For better or for worse, 2017 is over. Now it’s time to think about what we want to do differently in 2018. Here, I’ll be going over three New Year’s resolutions you can use to make your content even better in the coming year.
1. Put in the Time
When it comes to writing, there are no shortcuts. Either you sit down and do the work, or you procrastinate and do the same thing later under more stressful conditions. Knowing that, make it a priority to commit a certain amount of time to writing next year.
If you’ve been falling behind on your deadlines or rushing to finish projects, try adding an hour or two of padding to your designated writing time. During that time, try to get as many ideas as you can on the page, no matter how jumbled or unorganized–you can always go back and clean them up later.
Remember to plan around your day, too–if you have to take the kids to the dentist, bring your laptop along with you and try writing on the go (this is something my Wonder Woman of a mom did frequently). Or, if you know you’ll be spending a lot of time on a non-writing project (which is like, all the time for busy professionals), be sure to set aside some time to write the day before.
2. Get Inspired
Ask any writer if reading can help improve their writing skills and they’ll likely answer in the affirmative. Take Stephen King’s word for it: “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
That’s not only true for writing thrillers—the same applies to content writing, too. If you never read another brand or company’s content, then you’ll be hard-pressed to come up with new and innovative ideas. Try researching publications in your own niche for more inspiration.
3. Learn from Your Mistakes
This one is a little bit more difficult to stick with since it requires a longer term commitment, but I promise it’ll be worth it.
One of the best things you can do for your writing skills is read what you’ve already written. Not five minutes, an hour or a few days after you write it, but weeks later. I’d recommend that you let a month go by before going back to re-examine your old work.
Keep in mind that the purpose of this is not to proofread or edit your work. It’s to get a sense of what could be improved about work that you already proofread, edited and deemed good enough to publish.
Once an ample amount of time has passed since the publication of your blog post/social media post/email/ebook, go back and read it like a first-time reader. What sounds awkward or unpolished? How does your tone of voice come across? What information did you forget to include?
The answers to those questions will go a long way toward helping you improve your writing in the future, this time before it’s published.
Just remember that there is always (and I do mean always) room for improvement. Whether you set out to expand your vocabulary, refine your creative process or learn something new about grammar, the world of writing is wide, wonderful and nearly endless.
We humans have explored it since auld lang syne, and in 2018 we’ll continue to explore it even further.
Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year!