5 New Year’s Resolutions for the Writer in You
Happy New Year!
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably already had, or plan to, invest in lots of journals, planners, and organizational materials for the new year. We have these ideas of doing this year right. And, we all know that if you want your dreams to become a reality, you have to make it an achievable goal.
But, let’s be real with ourselves…
Most of us have to admit that we abandon all that -ness by February or so. As much as we want to do these great things and change our lives for the better, we also already have a life going that we have to maintain. When you’re already doing so much, it feels impossible to add on more; that’s why we avoid doing so unless we ABSOLUTELY HAVE to. Considering that,
This year, you ABSOLUTELY HAVE to write.
Yup. For yourself, for your loved ones, for the world.
You have a story to share that no one else can share in the same way. You have something to say that will connect with people in a way that no one else could. You have the ability to know yourself more through your writing accomplishments and make your loved ones proud of you and how much you grow as your writing gets better and you laugh and smile about your successes.
You. Have. To. Write. Period.
Just like I said before if you want to make a dream a reality, you have to make a goal. You can find out how to do that here.
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1. I will create and maintain a writing journal for my WIP this year.
Journals have always been a thing. In recent studies, we’ve even found that journals are beneficial for mental and emotional health. Of course, it only made sense when journals started to expand to hobbies with bullet journals. I personally keep four different hobby journals that I use sporadically and invest a lot of time into when I finally do. The only one I use consistently, though, is my writer’s journal.
If you want to get serious about your WIP, you have to have a journal for your idea scribbles, planning, outlining, research, dossiers and all other things associated. This not only puts everything in one place for you but it also allows you to see and measure your progress–serving as motivation to add even more.
Victoria Fry over at Something Delicious can help you set up yours. Check out how I set up my own, too.
2. I will read at least 2 books from the same genre as my WIP this year.
If you want to write in a certain genre, you have to know the genre and the different variations. The best way to find out what your audience likes–including yourself–and what typically works in a successful story in that genre, you want to read other books in the genre. What do they do? What do they not do? How can you do that? Different things like that? There are easy ways to do that, like entering in your favorite book of the genre into Goodreads and seeing what it comes up with as similar for you to check out. You can even do the same with movies.
Now, finding the time to read is pretty daunting when you have a full life on your plate. That’s the lovely thing about having movies, shows, and audiobooks. Weed in as many stories in there for you to analyze. I recommend old-fashioned reading though because you can get a sense of the development pace that you will eventually mimic.
3. I will work with a writing buddy and/or community to keep me accountable.
One of the best things you can do for your writing career/hobby is to have a writing buddy or community to help you through your slumps and disappointments. When you are involved with like-minded people, you feel more inspired, you have more support and understanding, and way more opportunity to share and improve your craft.
It may be a friend in real life with whom you can meet and chat, or you can have a digital buddy with whom you chat and share through social media.
If you have the means and time, I would say join writing communities and groups when you can. There are physical groups in almost every region who meet and write together. You can join classes that will work together through writers workshops. And, of course, you have the digital writing communities–like my Writers’ Coffeehouse.
4. I will practice writing every day this year.
This is probably the hardest one. Where do you find the time, the energy, the focus? I know. As a teacher, I faced the same thing. However, I found there were gaps where I could fit it in if I TRULY wanted to write that day. That’s the key. How bad do you want it because you’ll MAKE time if you truly do.
Think of writing time not as another chore, but as a time for yourself. To express yourself and practice something you love. When you go out with friends–for coffee, for lunch, etc–talk about your WIP and get ideas for you to get down later. During lunch, jot down a couple of sentences as you eat and decompress. While your kid is doing homework, sit at the table with them and write yourself. There are even others who find they have a better day and feel more energetic and inspired when they wake up just a little earlier in the morning specifically to write part of their story.
To do this effectively, check out some of my other articles to keep yourself going.
5. I will improve my writing skills with practice and exposure this year.
When you’re writing your first draft, you want to just write it down–don’t edit or revise. However, when you finish, you do want to think about how you will make your story better. Of course, there are classes for that and/or you can study other stories yourself. In the same way, you can take advice from the pros and emulate what they suggest you do to maximize your story’s potential.
I know, I know. How will you pull all of these off in the midst of your life and the other things you want to accomplish?
Again, you have to want it. I mean, REALLY want it. If you do, you’ll make it happen. And, just like number three suggests, if you have someone to help keep you accountable, you’re more likely to keep at it. Even more so, if you detail your goals even more than I presented above–that you can learn more about here–you can make it more achievable, more possible.
So, what do you think? Do you think there are any other goals to which writers should aspire every year? What are your goals for your writing career this year?
Let us know in the comments and on social media when you follow me for more inspiration. Also, don’t forget to sign up for the bi-weekly Writer’s Wisdom newsletter for more trends, tips, and inspiration from the writer in me to the writer in you.