Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Successful Writer: Take Your Writing to the Next Level

Ah, the New Year. At its launch, we make our best stab at ditching old habits and acquiring new, better habits that—with any luck—will propel us toward our goals. For writers, that means taking our writing to the next level—the “breakout” story, essay, or book.

Ah, but the fail rate. By the calendar, we’re still in the honeymoon phase—research shows that the during first two weeks of the year, we’re all in with our resolve. By February, we’re starting to slip. By December, most of us are back where we started, or even further behind.  

It doesn’t have to be that way. “Making resolutions work is essentially changing behaviors,” says Ray Williams, writing for Psychology Today. “In order to do that, you have to change your thinking and ‘rewire’ your brain,” a process that involves the creation of new neural pathways through new ways of thinking. If you want to succeed with your resolutions. Williams advises setting specific goals, taking small steps, having accountability buddies, engaging new thought patterns, and celebrating your success between milestones.

Easy enough, but also easier said than done. Structure, guidance, and coaching make the difference between the best of intentions and actually getting the job done—that is, taking your writing to the next level.

With this in mind, I’m offering a three-week online writing workshop, Craft Intensive: Masterful Writing, through 49 Writers, where I’m proud to be part of the 98% instructional excellence rating. Together, we’ll work on developing new thought patterns to propel your writing to the next level. After determining what that next level means for you, you’ll implement strategies for honing your craft, and as part of the process, you’ll undertake a guided study of the techniques used by the writers you most admire.

After a long hiatus from distance learning—it was one of my specialties when I taught fulltime at the University of Alaska—I’m excited to be involved in it again. I especially enjoying designing workshops that integrate online learning with low-tech interactions, using ye olde phone lines for sharing inspiration and ideas. And there’s this ulterior motive—while I’ve happily relocated to the Oregon coast, I’m eager to stay engaged with writers in Alaska and to meet new ones from around the country.

Together, let’s bust the Resolution Odds, building new patterns to take our writing to the next level. The three-week online workshop begins January 26. Discussions by conference call will take place on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 8 pm AST; recordings will be available for those who miss the live events.

Co-founder of 49 Writers and founder of the independent authors cooperative Running Fox Books, Deb Vanasse has authored sixteen books. Her most recent are Write Your Best Book, a practical guide to writing books that rise above the rest; What Every Author Should Know, a comprehensive guide to book publishing and promotion; and Cold Spell, a novel that “captures the harsh beauty of the terrain as well as the strain of self-doubt and complicated family bonds,” according to Booklist. Her next book, Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Klondike Race for Gold, comes out in April, 2016. She is also a staff writer for the IBPA Independent.