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Make 2014 Your Year of Writing (Here’s How)

Happy 2014 to all! If you haven’t set goals or a theme for the year yet, it’s not too late.

Habits do not create themselves. If you get off track in a habit you’ve committed to, you have to make adjustments to ensure you course correct.

Over here I’m getting back to my writing routine, where every day (or at least almost every day) I focus on writing at least 1,000 words for publication.

If you like to write and want to do more of it, join me in upping your commitment this year. This post contains a few options, as well as a preview of a brand-new guide that launches tomorrow.

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Write a Book in 2014

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” -Toni Morrison

You can write a book this year! It’s not that hard. Let’s break down the numbers:

Average novel or non-fiction book: 70,000 words
1,000 words a day = 70 writing days

Of course, there’s more to it than just slinging down words. As a few smart readers have pointed out, good books are not composed merely of thousands of words strung together.

Instead, good books are produced through regular writing and painstaking editing, a process I’ve been going through on my next book for several months now. This book has required well over 70 writing days and another 70 days of almost full-time revisions.

Nevertheless, if you’ve never written a book before, I’d suggest that the greater challenge is grasping the vision for completing it in the first place. “Just starting” is a powerful tactic.

Step 1. Write regularly (as I’m getting back to now)

Step 2. Edit relentlessly (usually a separate process, at a different time)

Two Resources

Nathan Barry made an app called Commit that helps to keep you accountable. Every day it asks you a simple question (the one you give it) and you have to answer yes or no. Accountability is a powerful force!

To learn more about the world of publishing, check out the Unconventional Guide to Publishing. This guide focuses specifically on writing a proposal and getting a book deal.

Write a Magazine Article (or Pitch for a Travel Assignment)

“We write to taste life twice. Once in the moment and once in retrospection.” -Anais Nin

Tomorrow morning, we’re introducing a new Unconventional Guide, this one all about how to get paid as a freelance writer.

UG-Freelance Writing

Despite what you hear about newspapers folding and publishers ceasing to exist, it’s still possible to earn a good living as an independent writer. Editors still commission pieces, and apparently some people still read.

You can get paid for your writing, and there’s a path you can follow to learn how. More on this tomorrow, both from me and many of our Unconventional Guides affiliates.

Create a Blog Series

“I should never be left alone with my mind for too long.” ―Libba Bray

Writing a series of posts can be more powerful than just writing a bunch of new posts all the time. Last month’s Annual Review series received more than 200 trackbacks from other people.

What can you write a series about?

  • Anything that requires multiple steps
  • Anything that proceeds in a chronological order
  • Anything that features a lot of different people or examples

No matter who you are, consider making writing more of a habit this year. Join me and many others for the journey.

Happy 2014,

– Chris

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*Speaking of books, two good friends have new books out this week. Check out Pam Slim’s brand-new Body of Work, and Gretchen Rubin’s paperback release of Happier At Home. Both are great!

Image: Signora

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