52 Ideas for Writers in 2015

With thanks to 49 Writers Executive Director Morgan Grey and
to Brooke Warner of SheWrites Press, we’re reprinting this terrific post that
first ran on the SheWrites
. And if we may, two additions, just for you: submit an Alaska Shorts feature, and submit to Spotlight on Alaska Books.

Here’s Brooke’s introduction to the list:

couple years ago my friends and I made a list of 52 goals we wanted to
accomplish, the equivalent of a bucket list for a year’s worth of achievable
things. Most of them were simple goals, but measurable. For instance, you
couldn’t just write “Read more” as a goal. It had to be quantifiable, like
“Read a book a month.” It was fun, but also challenging, both to put the list
together and to accomplish all the things I came up with. By the end of 2012
I’d done a little more than half of the things on my list.
you look online you’ll see lots of spin-offs on the 52 things concept—52 things
you want to and can achieve in the 52 weeks of next year. I’m a firm believer
that it’s good to have goals, but also to hold them gently. In a list of 52
things to accomplish in a year, actually doing 18-20 of those things is pretty
amazing. You can always defer the rest to the next year, after all. So if you
want to create a 52 Things list this year, and you’re looking to add some
writing goals to your list, here are my 52 ideas:
Start or join a writing group.
Go see (in the theater or via rental) three movies
based on books you love.
Guest post for a blog you read/admire (such as 49 Writers!)
Get your name in print, meaning you must submit! Get
e-mails about opportunities from CRWROPPS,
a Yahoo! listserv that culls calls for submissions.
Read a banned book during Banned Book Week, September
27 – October 3, 2015. For a list of banned books, visit:http://www.ala.org/bbooks/.
Submit a story to a call for submissions for an
Become a HuffPost blogger. (This is achievable for anyone, even
if it feels elusive.)
Buy a book for a child or teenager in your life for no
reason at all.
Join an online community (like SheWrites.com, or NAMW.org, or a private Facebook
group dedicated to writing, or a specific genre).
10.  Commit
to writing a certain number of words per week, or per month.
11.  Become
a regular content contributor to a website you follow or admire.
12.  Attend
a local author reading, or two or five or ten.
13.  Support
your local bookstore by shopping on Independent Bookstore
, a national celebration of local booksellers, taking place on May 2,
14.  Write
a book review and put it on your blog. If you don’t have a blog, post it on
15.  Do
one thing that truly champions another writer.
16.  Read
a book that falls way outside your general area of interest.
17.  Post
a comment on social media in support of someone you admire.
18.  Go
to a writers’ conference.
19.  Participate
in online pitch conferences (like pitch fests on Twitter).
20.  Participate
in NaNoWriMo in
November 2015.
21.  Join
an association, like the Independent Book Publishers Association.
22.  Apply
for residency retreats, like Hedgebrook.
23.  Get
an op-ed placed, or learn how to do it by taking an Op-Ed Project class.
24.  Do
a 500 Words challenge. Writers like Jeff Goins have
sponsored these kinds of challenges, where you write 500 words a day for a set
number of days—a month or longer. Give it a whirl!
25.  Create
an audio book of a recently published book. Check out this free webinar on the
subject from Betsy Graziani Fasbinder, author of Fire & Water, who put out an audio book version of
her novel in 2014.
26.  Map
a book you love. It will teach you a lot to outline a book you’ve read more
than once to see how another author thinks about structure, scenes, and
narrative arc.
27.  Read
your work out loud, either at an open mic night or at a literary event like San
Francisco’s LitQuake.
28.  Take
an online class. I’ll push my best-selling memoir series here. I’m teaching a four-week class on Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club with
Linda Joy Myers of NAMW in
April. But find something in your genre that works for you.
29.  Find
a number of authors you love on Facebook or Twitter and follow them. Repost and
retweet their stuff and see what happens.
30.  Follow
literary agents on Facebook and Twitter if you’re interested in developing
agent relationships.
31.  Gift
yourself a weekend away to brainstorm or write, or to just be with your own
32.  Do
a literary pilgrimage to see a site where a favorite author lived or wrote
about, or, if you’re a memoirist, perhaps take a pilgrimage into your own
past—to your childhood home, or the setting of your memoir.
33.  Visit
a printing plant. Tours are open to the public at plants in Michigan, or at
Lightning Source in Tennessee. It’s a serious education in your own craft to
see how books get made.
34.  Write
and publish an e-book. These can be as short as 25 or 30 pages (single stories
or essays) and they can get your work on the map.
35.  Enter
your work into a contest. You have nothing to lose!
36.  Tell
your friends and family about your literary ambitions. It’s okay to dream big!
37.  Set
up a separate bank account for your writing pursuits. Pay yourself a small sum
a month for your writing, or when you get paid to publish. Start to think of
your writing as a business in 2015.
38.  Attend
an in-person writing class. You can find these at writing hot spots like The Grotto in San
Francisco, Hugo House in
Seattle, and Grub
 in Boston. Google places in your area. [Alaskans: your writing hot spot is 49 Writers!]
39.  Map
out a timeline for your book, or for your next book. Consider when would be a
reasonable publication date for your book and write it down. Post it somewhere
where you can see it to hold that date as a goal.
40.  Create
a book cover for your book-in-progress. Nothing brings a book to life like
making it “real,” even if it’s just a collage or a vision that serves as the
basis of what you want the book to look like some day.
41.  Commit
to a certain number of blog posts a month—one, two, four—and stick to it for
the whole year.
42.  If
you don’t already have a website, start one. If you have a website you know
needs a facelift, commit to giving it one.
43.  Write
a fan letter to your favorite author. I field fan mail for an author I work
with and these letters are amazing displays of gratitude and appreciation. It’s
also good karma.
44.  Create
a vision board for your book. This is different than a book cover concept. It’s
a collage of images and/or words that inspire you, and that can keep you
motivated and disciplined with your writing goals.
45.  Memorize
a poem.
46.  Get
involved with local library event during National Library Week—April 12-18, 2015— a national
observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries
across the country.
47.  Create
a reading family night once a week.
48.  Set
up a book donation site at your workplace during the holidays.
49.  Make
a list of your top ten favorite books in your own genre and reread two of them.
50.  Get
a logo made. Yes, the brand of you—as a writer—needs a logo.
51.  Write
an affirmation statement that expresses all your strengths as a writer. Remind
yourself why you write and allow yourself an opportunity to truly give yourself
a compliment.
52.  Do
something that shows your commitment to writing—plant something or buy yourself
a house (or office) plant; get a piece of “writing” jewelry; or create or
purchase something that’s meaningful to you that you see every day as a
reminder to yourself about the meaning writing holds in your life.

Please add your own ideas and insights to this list! The more the better. What
have you done in the past? What are you planning to do in 2015?
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