Who doesn’t love a New Year’s Resolution? There’s something exciting about watching the clock tick over to a new year, feeling like this is a chance to turn over a new leaf, a chance to do better. Making New Year’s Resolutions means, for me at least, sitting down with that feeling and working out what your priorities are for the next 12 months. What do you want to achieve? What do you want to improve at? Where do you want to spend your precious energy and attention in 2020?
I took some time to mull this over myself this week, and this post is going to serve a dual function; I’m going to provide some ideas and inspiration if you’re still in search of writerly resolutions to make for the coming year, and I’m also going to share what my own resolutions are to create some accountability for myself. I’d love it if you’d share your own resolutions—whether writing-related or not—in the comments, so we can all provide a bit of mutual support as we kick off the new year!
I’ve split my resolution suggestions into three categories, hopefully making it nice and easy for you to pick one that suits your goals, and provided a list of suggestions before saying what I’m focusing on for each category next year. So, without further ado, let’s jump in…
The act itself: Writing!
- Share your writing with a new audience
- Get to a certain point in your work in progress (finished with this draft, off to beta readers, published and selling…)
- Outline a new project
- Write every day, or for at least a certain amount of time per week
- Enter a specific number of contests with short stories or poems
- Take part in a writing class or workshop
My writing goal for 2020 is to finish the draft I’m working on for my current manuscript and get it sent out to beta readers for story and character feedback. I’m planning on getting that done by Spring so I can play around with short stories for a bit while I wait for the feedback to come in. Incidentally, if you know any teenagers who might be up for a bit of beta reading, give me a shout…?
Seriously though, if you’re a writer then writing is the thing, isn’t it? When you’re looking at setting writing resolutions, make sure you’re being fair to yourself. Picking something that’ll be a bit of a stretch is good, picking something that you know is going to be a massive struggle is only going to have you resenting your resolution two weeks into the new year.
It’s great practice: Reading!
- Read a certain number of books full stop
- Read a specific number of books within the genre you write in
- Read books specifically outside the genre you write in
- Make time to read every day
- Seek out books from authors with very different life experiences
Reading is incredibly important for writers. I’m not going to say you have to read to be a good writer, but I think it gives you a much better shot. While I’m throwing opinions around, I’m also going to say that yes, audiobooks count towards reading goals. Having the book read to you doesn’t give you quite the same experience as seeing the words on a page, but I’m not here to crap on the book listeners amongst us. We’re all just trying to enjoy our stories as best we can, okay? Okay.
Sorry, where was I?
My reading goal for this year is to get through 50 new books, but I want to make sure that at least 20 of those are young adult/contemporary fiction books, since that’s where my work in progress fits in and I want to make sure I’ve got a decent sense of what’s out there at the moment.
The supporting work: Blogging/Social Media!
- Launch an author website
- Start building an email list
- Put out a monthly newsletter
- Take part in the monthly writing challenges on Instagram
- Participate in #vss (the very short story hashtag) on Twitter
- Hit a certain number of followers/views per month on your blog
My blogging goal over the next year is to get to 1000 views per month on my blog. I also want to get involved with more writing challenges on both Twitter and Instagram; the writing community on both of those sites is truly lovely and what little I have participated in this year has been great fun.
Getting involved on social media is obviously incredibly useful if you’re hoping to get your writing out in the world; it gives you a huge wealth of experience and encouragement to draw on. It was through a question to the writing community on Twitter that I connected with Eric Sparks, who managed to make marketing your book sound almost straightforward. Almost. Also how I found out about Meg Trast’s amazing beta reading program over at Overhaul My Novel.
Online writing communities are also just a great place to bounce ideas off like-minded creative types, or somewhere to commiserate when the words just won’t come.
Are you making New Year’s Resolutions?
Are they for writing, or other areas of your life? Let me know the resolution you think is going to be hardest to stick to in the comments below, and let’s all cheer each other on as we kick off a brand-new decade. Happy New Year!