing retreat or a writing residency. As I recently wrote about on my personal blog, in November, I attended a Writing Residency with Nova Ren Suma at The Writing Barn in Austin, Texas. It was easily one of the best things I’ve done for myself as a writer. Writing residencies or retreats can be amazing experiences, whether it’s a highly organized event with workshops and lectures or a laid back weekend at the lake with a few writer friends. Explore some of the possibilities for writing retreats and writing residencies.

10. Go to a lecture or workshop. Many lectures and workshops are free or affordable. Google the events in your area to see what is out there.

11. Try a new genre or medium. Have you always wanted to try writing a screenplay? Have you always wanted to try writing a science fiction story? This year is the perfect time.

12. Take a free class online. There are quite a few free online writing classes to check out.

13. Read a craft book. There are a ton of craft books that I love. Check out my video, 6 Books All Writers Should Read, for recommendations.

14. Read more books in general. One of the best things a writer can do is read other books. Chances are if you are a writer, you are already a lover of books. But why not challenge yourself to read more books this year by participating in the Goodreads challenge or the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge?

15. Follow a writing blog. You’re already on a writing blog so good job! There are a bunch of other writing blogs that I love, though, like The Write Life, Positive Writer, and Jane Friedman. Use a blog reading service like G2Reader to keep track of all of the blogs you follow. (And add my blog to your list!)

16. Write! This is pretty self-explanatory, but the most important part of being a writer is the actual writing. Even if you don’t do anything else on this list, make sure you make more time to write this year! Find the time in which you are the most productive and carve out a scheduled time to write every day.

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