Improving as a Writer in 2022…
A Brave Strategy that is not All about Word Count.
While looking up resources on financial education, I came across this video on YouTube where one of the guests said something along the lines of:
“I had a strategy, yet they didn’t invest in my project”.
And that just clicked with me.
Whether that was a universal sign or a desperate call for action, the outcome was the same: I realized that was what I needed to hear, and I wondered how I could apply that to my current business, namely, writing.
So instead of losing my mind coming up with a strategy on “how to make it next year as a writer”, I asked myself “what does my writing need right now from me so I can take it a step further next year?”.
Word Choice is a game-changer.
But hold on. How do I guarantee that my strategy would set me up for success this year?
Yikes. Even the Simpsons couldn’t answer that for me!
If success is a combination of seizing momentums (aka luck) and effort, what difference is a strategy going to make?
A strategy is what won’t overspill the efforts I’m willing to put consistently in my writing.
It is what will make success look close even if I seem to be ‘barely’ making progress.
Also, a strategy is an experiment of what works best for me right now within this current context.
Without one, I will be less likely to have control of the outcome, eventually, less likely to ‘taste’ let alone reach success.
And of course, it shows that I’m serious about my decision; that I’m not going to be too ‘spontaneous’ about this career.
So why wouldn’t hold into the one thread of security in this ride?
It is my seat belt and my airbag in case things go terribly or amazingly out of control. (because that happens too!)
Yet an airbag is not insurance...
What could be the riskiest stock investment in 2022? Because writing seems even more slippery.
Unlike chess, where we can take our sweet time thinking of our next move (unless it is a competition!), sometimes our creativity doesn’t hit us when we need to, and it might even ‘fail’ us when we think we got this writing ‘thing’ figured out.
The good news is that there is a -out of the box- way to measure our progress as word players; like my mom used to tell me, “if you don’t get something, you have the right to ask!”
Well, it is time we ask creativity herself.
Whether we are going to be writing for the first time this year or we have been feeling as though you were hitting a brick wall so far, it is never too late to check in with our ‘creative geniuses for some old-fashioned sassy guidance.
Time to put onto our weird-self hats and summon these creative magicians!
How many words do we want to write regularly?
- “Are you okay? Since when did we care about numbers?!”
- Me: “Well, how else am I supposed to have a tangible idea of my progress and reach my writing goal quantitatively this year?”
- “Alright girl. How many do you reckon?”
Listen, are we specific about the strategy?
- Me: “I mean, have we used action verbs and suggested deadlines when we were describing our strategy?”
Are we going to be flexible with our time?
And does our strategy leave room for flexibility?
If we are already setting a detailed plan from the moment we wake up to when we go to sleep, chances are that we are already predicting and creating expectations about what could happen next year, which is a big faux pas when making a winning strategy in the industry of creative writing.
Being flexible with our time doesn’t mean that we are slacking; it means that we acknowledge that if we get invited to an event at the same hour we planned to write, we are not going to be mad at ourselves by ‘going with the flow.
Being flexible means giving our creative genius a break too. Although it is always with us, it doesn’t mean that it works 24hrs and that is good news for both of us.
So, How are we going to respond to unprecedented events this year?
- “You mean writer’s block?”
- Me: “No. That is for another question, I mean anything that you and I cannot control, like a World War 3, zombie apocalypse, or-”
- “Or you falling in love”.
- Me: “Wow. Yeah, that too.”
- “We will need to double-check our priorities together. It also means giving you time if you need it. It depends on how much you want this really. At the end of the day, You need to keep yourself focused on moi if you want to make it”.
And, what are the worst-case (outside) scenarios that can happen in this ride?
Back to moi.
Known as the meditation of evils in the stoic philosophy, this is actually a trick I used this time to keep myself grounded while planning for my writing this year.
This technique was very helpful because I was able to acknowledge any possible events that could hinder my writing strategy this year.
Aside from our inner perceptions of our creativity, a part of the writing successful mindset is to acknowledge that sometimes, it is not all us, and we need to be smarter than our circumstances to make writing work even in the context of chaos.
Are we improving grammar-wise, and how do we want to improve in that aspect?
- “I don’t know, are we? do we have to?”
- Me: “Absolutely.”
- “Alright. We’ll revise our previous grammar notes if we have to, take online classes, read grammar books, give grammar lessons at best! We’ll be doing writing exercises, research more ideas and assess ourselves, we’ll get creative and write some prompts, practice, and practice until we get that punctuation thing sorted for once and for all”.
- Me: “We have Grammarly though..”
- “EVEN IF!”
Are we the ones writing or are we letting people, the world, and our loved ones push us around in our creation?
In other words, the external validation complex.
If there is anything we want to let go of as writers next year is letting go of the urge/temptation of asking validation from other people of our handiwork. Otherwise, there would be no point in making a strategy.
Of course, our end-product needs to follow the ‘ethical writer’ guidelines but it should work with our authenticity.
I’m talking about daring to see our thoughts in words.
The external validation complex surges from our inner child, the one who only knew they were doing the right thing when they got the approving nod from their parents. Back then, it was our coping mechanism for navigating this world.
Now, we need our voices. We need our creative geniuses.
Whether we are writing fiction or nonfiction, asking for external validation as writers is akin to killing the Moliaire within us then going to sleep with a smile.
A practical tip would be to revise what we have last written, and try to hear it from our voice. If it ignites this resistant reaction, that is one red flag that we might be turning our writing against us.
Finally, dear creative genius, do you think you can be more clear about what you mean by “writer’s block” this year... Please?
You may have already noticed, but my connection with my creative genius got lost at some point in this article… whoops! awkward.
Yet, that is not as ‘dramatic’ as writer’s block.
As much as this mysterious enigma is widely discussed in the writing and creative community as a whole, our attitude towards it matters the most.
My story with writer’s block dates back to 3–4 years ago. I took a year's hiatus from writing. When I came back to it, it was as if I was rediscovering my voice.
But there is a reason why it is a ‘block’ and not a ‘quit’; Once we figure out what has been blocking us, we come back stronger and more motivated to write.
A Writer’s block is surely not the worst thing that could happen to our creative ride this year.
But not having a strategy when playing to win?
Maybe we should test that on the chessboard.
And, a Merry Christmas to the global creative community!
I may have said it before, but this article wouldn’t have been possible without one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert introducing me to the “creative genius” philosophy.