Thursday, December 29, 2016

Writing-Life Hacks for a Successful 2017

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

The writer’s life isn’t an easy one. So much of what we create comes from some place deep inside ourselves. Giving that way can be exhausting, not to mention frustrating, when we feel empty.

The good news is that there are things we can do to help ourselves. I’ve come to learn that we either set ourselves up for success or we set ourselves up for failure. Today I’ll share some of the writing and blogging hacks that every successful writer needs to know.

1. Writing is a mind game—and our minds play tricks on us. When we’re in a good mood, we have confidence. When something goes wrong, that confidence melts away. Successful writers don’t base their confidence on emotions. 

2. Speak kindly to yourself. Along with the attitude comes the way we treat ourselves. We talk junk to ourselves in ways that we would never talk to someone else. Decide right now to stop. Speak words of encouragement to yourself and you’ll speed the path to success.

3. Take care of yourself physically. Writing isn’t just hard because of the mind games. It’s hard on our bodies. Just sitting all day has shown to cause horrible health problems. Take time to get the exercise you need and fuel your body with healthy food and plenty of water.

4. Schedule some rest and relaxation. I’m not necessarily talking about napping, although that's not a bad idea. Writing regularly is important, but so is time away. Take a drive, plan lunch out with a friend, what ever helps you relax.

5. Follow a regular writing schedule. Notice I said regular—not normal. You may only be able to write late at night, or early in the morning. Or you may only be able to write on the weekends. Whatever works for you is fine—as long as you do it regularly.

6. Surround yourself with other writers who have the same commitment. This is so important. If you surround yourself with others who aren’t serious about writing or those you constantly have to shore up and encourage, you’ll wear yourself out. Find people who are committed to finish well, no matter what life problems crop up.

7. Set goals that you can track and measure. If you can’t tell how close you are to a goal, it’s pretty frustrating, so make sure the goals you have are ones where you can track the progress. For example, set a goal to send out so many queries or proposals or attend so many conferences. Don’t make getting a publishing contract the goal. You really don’t have any control over a publisher saying yes or no. BUT you can write the book, send out the queries and get everything in place for when it does happen.

8. Invest in your dream. You have the right to follow your heart. Don’t let anyone say you don’t. But also don’t be your own worst enemy. Invest time, effort and money in making your publishing goals a reality.

9. Learn how to take critique. Writers seem to range from one extreme to the other. We either think everything we write is perfect and better than anything out there. Or we think everything we write is junk. We have no perspective. Find others you respect and listen to what they have to say about your writing. Improve where you need to, and relish the parts that truly are great.

10. Read regularly. I know that none of us has the time, but successful writers (those who are growing in their craft) know it’s vital to take the time. Read regularly, read deeply and read widely.

11. Never go anywhere without a notebook. That notebook might be a note-taking app on your mobile device, but never be without a way to record idea. Inspiration ALWAYS strikes at inconvenient times. Don’t get caught without a way to capture an illusive idea.

12. Keep writing, no matter what. Yes, life happens. But no matter what rough time you’re going through keep writing. You might be able to put away the formal projects when a crisis hits, but keep writing something—a journal, a poem,  a prayer.

These are the things that help me keep moving forward, no matter what. I’d love for you to add to the list.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!



  1. As I'm evaluating goals for the new year, this is both timely and helpful! I'd add one other, and it's been said many times before: limit time on social media. It can be such a sneaky time thief! Thanks for your constant encouragement, Edie.

    1. Amanda, that's an excellent addition!!! Thanks for sharing, Blessings, E

  2. Edie, sweet friend, this post is an answer to prayer. You just don't know how much I needed this. Thank you and Happy New Year!

    1. Angie, thank you for the encouragement! I hope you have an AMAZING New Year!!! Hugs, E

  3. Edie, These are great. Thank you. I have two books in the works. One fiction one non-fiction. I will schedule time for each. I only have 2-4 hours of good writing time before fibromyaligia's brain fog rolls in so I write first thing in the morning. I text myself ideas when I am away from my computer. I found good ideas on my phone that I totally forgot about. Have a blessed New Year my friend hope to see you at Blue Ridge.

    1. Cherrilyn, I love the idea of texting yourself! I'm totally stealing that (with credit to you of course). Thanks for dropping by, Hugs, E

  4. #4 has always been the hardest thing for me [years of wrong thinking] but my body - and Father God - are finally getting it through my head!! and with that is #3, having to modify my diet, and increase my vitamin D intake which is AMAZING the difference in how I feel!
    and #11 - just ordered a new bigger purse yesterday so I'll have room for not only a notebook, but a copy or two of my book!!!
    Happy New Year, Edie, and thanks for always giving us excellent info!!

  5. Thank you, Edie. This is some sound advice. Number 7 and 8 are my favorites. It's time to set reasonable and measurable goals and start investing more on my dreams. I trust 2017 will be the year to put this into practice.

  6. GREAT suggestions, Edie. I've had a tough 2016 as far as writing goes. Your hacks are giving me the jump start I need to begin 2017 well. #7 is the one I am starting with.

    Have a great New Year's!