Writers often have a myriad of thoughts come New Year’s Eve. To set a resolution or not? Should you start a new novel? Maybe even start two or three to see which one flows from you best. Or, do you spend more marketing time and dollars to promote a former project? What about social media and public appearances? Should making yourself more visible become a goal? I believe that being productive and applying pressure to oneself aren’t necessarily in sync. You might find that you are more productive when working on something that you truly enjoy. If sitting down with your latest project causes you to venture into the kitchen for a snack, take that into consideration. Similarly, if marketing fills you with dread, maybe find a friendly blogger who can help you out. Writing is a creative endeavor that should fill you with happiness. If you are find that your writing endeavor comes with pressures, examine if these are self-inflicted pressures. Instead of feeling like you must create goals, why not create a plan of happiness?
It’s Okay to Ditch a Project
I once read that Stephen King has a running list of book ideas, starts a few at the same time, and then continues to pursue the one that takes off. Considering that he is one of our most prolific authors today, this tact might serve you as well. But one has to find acceptance that the idea you thought was brilliant might not come to fruition. Sometimes a project starts off okay, but loses steam along the way, just like The Little Engine that Could. Similar to that magical children’s book, you don’t give up. You simply find another way to pursue your writing goals, and if that means an entire new project, so be it.
Try Different Voices
Just because you’ve found success as a romance writer, doesn’t mean you have to always write romance. It’s akin to owning a beautiful purple shirt, receiving tons of compliments when you wear it, and then deciding that you must always wear purple. I recognize that writers must spend a considerable amount of time doing marketing, which includes branding themselves in a particular genre. However, there are ways to signal to your readers that you are writing in multiple genres. Nora Roberts, acclaimed romance writer, warned her readers that she was experimenting in the thriller genre when she created the pen name, J.D. Robb. In order to maintain her audience, she let readers know that J.D. Robb was still her, but the name swap was used to let readers know that they would experience a different genre.
Other writers will use a clever tagline after the title of their novel to give readers a head’s up of the genre or book collection. For instance, Robyn Carr, the author whose book, Virgin River, spawned the Netflix series, uses the Virgin River moniker after the names of her subsequent books to show a connection, such as Shelter Mountain, a Virgin River novel. You can write in new genres and create new series. Consider this: Just as you might like a change of pace, so might your your fans.
This brings up my next point…
Writers Must be Readers
Part of finding inspiration is exposing yourself to new ideas. Read new authors, both traditionally published and self-published. There is no longer any truth that one is better than the other. As the phrase goes, “The cream will rise to the top.” Readers are discerning and they will let you know their opinions freely. This is a good thing. It makes writers try harder. It creates a community of readers. Best of all, reading and writing are two of the greatest pleasures that inspire generations. So as you enter the new year, remove any pressure to write a certain amount, to read a certain amount, and instead, create a plan of happiness that simply includes both.
Happy New Year Everyone!