Did you have a rejuvenating festive season, finding lots of lovely writing time, or enjoying a break from the page to get out and live? I had three weeks off the grid, on the beach and then the Great Barrier Reef – no internet, no mobile, no techo-tentacles at all – and it has given me a fresh torquoise clear-headedness as I dive back into my writing projects.

Underwater picture of a blue sea star

Non-techno Tentacles

It also gave me time to reflect on my goals about being a member, and sometimes a leader, of various online communities. The incredible benefits of being able to find information and support anytime of day or night, no matter where I am, were brought home to me as I indulged in writerly thoughts far from any screen. Gone are the days when one needed a a head full of knowledge and a parlour full of colleagues to write successfully. Now we need skills more than knowledge – the writing skills of old, sure, but also research and networking skills different to anything known a generation ago, or even a decade.

Speakeasy 2010 will continue to focus on promoting these skills among writers, informing our reader/writers about developments in online communities and digital publishing, as well as providing current news on publishers, agents, competitions, festivals etc. So what’s been happening while I was off snorkelling? Lots!

Over at a Newbie’s Guide to Publishing, Joe Konrath has distilled five years of blogging wisdom into one great post about how to survive and thrive as a writer.

Many writers use online forums as a way to participte in a writing community. If this sounds like you, I recommend a quick look at the 3 tips outlined by the adventurous writer: learn the local netiquette, choose a forum group that requires a level of commitment that suits you, and remember forum communities are a two-way street (not a one-way self-promotional vehicle).

For those writers who made a NY resolution to get the hang of Twitter, check out the inkygirl writer’s guide, which has a comprehensive range of tips and info on planning and practicing effective engagement with the twitterverse: such as using #amwriting and #writegoal to find fellow writers online, tracking your retweeters with tweetmeme, or taking some time to consider an overall strategy for Twitter as part of building your personal brand online.

My 2010 goals for the AWMonline writing community are: to engage with industry experts to provide a range of training and resources for our members; and to work with our A-team of awesome volunteers to provide a totally clean and current database of industry contacts. With so many talented and dedicated writers of all stages and genres in our membership, I know 2010 will be another wonderful and even more inspiring year.

So, what are your writing goals for the year? And, bearing in mind that Konrath suggests we set achievable goals and reward ourselves when we reach them, what are some of the rewards you plan for yourself? Do you plan a simple celebratory meal with friends/family, or a trip to AussieCon4, or an e-reader? The possibilities are endless – and so are the opportunities!

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