Kicking it back into high gear after the holidays can be a challenge, not least of all for journalists and bloggers. Many writers are feeling overwhelmed and likely burned out from a hectic year in the media. It’s not the best mindset in which to begin the new year.
But setting some new year's resolutions can be a great way to get off on the right foot. Whether you’re back in the office or still working from home, working for a large publisher or starting your own freelance journey, these resolutions for writers can help freshen up your writing and your routine.
Before you decide on the specific goals, though, it’s important to understand what’s doable for you and what you believe you can handle. Toastmasters recently shared some helpful goal-setting tips to help you achieve your resolutions.
Once you’re ready to make specific, actionable goals, check out these ideas for inspiration.
1. Add more diversity to your sources
Improving the diversity of sources in your stories allows you to present a more fair and complete picture and ensure your story is relevant to your audiences. If it’s not a company initiative, make it a personal one. NiemanLab offers four tips for improving your source diversity:
- Broaden your definition of what makes an expert.
- Build relationships before you need sources.
- Let them know what to expect.
- Practice cultural competence.
And while you're ensuring your sources are more diverse, it's also important to make sure your content is accessible to a wide audience. Here are some tips to make your content more accessible.
Tip: Need to connect with subject matter experts for your next story? Fill out a ProfNet query form to get matched with relevant sources. Here are some experts that recently made themselves available to reporters.
2. Try a new medium
Creating content in a different way can help you see the story from a new angle, appeal to a different audience, and learn a new skill. Switch it up this year and make (or guest-spot on) a podcast. Have a post that would be best with some sort of visual element? Use one of these tools to create an eye-catching video or infographic for your social media profiles or blog. Always write long-form posts? Have fun with a shorter listicle, Q&A, or how-to article.
3. Use a new tool or app
There’s an app for everything, right? Make a goal to try out a different app or online tool to help make your day-to-day easier. Check out this list of our favorite tools, which includes options to help with brainstorming, social media, multimedia creation, organization, and writing.
4. Write something different
Feeling burned out with writing about COVID-19, politics, or Twitter drama? Give yourself a break and try writing a story for a different beat. If that’s not an option, get creative and use writing prompts to practice writing short stories, poetry, or even a nonfiction novel. It could be a nice way to flex those creative writing muscles, which maybe haven’t seen the light of day in a while.
5. Refresh your workspace
The pandemic taught us that switching up our work environment can be a welcome change. If you’re working from home permanently, make a goal this year to reconfigure your desk, work from a different room several days a week, or try working outside. If you need to get out of the house, work from a local café or library.
If you're unable to physically change your work location, just changing the sounds in your space can have a positive impact. This site has a massive library of background noises to boost your productivity and transport you somewhere else.
6. Learn to code
Having at least a basic knowledge of coding has multiple benefits for journalists, but many aren’t taught about it in school. Not only is it an in-demand skill for employers, but an understanding of coding can give journalists more independence in their work and improve their abilities to uncover unique stories.
Set a goal this year to boost your skills in coding.
7. Take a social media break
At this point, who isn’t burned out on social media? If you’re making goals this year that revolve around your mental health, make a resolution to set aside some time when those social media notifications won’t be a distraction. Whether it’s certain times of the day, days of the week, or even taking an extended break from social media (if doable with your job), quieting that noise can be hugely beneficial.
8. Let that project go
Sometimes you need to realize that a project just isn’t for you anymore and it’s time to say goodbye. But don’t consider it a failure. Occasionally, the story just doesn’t come together and it’s best to move on to another project.
9. Attend a workshop or conference
It’s easy to get stuck in our ways and get too comfortable. Attending a workshop or conference can be a great way to learn skills in a new area, network with industry experts and fellow writers, and improve your writing. The good news is there’s a conference for just about everything – and many are still offering virtual options if travel isn’t in the cards (or budget). Plan ahead and check out these upcoming events for journalists and bloggers.
Are you hosting an upcoming webinar or conference perfect for journalists and bloggers? Let the team know.
10. Upgrade your tech
A new monitor, keyboard, or mouse can make a bigger difference than you’d think. If your monitor’s been straining your eyes, your chair’s been hurting your back, or your mouse has been hurting your hand/wrist, it can have negative impacts on your mood and work, not to mention your health. Make a goal to splurge (if you’re a freelancer) or put in a request with work to upgrade your workstation.
11. Work the climate crisis into your writing
You may not write for a climate or environment beat, but in some way or another, the climate crisis is sure to impact the industry you cover. Publishers are boosting climate coverage and the content is attracting more interest from advertisers, so it needs to be on your radar. Make a goal for 2023 to look at the bigger picture and factor in the climate crisis and its effects into your content.
Looking for Environmental, Social & Governance news? We’ve got you covered.
12. Don’t make resolutions
Yes, you may have come to this post in search of a goal for the year, but we feel this one is necessary to mention. Resolutions don’t work for everyone, and that’s OK. Resolutions can create anxiety and feelings of guilt if they don’t quite work out the way we thought they would.
And after several years of stress, maybe giving yourself yet another task to accomplish isn’t what’s best for you. Perhaps just taking the year (and its challenges) as they come and continuing to just do you is what’s going to lead to the best 2023.
Go back to the goal-setting tips we mentioned at the beginning of this post and decide what’s doable for you.
We're wishing everyone luck with their goals for the new year, whatever they may be!
See the original post on Beyond Bylines.