Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday's Tip for Writers #5 -- Read, Write, Listen, and Learn

If I were the type to make New Year's resolutions, my writing resolutions for '09 would be:

1. Write more fresh material
2. Read more widely
3. Listen to what readers say about the novels they enjoy
4. Learn from items 1, 2, and 3

The past couple years, I let too many activities put the big squeeze on the amount of time I spend working on my own writing. That changes in '09. I'm almost certain that to be considered a writer, one must write.

Reading current best-sellers in or near my chosen genre is very useful, but there are benefits to reading classics outside my genre too. I'm currently reading my first Agatha Christie novels, and seeing how she holds a reader's attention and keeps us involved is a great learning experience, even though I'm not a mystery writer. Good writing applies to any genre.

Knowing your target audience is great, but listening to them is better. My partner, Jack, is my valued first-reader, so I benefit from his impressions of my novels, but he also offers me more. Jack's not only a careful and thorough reader, he's got a knack for pinpointing exactly what he likes about any novel he reads. That's useful information for a writer. An added bonus is that he doesn't read like a writer (you writers out there know what I mean). Jack is part of my target audience, so his impressions are gold, whether they're about my novels or someone else's.

Writing, reading, and listening more are great goals for '09, especially if I actively learn from the experiences. Of course, my writing won't improve if I don't put what I learn into practice, so maybe I need a fifth resolution this year. Er-- I mean-- Maybe I would need a fifth resolution. You know, if I were a resolution-making kind of guy.

I hope you're all resolved to ending '08 safely and having a wonderful '09.

happy new year


  1. I'm with you. This coming year is going to find me writing more. I'm also excited because I'm working on a new book. Yesterday, I wrote most of the afternoon; it was great. I passed the 10,000 mark.

    I just finished Tess Gerritsen's The Surgeon. I hadn't meant to read the entire thing. But in picking it up to check the first paragraph, one thing led to another and I was reading. Suppertime interrupted the first day. I noted how she held my attention and was able to make the hair on my neck stand up.

    I've got three books on the corner of my desk. My plan is to write, read, write, read, sleep and eat. In that order.

    Happy New Year Keith. And Best to Jack for 2009.

  2. Ooh, hearing you're going to write more in '09 is good news for me and your other devoted readers (none more devoted than me). Already in '09, I have something great to anticipate. And it ain't even '09 yet. Well, not quite.

    Happy New Year, Joylene.