10 Writing Resolutions You Can Fulfill

10 Writing Resolutions You Can Fulfill Today

10 IMPORTANT WRITING RESOLUTIONS

Sometimes even the most well-intentioned writing resolutions can end up being whimsical, erratic, and just plain unrealistic. But when you focus on goals that are slightly more achievable, you’re not only more likely to pull them off, but you’ll also feel much better about yourself come deadline time.

Following are ten writing resolutions you can start fulfilling right now.

1. You Can Write Every Day

Or at least on a regular basis.

Plan a reasonable writing schedule and stick with it. Perhaps you’ll write for two hours every day, as I do, or perhaps you’ll only be able to save twenty minutes from the general frenzy of life. Whatever the amount of time, make up your mind to stick with it relentlessly.

2. You Can Finish That First Draft

Let this be the year you type “The End” on that story (or stories) you’ve been tinkering with. Unfinished stories are unread stories, and unread stories are unpublished stories. Start building the habit of finishing every story you start.

3. You Can Study the Craft/Read More

Invest in some worthy books on the craft, subscribe to writing magazines, or sign up for writing workshops either online or at a conference. And don’t forget to read like crazy. The best way to study the craft is to learn at the feet of the master wordsmiths.

4. You Can Enjoy Every Minute

Okay, maybe not every minute. You’re entitled to the occasional headbang against the keyboard when your main character is blowing raspberries instead of cooperating.

But don’t let yourself forget that, as a writer, you’re one of the most blessed people on the planet. Embrace the ups and downs of the craft, and don’t let the rough moments get to you.

5. You Can Find a Critique Partner

We all need at least one pair of objective eyes to catch the glaring mistakes in our manuscripts and cheer us on when the going gets tough. If you’re not already lucky enough to have such a person, start frequenting writing groups, forums, and blogs. Strike up friendships and offer to trade manuscript critiques.

6. You Can Banish Writer’s Block

Learn to cultivate a lifestyle that encourages inspiration, and master the skills that will send writer’s block packing whenever it threatens. (For more on the subject, you can read my e-book Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration.)

7. You Can Stretch Your Comfort Zone

Safe is boring. Try something new this year—whether it’s a new genre, a new format, or a wildly unpredictable new character.

8. You Can Set Realistic Goals

Focus on what you can achieve on your own. You can’t ensure you’ll find a publisher for your novel this year—but you can send out five queries every month.

9. You Can Help Others

The writing community is all about sharing. We learn from and are assisted by others, and, in turn, we should make it a point to share our own knowledge and encouragement. Join writing forums and groups, offer to read a less experienced author’s manuscript, or maybe just leave a good review on one of your favorite author’s books.

10. You Can Call Yourself a Writer

If you write, you’re a writer. Don’t ever let yourself believe differently. Make it your goal to better your writing skills and habits with every new year, but don’t feel you have to wait to claim your title as a “writer.” Claim it and wear it with pride.

Wordplayers, tell me your opinion! What are your writing resolutions this year? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.

Comments

  1. This is a great list! I could use varying degrees of work on all ten, but #5 is one that particularly interests me. I want additional feedback on my work, but I’m not sure how to go about finding the right person or people to do it.

    • Robert Lodge says

      There are some really good critiquing websites out there. My personal favourite and the one which I have found to be the most helpful in my own work is Scribophile.com, you ill find that the community there is highly supportive and very constructive.

  2. Great list. I’m focusing on #5.

  3. I posted my writing goals over here on my blog, but mainly I want to write and read more. Nothing as exciting as seeking publication yet, but I’ve only been seriously writing for a year. I’m off to a good start since I have read and written a review of a book for a new series on my blog that will be put up tomorrow. Now I just need the rest of my library reservations to wing their way to me!
    – Sophia.

  4. Thanks for the list, it inspired me; I like write “the end” on a few (short) stories. Have a great New Year. You’re Awesome.

  5. Excellent list. I made only one writing goal for the year, but as long as I see it through, it should take care of so much more. I plan to write for at least 20 hours a week–make it a part-time job. That means actual writing and revising, not reading blogs and writing books and calling it writing (though I will do plenty of that, too). This should make me much more productive than I was last year.

  6. @Elisabeth: I’ve encountered most of my best critique partners by making friends on writing forums like Christian Writers.

    @vv: I hope you find the perfect feedback source for your needs.

    @Sophia: Good for you! I think you’re wise not to rush into publication. This early in your writing career, it’s much better to focus your energies on perfecting the craft.

    @Frosty: No better feeling than writing “the end” ( except maybe writing “once upon a time”). Have fun!

    @Eric: Ambitious, bu definitely doable. You’re going to have a very productive year!

  7. Thanks for this! I like the last one the best.

    Smart about setting realistic goals, too. You have to do what YOU can do.

  8. write everyday whether it be a blog post or working on my manuscript. write better and finish

  9. Your list is inspirational. I intend to carry it out! Thanks so much.

  10. @Sarah: Each one of lives a different life, with different responsibilities. What’s realistic for one person isn’t necessarily realistic for another. We need to realize that and not allow ourselves to feel guilty for doing what we may perceive as too little.

    @Cameron: “Write better” – hear, hear to that.

    @Myrna: I hope you’re able to cross every one of them off your list come next January.

  11. These are great goals for the new year and all year long! Since I just discovered your blog, I’m excited to do some more reading right here.
    I’m new to the writing scene and am still trying to get comfortable with the notion that I am a writer. But I love to play with ideas and write them out, so now I will start the new year by introducing myself as a writer.
    Thanks,
    Karen

  12. Love it!! Great list. I especially enjoyed that I’m allowed to bang my head on the keyboard while my MC blows raspberries!! 😀 Going to go tweet…

  13. @Karen: That’s the spirit. I think you’ll find that the very act of claiming the title of writer will give you more confidence in your writing.

    @Lisa: Thanks for the tweet! If your characters are like mine, their lips are in good shape from blowing lots of raspberries.

  14. Yes!

    This year I have a focus and a posting schedule for my blog.

    http://sandraheskaking.com/2010/12/diving-into-the-new-year/

    And I want to write “The End” on two drafts–fiction and nonfiction.

    So please hurry up with that outlining book. 😀

    It’s prolly time for a crit partner.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. I can finish that first draft I can finish that first draft I can finish that first draft…

    Thanks for this list and for my new mantra. Here’s wishing you a happy, successful and prosperous 2011! 🙂

  17. Excellent list!! I’m going to write this out and tape it to my desk to remind me on days when I forget:) or put writing off!

    Happy New Year to you!

  18. @Sandra: You go! And I’m hurrying, I’m hurrying! :p

    @Kelene: That’s a mantra for success. Thanks for the well wishes. I hope your New Year is just as fabulous!

    @Marisa: You can do it! A little bit of determination is all it takes to turn 2011 into the best writing year yet.

  19. I was looking back over my writing journal, and one of the resolutions I made for 2010 was to finish my WIP. While I am further along than I was a year ago, I am far from typing THE END. Characters refused to cooperate, scenes didn’t work and had to be rewritten or tossed out, changing POV, writing, rewriting and re-rewriting chapter after chapter account for a lot of my failure to fulfill my goal.

    For 2011 I resolved not to make any resolutions on writing—unless I resolve to find a different career. :p

  20. You can’t force the ending to a story. Sometimes putting a deadline on completion leads to stilted writing and a less-than-ideal story. I have a standing resolve to finish my stories – but I rarely, if ever, slap hard, cold deadlines on the completion.

  21. May I suggest to all who found #5 appealing, the Internet Writing Workshop, one of the oldest online critique groups out of Penn State. I have been a member of the nonfiction list for over five years and the feedback is stellar. There are numerous lists you can participate in: Practice, YA, Novels, Romance, etc.

    Check it out at

    http://internetwritingworkshop.blogspot.com/

  22. May I suggest to all who found #5 appealing, the Internet Writing Workshop, one of the oldest online critique groups out of Penn State. I have been a member of the nonfiction list for over five years and the feedback is stellar. There are numerous lists you can participate in: Practice, YA, Novels, Romance, etc.

    Check it out at

    http://internetwritingworkshop.blogspot.com/

  23. May I suggest to all who found #5 appealing, the Internet Writing Workshop, one of the oldest online critique groups out of Penn State. I have been a member of the nonfiction list for over five years and the feedback is stellar. There are numerous lists you can participate in: Practice, YA, Novels, Romance, etc.

    Check it out at

    http://internetwritingworkshop.blogspot.com/

  24. Thanks for sharing the link. I’ll be sure to check it out and share it with my Twitter followers.

  25. Fantastic list, K.M.! My personal favorite: #7–You can stretch your comfort zone. Yes, bring on 2011 and let’s see how our writing muscles will be stretched. For me, writing every day no matter how much, how little is my top # 1 goal 🙂

  26. I like to call it “writing scared.” If I’m doing something in my writing that leaves me just a little bit petrified, I know I’m on the right track.

  27. My goal is to write more on my stories not just blog posts and include a story from time to time on my blog. I want to write on a schedule everyday. Work on my books. Lots of goals. School is a big focus, lots of stories.

  28. Lots of goals, lots of stories – sounds good to me. Because my blog is entirely non-fiction, I don’t consider time spent working on Wordplay as time spent working on my “my writing.” Separating the two really helps me focus on the different goals I need to put in place for each project.

  29. My goals are to find an agent, go to 2 conferences (that’s the easy one), turn in a non fiction book proposal, finish that book, finish my fiction WIP and read another how to write book. I’ll be printing this post out to encourage me to stay on track.

  30. Those close to me are always encouraging me to write more. I’ve always loved writing, but too often I can’t decide what I want to write about, so I don’t write at all. I love this list! I was most inspired by #1. I am going to let go of the excuses and make time to write, even if it is just for a little bit every day. Thank you for this post!!

  31. @Jan: You’re going to be a busy gal!

    @Liz: Excuses are poison to a writer. Once we get rid of them, we’re on the way.

  32. This was a nice list. I want to wrap up revisions on my first novel by the end of February.

  33. Lots to do this year. I am finishing the last few thousand words of a WIP, while starting a series of edits with my writing group for our NaNo books. I count myself very lucky to have more than one set of eyes for critiquing.

    Happy New Year! I am looking forward to reading your posts while I edit with my group.

  34. @Tara: Happy editing! I’m hoping to *start* revisions on my WIP around then – but first I gotta finish that first draft.

    @Patricia: Having a reliable circle of beta readers is a tremendous blessing. Nothing like a little objectivity to put a still-fresh story in perspective.

  35. This was a great and inspiring read, K.M. I will try following through my writing goals for this year, which are to read more, write more, and follow through on my stories until the end.

    I love number ten: “You can call yourself a writer.” Very true. I’ve never called myself a writer, even though I do technically write! I guess, now is a good time to take that title!

    Thanks for all the advice and great links.

    Write on!

  36. Inspiring because it’s practical. I resolve to write every day. That is all. the rest is extra. For me, that’s huge.

  37. @Vatche: Claim that title and enjoy it. If you’re putting words on paper, you deserve it.

    @Shelby: And that’s more than enough. If you do that, you’ve already made a huge step as a committed writer.

  38. Great post. I always try to be realistic with my goals, and remembering what’s possible and what’s not is important. But beyond setting the goals, it is about the choices we make everyday. Yes, all of this is possible, as long as I choose to make it my focus.

  39. Keeping the big picture in view is always important – but not so important, sometimes, as making sure each little piece is in its place on a daily basis.

  40. This list is really encouraging, because of how many I already have done. 🙂
    #2. Finished my first draft in November and have no interest in working on something else except short stories.
    #3. Am already following writing blogs and reading a lot. While I could do more, I think it’s more important for me to actually be writing right now.
    #4. No problem. 🙂 The only part I haven’t enjoyed so far is knowing I need to write and avoiding doing it.
    #5. I have several siblings and my parents who are very happy to help me with critiquing. While I may want more eventually, they are helpful enough for now.
    #6. I’ve not struggled with writer’s block yet–I’m surrounded by inspiration.
    #7. It seems that everything I’ve written in the past year was wildly new for me, enough to make me squirm in my seat. 🙂
    #8. Got it.
    #9. I don’t know about this one… I was really involved with other writers last year, but this year I’m trying to avoid online relationships and focus on my family. I could offer my sister more help though.
    #10. I’ve been calling myself a writer for a month now! 🙂

    Al that to say, what I really need to focus on this year is writing regularly. Thank you for the push to actually do it!

    P.S. Sorry for the long comments!

  41. Great stuff! Very encouraging and empowering – especially no. 10! Thanks for posting this. 🙂

  42. @Hannah: Long comments (and enthusiasm) are always welcome! Congrats on already being so far along.

    @Happy Odd Girl: “Empowerment” is actually one of my own goal words of the year. Glad to hear the post was encouraging!

  43. Great list. I would say the most important one for me that I have not yet really started on is #5, finding a critique partner (or writer’s group). That is a top priority for me for 2011, however!

  44. I hope you find a wonderful and supportive person or group of people.

  45. I love that last one – you can call yourself a writer.

  46. Ultimately, “writer” is just a word. Claiming it as a title is just a little psychological oomph to get us to behave like writers. It’s what we *do* that really decides whether we’re writers or not. And if we’re writing, what are if not writers?

  47. Awesome list! I plan to write every day and hopefully get 8K a week. I also want to get at least one first draft written this year.

  48. Eight thousand words a week is excellent. You go!

  49. When you’re a new writer who lives in a more ~ shall we say isolated area? Then you add in the fact that you are writing a book that falls into the speculative genre – and you know it needs a lot of work… Plus you have little to offer because of your lack of experience. How do you get up the courage and then find a critique partner? I know I would feel better working with one or two people rather than a large group.

    I tried the group at ACFW but it was one huge group and not really enough time to get to know any of them.

  50. I would suggest finding a writing forum with which you’re comfortable, start posting and chatting and making friends. I gleaned most of my best critique partners through the Christian Writers forum. But Twitter and other writers’ blogs can also be a rich source for networking and making friends.

  51. I really need to work on finishing a “rough draft” of my NaNoWriMo from 2009. It ended at draft zero status, and now I have to get all the little parts in there too

  52. “Draft zero” – I like that. Better get cracking, girl!

  53. It’s interesting that I read this after making my goals for this year. Particularly, #8 is pretty much what my wife said—don’t set goals like getting an agent, but set goals based on something that isn’t dependent on someone else. So I set some query submission goals just as you mentioned.

    Another goal is to write 4,000 words per week in my WIP and finish the first draft by the end of March. I know a lot of writers commit to a specific amount of time per day, but I find that rather than looking at the clock or setting a timer, if I shoot for a word count and really get going, I’ll be surprised at how far I’ve gotten that day. And it feels like I’ve made more progress than if I stop when the clock says stop.

  54. I’ve found that I operate much better if I set myself a time limit rather than a word count, but, as you’ve discovered, every author is different. We each have to figure out what works best for us and stick with it relentlessly.

  55. Excellent list to share and something to keep in the back of the head at all times! Thank you for that!

    Personally I struggle with #5 the most. Friends and relatives are in my experience always willing to help, but that doesn’t always make them “qualified” to do so. What I mean is that your critique partner should be able to appreciate/understand the genre that you write in – for instance, you wouldn’t want a romance-novel buff to critique your sci-fi/action novel. Sure, they can help with typos and other stupid errors that are easy for yourself to miss (but very important to correct!), but when it comes to content, strengths and weakness they need to be able to understand, if not like, your genre.

  56. Friends and family aren’t generally good choices for critique partners. They have too much invested in us to be as brutally honest as necessary sometimes. The rule has exceptions, of course, but, generally, it’s best to seek critiques from outside sources.

  57. Goals (March 14, 2012): In one month, I will guest blog on someone’s blog site. In three months, I will have published a short story. In six months, I will have written my first book. In twelve months, I will have published that book in some form.
    These are the goals I wrote and posted on my blog on March 14, 2012.

    But, I am still trying to figure out how to go about it. Thanks for your 10 resolutions.

  58. You go! I congratulate you for your daring and specific goals, and I wish you all the best in accomplishing them.

  59. I’m proud to say tht I

  60. Awesome! You go, girl! 🙂

  61. I like the repetition of “You can”. It’s something we need to remember – writers choose to write and then do so. We don’t need a degree or an apprenticeship (although we can choose mentors if we wish).

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