Everyone is given the same amount of time each year to live their lives.365 days, right? But this year, and every four years, of course, we're given one extra day. As it approaches, it has made me think about how I can make the most of it. As I get older, I know I don't want to waste another day not working toward my dream of being a published novelist. If you can relate to that feeling, here are 10 ways to make the most of your extra day.
1. Commit to querying one agent.
That's it. Just one. One extra agent you might not have had time for otherwise. And you never know - it might be the one agent you've been searching for and the one agent that has been waiting for you.
2. Write a new chapter in your book.
Get a little further ahead by using the extra day to write an entirely new chapter, in one sitting if you can manage it. Not only will you feel more accomplished, but you'll essentially be one chapter ahead the rest of the year.
3. Start a whole new writing project.
What's a project or idea you've been putting off? It doesn't matter whether it's because you don't have the time or if the idea is a bit intimidating. On February 29th, tackle it. Don't hesitate. Jump right into it and don't look back for one second.
4. Read a book in your preferred genre.
One of the best ways to improve your writing is to read the work of others. Just because you're not actively writing doesn't mean you're not working on your writing. Reading is just as important as writing. Pinpoint the genre of the book you're writing and take the day to read a book. Take notes - mental or otherwise - and really examine how the author created a successful and publishable story.
5. Read an article about writing.
Pick up a Writer's Digest magazine or even read an online article about writing. It can be about whatever writing topic you prefer. Or maybe you want to read a success story from someone just like you. Use the day to enlighten yourself and better your writing.
6. Improve one skill.
Choose a strength or a weakness and spend the day working on that one thing. For example, does your dialogue need love? Focus all the spare time you have on the 29th on improving the skill. It could include research or practice, or both.
7. Revisit a project you've put in the drawer.
Now's the time to pull that neglected project out of the drawer and see it with fresh eyes. By revisiting something you've never finished, you can use all your earned experience and skills that you may not have had when you originally started the piece. Take a day this month to look at it one more time.
8. Start a writing group.
Reader comments are invaluable when you're creating a story, so why not start a writing group? Find like-minded people to share your work with. If you don't know anyone in person, don't worry. There are plenty of ways to connect with others online. A simple internet search will give you more than enough results to get you started.
9. Participate in writing sprints.
A fun way to boost your word count is through writing sprints. Essentially, you're given a writing prompt and a time limit, sometimes as little as 30 seconds. You can find a number of sprints to participate in on any social media channel. Not only will you have more words written, but it can be a great way to open up your mind to new plot possibilities.
10. Take a step away.
Maybe you need to spend your extra day away from writing. Take a day to rest, rejuvenate, and get ready to come back to it on March 1st. Sometimes. a lot can be said for a rested, fresh mind.
No matter what you decide to do on February 29th, just make sure not to waste the extra day. You don't want to have to wait a whole 4 years to get another.
I'm an adjunct creative writing professor and freelance writer, but I dream of being a published novelist. This is my journey.