- My List of Top Storybooks to Read in 2016
- Story and Real Life Merge
- Road Testing a Story Mock-Up
- Bringing People Together with Story
- Blogging for Writers
- New Year Writer: resolutions that work
- How to Find Great Storybooks
- International Appeal: how to write for it
- TOP Books for the Local Library 2015
- My List of Top Storybooks 2017
- Choosing to read a self published book over a traditional one.
- Why Powells Bookshops Are Awesome
- Inspiration at the London Book Fair
- GSB Guest Blog Guidelines
This is about how to be a New Year Writer and come up with helpful, productive Resolutions that actually Work.
Every year, it’s traditional to pick at least one resolution for the New Year – if not a full list. Some people shy away from this, but I’m all for it. It’s important to reflect on the past year and think about what you want to do differently, or more, or whatever.
If you’re a writer, that list of New Year’s Resolutions will be – well, specific to the desires and goals of a writer.
Most people start to feel defeated almost immediately, or they give up entirely by March. It’s hard to see your resolutions through, day in and day out, but there are real reasons for that and there are ways to avoid those pitfalls.
If you do a search on New Year’s Resolutions, you’ll find a ton of articles suggesting what you might add to your list. Some articles list a reasonable 20, while others list as many as 100. Don’t do that to yourself.
New Year Writer Resolutions
Resolutions are all about resolve, about the firm decision to either do something or to stop doing something. Quit Smoking. Lose Weight. Read More. Write More. Shop Less. You have probably had some of these on your list at some time, if not right now.
But are these doable, really? Read More. OK, but more than what? It’s too generalized, too loosey-goosey. Really tack it down with something more specific. You could do perhaps something like one of these:
- Read two books per month.
- Read for 30 minutes before bed and 15 minutes before work, every workday.
These are specific tasks, easy ones that you can measure. Be specific and decide to do something that is really viable for you, given your life.
But what about writing? Make More Money from my writing. OK, but how? Break it down to ways that you can really do. You might:
- Track down and pitch to 1 editor every other week.
- Track down and pitch 9 literary agents every 4 months.
- Track down new syndication options 2 times a year.
It’s up to you and the type of writing career you want to pursue.
Improve Writing Ability.
Be more specific even here. Join a creative writing seminar. Join a writing and critique group. (Find out how to start your own group HERE.) Establish exactly how you intend to improve your writing, and you’ll be able to actualize that.
Many writers are specific in their resolutions, in particular with word count. They resolve to write 500 - 1000 words per day. If that works for you, I am amazed and impressed. I write daily, but I cannot claim to produce a specific or even ballpark word count. It just isn’t in me.
I know from personal experience that word count resolutions just doesn’t work for me. There are days when I need to do research for my writing, and I really cannot write much – not anything worth sharing, at any rate.
Too, you should give yourself enough leeway so that if you’re sick, or facing writer’s block, you might not really be able to bang-out 1000 usable words a day.
How I Did 2016
I estimate very roughly how long it takes me to write a story, and then ballpark the number of stories I think I can really write over the whole year. Last year, I resolved to write 3 illustrated storybooks and I was able to do that.
However, I wasn’t able to illustrate any of them fully. That means this year, I need to step up my painting schedule and focus on that a little more.
I also resolved to write 3 novel-length books and for the most part was able to reach my goal. I’m still editing those projects and getting them ready for either publishing myself or for pitching to literary agents (depending on the book), but I do think that this New Year will be more on target for me.
Honestly, I’m still working on my list of resolutions for 2017! I’m nearly 2 weeks in, and seriously behind schedule on that. But no - if you’re wondering, I’m not beating myself up about that. I’m trying to do this smart, not necessarily by the numbers.
Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
I know a lot of writers, and too often see that we are often extremely self-critical (especially women). Relax a little, and give yourself some permission to be a person and not a production facility. It’s ok to be too tired some days. Just put yourself to bed early so that you can be creative the next morning.
Remember: it isn’t the being too tired that prevents you from writing, it’s the not going to bed earlier so that you’ll have more energy next time that gets you.
What about you? What New Year Writer’s Resolutions have you come up with for 2017? Write below, let me know – or, as ever, send me an email. You know I love getting those!
Keep creating, no matter what.