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New Year’s Resolutions that Turn Writers Into Authors

By January 3, 2019 June 24th, 2019 tips
writing editing man hands draft New Year's Resolution writers

If you’re feeling like you should set a New Year’s Resolution for your writing, but you’re not sure what it should be, then you’ve come to the right place. If you’d like to set one simple resolution, you can probably get what you need from the first three tips. But if writing is a big part of your career and makes up some of your major goals for the year, here is a list of ideas to consider.

Keep it Simple: Resolve to focus on one aspect of your writing.

If setting one big resolution or a bunch of resolutions seems too overwhelming, consider choosing a word for the year. One writer suggested that her word for the year was going to be “finish” in relation to her writing. She has a habit of starting projects without finishing them, so she resolves this year to focus on completing writing projects.

Stay Focused: Resolve to complete one big project this year.

Another way to set one simple New Year’s Resolution is to pick a book topic or a book that you’ve already started and decide to finish it. This alone can be a good resolution for a writer who hopes to put out their first or a next book. If you’re a songwriter, your goal might be to put out a new album.

Write a Mantra: Resolve to live by your mantra for the year.

Here’s one more way to make a simple New Year’s Resolution. Write a mantra that’s inclusive enough to complete within a year, but expansive enough to make it to the end of the year. Here are a few mantras (or affirmations) to consider:

  • I am a published author.
  • Write. Edit. Share. Repeat.
  • My ideas flow effortlessly like water from a tap. Bryn Donovan

Resolve to put more or less effort into tracking your writing goals.

A terrific way to increase your writing is to set a word count goal by day, week or month. The goal might be to write one specific book or produce blog posts. Another option is to set a goal to write a certain number of pages per day.

But what if you already write a lot of pages every day, but you simply don’t publish? Then maybe it’s time to put less effort into tracking your production and more effort into publishing blog posts, self-publishing or finding ways to share what you write.

Resolve to upgrade or downgrade your writing spaces.

Where do you write? Perhaps you have a goal to clear out some space in your home specifically for writing. Or perhaps you would like to get an off-site office or go to a private library room several times a week. Or maybe you’re waiting to retire and hoping for an oceanfront office. It’s nice to fantasize about your dream office, but keep in mind that if your location standards are too high, you’ll miss out on lots of opportunities to write.

Keep your possibilities open. Love to write in the big city or in nature? Gain new perspectives by parking in different places and writing in your car. Would you like to do more writing in nature? Perhaps this is the year you resolve to buy a van or Class B RV as your mobile office.

Do you lose focus when you try to write in a café? Do it anyway. This is a great way to help get over the issue of needing a special place to write. Maybe this is your year to train yourself to be able to concentrate and write anywhere?

Have you ever considered setting up a table in the street so you could write?

Resolve to read more or less.

Another great New Year’s Resolution for writers is to set reading goals. Some writers like to read when they wake up in the morning or read last thing before they go to sleep. The timing doesn’t matter. Read whenever it works best for you, but set a goal to read on a regular basis.

In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg set a New Year’s Resolution to read a book every other week. An avid writer and avid reader might set a goal to read a book every week, or more realistically, every month. This can be totally doable if a person loves reading and possibly has other tools such as Audible that can make it easier to get through books during long commutes or when cooking dinner. There are lots of times when you can be occupied with doing things while listening to audiobooks.

An important point to consider here is that it makes sense to read some books within your genre, but to read outside your genre as well. Include some books for entertainment and mix in some books about the craft of writing.

Resolve to spend more or less time on marketing and social media.

Most writers, even those who have book deals with publishers, are typically responsible for the majority of their own marketing. Setting goals related to blogging or doing social media posts on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter can be helpful. There’s a sweet balance to achieve here. If you spend too much time on social media, you can waste time and miss out on opportunities to write new content.

Blog posts can go out on a personal blog which helps to drive traffic to the author site. Blog posts on Medium or LinkedIn or other outside posts can also help to drive traffic to your website.

Resolve to be more or less perfect.

Another good goal for a writer is to make a New Year’s Resolution to be happy with good enough and to get over perfectionism. Many writers don’t write because they’re too critical of their own work. They feel like no matter how well they write, it won’t be as good an other things out there by other authors. Perfectionism is stifling to the writer.

If your concern is that your work is never good enough, resolve to publish whether your content is perfect or not. You have to put your work out in order to start enjoying the hits, shares and comments that readers provide on blog posts or even on snippets you post on Twitter or Instagram.

If people have hinted to you that you have lots of mistakes in your writing, you might need to ante up a little on perfectionism. Consider taking a writing class or honing up on your grammar skills.

Just because a writer is a perfectionist doesn’t mean that she has a writer has a perfectly clean home or office. In fact you might find categories of items to be in disarray, such as clothes left on the floor or dishes overflowing onto the kitchen countertops. Yet other things might be tidy and organized. You might notice that all the paper and binder clips are separated by little boxes in a drawer and all the pens and pencils and markers are separated into different containers. Just because someone is a perfectionist in one area of life doesn’t mean she is a perfectionist in all areas of life.

Perfectionism is judgment in disguise. Do whatever it takes to get over it! As long as you’re a tough judge of your own writing, you’ll also be a tough judge of others. You, and everyone you know, will be happier if you lean toward good enough instead of extreme perfectionism.

Resolve to do more or less research.

Some writers spend too much time researching their topic while others spend little to no time researching a topic. Decide what’s works best for you related to each project. It’s helpful to do a little research even if you know a topic well, but diving into subjects you know little to nothing about will send you off in research mode for too long and you may miss an entire day or week of writing. In fact, some historical fiction writers spend years traveling to specific locations to do onsite research for a book they never publish. Decide how often you want to share your content and be sure that your research habits support it. Do you need to make a New Year’s Resolution related to the amount of time you put into research?

Resolve to manage your productivity.

Lots of writers spend more time talking about writing more than they actually spend writing. Deciding to write more and talk less can be very powerful. It’s more important to do the writing than to talk about the writing. You can juggle a few ideas around with others. In fact, many of your writing ideas will come from real life and real relationships. The important thing to keep in mind is whether or not you’re happy with your level of productivity. If not, create some measures to help keep yourself on track.

Setting a New Year’s Resolution to increase your productivity means that you’re making a commitment to write according to your schedule even when you don’t feel like writing. There will be days when you’ll have less inclination to write and others when you’ll be excited to get to the page to write out what’s on your mind. One of the best decisions a writer can make is to decide what type of writing schedule she’d like to adhere to and then do it. If it needs adjusting, this is always an option.

Resolve to make more or less time for rewriting and editing.

Schedule time not only for writing, but also for rewriting or editing. Lots of writers are happy at putting together a first draft, but take little time to improve it. By improving it, the rough draft can become terrific content. Without any editing, the text can bore or annoy the reader if they have to sift through errors, misinformation or disorganization.

Plan a ratio of time to write and edit. Track how long it takes you to write a first drafts and how long it takes you to edit. You may need to plan for two to three minutes of editing time for every minute of writing for example. Track your time to see what works best for you. Any New Year’s Resolution that helps you better understand your writing process can help you succeed as a writer.

Resolve to focus more or less on monetizing your writing.

Do you have a New Year’s Resolution related to making money as a writer? This is a great time to figure out how to monetize your writing. This is a terrific goal for a writer who wants to take their writing more seriously in the New year. Whether or not you’re currently making money is irrelevant.

The main thing to consider here is where you are and where you want to go. In fact, a writer might have gotten a great book deal the prior year, but decide to write for fun for a year without having the pressure of a book deadline.

Resolve to spend more or less time talking about your writing.

Talk less. Write more. This is a New Year’s Resolution that, if applied strictly, can help encourage any writer to write more. If you find that you spend too much time talking about writing and socializing with other writers, consider reducing your time in this. This can be put into more concrete terms such as trying to say little to nothing in the mornings and use the time to write, for example. Or a writer might decide to designate an hour (or more) each day to only write and say nothing.

Resolve to spend more or less time with fellow writers.

Network with fellow writers. This might mean that you join a writing group or that you get a writing partner. Whatever you do, it’s helpful to have some accountability with some fellow writers. Networking with other writers can help to give you motivation and help to see what other writers are doing to overcome their issues related to writing.

If you find that you’re going to lots of writing MeetUps, but doing no writing, consider skipping out on meetings until you have new content to share. If you’re an extrovert or someone who needs assurance from others, it might motivate you to do the work before you go to socialize.

If you’re still looking for a few more ideas, check out this video by Kat Cho. She offers some terrific New Year’s Resolutions ideas for writers:

Lorraine is the Founder of Prolific Writers.

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