5 New Year’s resolutions for writers

Consider giving up a nasty habit—such as using lazy corporate verbs or writing tepid subject lines.


It’s that time of year—time to look at our 2013 resolutions and to begin the performance review process at work. Though I’ve put off writing my self-assessment for weeks, I’ve had fun with my New Year’s resolutions.

This year, all my resolutions are related to writing. Here are my goals for 2013:

1. Never use the word “utilize”

There is no good reason to use “utilize” because “use” will do just fine. It’s a lazy, useless corporate verb, and it has to go. Therefore, I will not use “utilize” in any press release, article, Web page, or social media post in 2013. Utilize—you are dead to me.

2. Read at least one book by a new author

I am a voracious reader, but I tend to favor the classics and a select few modern fiction writers. I need to expand my horizons, so this year, I will discover a new author and read at least one new work.

3. Write a fictional short story

I am taking the plunge into the deep end of the writing pool with this one. As a medical writer and contributor to PR Daily, nonfiction is my purview. I haven’t written fiction since college. But as I am doing with my reading list, I also want to expand my writing horizons to a fictional short story. Perhaps it could be about a writer.

4. Pick up two new freelancing clients

I am always interested in new writing jobs, so this year I would like to find at least two new clients.

5. Write better email subject lines

This is an area in which I need to improve. Subject lines are the key to a successful email campaign. They should be concise and straightforward and give the reader an idea of what the email is about. It helps if you can throw in a little humor, too. (I’ve got my work cut out for me on that last front.)

Ragan readers, any writing resolutions you’d like to suggest to the community at large?

Laura Hale Brockway is a medical writer and editor from Austin, Texas. She is also the author of the writing/editing/random thoughts blog, impertinentremarks.com.

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