A New Year’s Resolution 3

Happy New Year!

You finished the champagne, watched the ball drop, sang “Auld Lang Syne,” and kissed all the special people in your life…

…and made a New Year’s resolution to improve your writing.

Now what?

This is the third post in a series to help you make 2020 the year when you grow as a writer. (You can read yesterday’s post here.) Here’s how to do it: make a realistic plan that you can live with for a whole year – and one that will yield results (preferably quickly).

Ready, set, go…here are some suggestions. Choose one (remember, you want to make your plan realistic! You can always do something extra later on if you want to).

1.  Recruit a writing partner.

Ask a friend or family member to read what you’ve written. The person doesn’t have to be an expert. The idea is that a fresh pair of eyes will spot things that you didn’t. My husband and I are both writers, and the input we give each other is invaluable.

Everyone (I include myself in this category) has difficulty looking at our writing objectively. When I read my own stuff a couple of days later, I’m always spotting missing words, repeated words, awkward spots, clumsy mistakes. (Advice: Always thank – warmly – your writing partner for any input you’re given, and never, never argue.)

2.  Learn something new every day.

This website can be a great tool – and it’s targeted to law-enforcement professionals like you. Or you could purchase a book and spend a couple of minutes every day reading. You can Google words, expressions, and rules that give you trouble. Advice: Keep your learning activity small and manageable, and do it every day.

3.  Try an issue-of-the-month approach.

You could start with apostrophes, for example. Throughout January, you’re going to do something connected with apostrophes every day.  You’ll find instructional material and practice exercises right on this website.

On days when you’re not doing a learning activity, you’re reviewing something you’ve written yourself with a sharp eye for the apostrophes. In February, it’s pronouns. In March, it’s Comma Rule 1….and so on, through the whole year. Look through the topics on the right side of the home page for this website – you’ll find lots of ideas.

4.  Or you can design a plan of your own.

The keys are to 1) keep it realistic and 2) stick with it.

Good luck, and best wishes for 2020!

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