12 Writing Resolutions for the 12 Months of 2012

How many times have you made a list of resolutions in January, only to have misplaced them, forgotten about them, or just plain given up on them before the month was out? This year, instead of making a complete list of writing resolutions for the whole year, try implementing one new resolution every month. Following are twelve—one for each month!

In January, I resolve to…schedule a regular writing time.

The more regularly we write, the easier it gets to churn out words and the better those words become. Make a point of scheduling a regular writing time—whether it’s four hours seven days a week or fifteen minutes five days a week.

In February, I resolve to… create a roadmap to publication.

Reaching publication, whether it’s traditionally or independently, takes time. Start planning your course of action this month. Figure out what obstacles lay between you and your goal, and plan how you can overcome them one by one.

In March, I resolve to… stop procrastinating.

Procrastination is one of the writer’s most formidable enemies. This month, make a point of not allowing yourself to waste any of your scheduled writing time doing anything off point—including visiting the fridge, clipping your hangnails, or checking your email.

In April, I resolve to… edit an old story.

Pull your last story out of the closet and go over it with the ol’ red pen. Stories are never finished, just abandoned. So take advantage of the distance of time between you and an old story to gain an objective vantage point.

In May, I resolve to… send my story out for critique.

Try to always have something in the hands of a reader who can give you constructive feedback. Cultivate partnerships with other writers, with whom you can trade edits. Or bite the bullet and hire a professional editor to help you put that professional polish on your story.

In June, I resolve to… enforce my writing time.

This is the month to stop letting others run all over you and your writing time. Kindly, but firmly, let others know that your writing time is not to be interfered with. Even more important, refuse to let yourself feel guilty for making your writing a priority.

In July, I resolve to… streamline my writing process.

Take a hard look at your daily writing routine and your writing process as a whole. What could you do to streamline it? What new methods could you try? What current habits are deadweight that can be safely jettisoned?

In August, I resolve to… fact check my story.

Go through your story and make note of every single fact, no matter how small, that there’s even the slightest chance you could have gotten wrong. Then double-check them.

In September, I resolve to… do one thing to build my author’s platform.

Even if publication isn’t in your near future, start thinking about how you can start interacting with and building your reading community. Create a website, join a forum, print business cards.

In October, I resolve to… interview my characters.

Solidify and expand your knowledge of your characters by interviewing them. Find out their favorite colors, worst childhood memories, and fondest dreams. You can find a list of interview questions in my free e-book Crafting Unforgettable Characters (or an expanded list in my book Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success).

In November, I resolve to… get organized.

Clean out your desk and organize your notes, both hardcopy and digital. Trash anything you don’t need and file everything in appropriate folders, so you’ll be able to find what you need when you need it.

In December, I resolve to… exterminate clichés.

Go through your manuscript and specifically look for clichéd phrases and overused words. You’ll be surprised how many you find. Underline them in red and brainstorm original replacements.

Bonus: Year-Long Resolution: This year, I resolve to read at least one book on the craft every month.

Tell me your opinion: What are your writing goals for 2012?

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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. I didn’t make any writing or personal resolutions, but I made a Spiritual one. But you’ll have to wait until I post my blog on Friday to find out what that is. 😉

  2. As a mother of 4 young children it’s all but impossible for me to schedule writing time. But my resolution is to find time every day to devote to writing, e

    ven if it’s just a little.

  3. Oops, sorry for the weird comment. My son came and took over the keyboard. Sigh.

  4. I have a goal to finish writing my WIP this year. And continue the search for a publisher for my first novel. For me my big goal this year is to writing every day. Or at least as much as possible.

    I love your idea of making a resolution for each month 🙂

  5. @Lorna: I’ll keep my eyes open for it!

    @Sarah: Hah! Perfect timing, right? 😉

    @Krista: You go! Writing every day is so important, IMO.

  6. Great post. The only resolution I made is to be sure and put as much time into editing as I do writing.

    I like your list and I will try and apply some of them to my writing as well.

  7. Good one. Editing is generally less fun than writing, so we often neglect it more than we should.

  8. DennisMews says

    My goal this year is to publish my first novel. Editing is almost complete now.

  9. I like your idea of adding something new each month instead of tackling everything at once. I don’t make resolutions per se — can’t see the point in setting myself up for failure — but there are always things I intend to do and goals to pursue. I’m a list maker, so I’m drawing up a list of priorities and will look forward to crossing things off as they’re accomplished. Top of the list is to get on with querying/submissions. I procrastinate terribly, in favour of focusing on new writing. Not sure why, but mostly it’s insecurity about whether mss are ready, although laziness plays a factor. I prefer to be writing. 🙂

    Happy New Year to you.

  10. Aww.. shucks.. you found me out… 😉
    I don’t have any writing resolutions for this year… not right now at least.

  11. Great list! I’ve been thinking I needed to do several of these – the others I just hadn’t thought up yet. 🙂 I like the 1 per month idea…

    Happy New Year! 🙂

  12. @Dennis: Congrats on the completion of the editing! I wish you all the best in finding a publisher.

    @Carol: I’m not a big one for personal goals – or at least not for setting concrete deadlines on them. I always know what I want to accomplish next, but I don’t necessarily approach my goals year by year. I focus on what needs doing now, finish it, them move onto the next thing.

    @Gideon: The good news is you have all the rest of the year to figure them out!

    @Katherine: I hope you vanquish them and arrive at the end of 2012 victorious!

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  14. Katie, clever approach.

    “I resolve to read at least one book on the craft every month.” So now I know one of the secrets of your success and that you weren’t born with all that story writing wisdom!

    “I resolve to… get organized.” I’m one of those oddballs (cliche?)that enjoys organizing. Problem though, it’s easier than writing.

    My goals for 2012:

    Finish my two ebooks on writing better to help build a fire (cliche #2)under my writing blog.

    And to re-write my novel, again. My title? “Christianity 2034: Under Siege.” So far I’ve gone with Larry Brooks’ advice (his major plot points) to write your key chapters/scenes first. And, by the way, I’m keeping your “crafting unforgettable CHARACTERS” electronically handy. Great practical advice. Thought you’d like to know.

  15. I always enjoy reading what you share with the rest of us. Unfortunately many make me feel that writers don’t make any money and writing isn’t a real job. Your articles are encouraging when others can be so discouraging.

  16. Certainly sounds like an excellent plan, much simpler than some simple and unstructured year long resolution.

  17. These are great goals! I’m reading “A Dash of Style” by Noah Lukeman – it would make a good addition to your craft-book-a-month goal! 🙂

  18. @Bill: Next to writing itself, studying the craft via writing-craft books is the single best way to grow as a writer. You should see the stories I wrote before I started studying all those years ago!

    @Lee: No question that it’s tough to make a living as a writer, but for those who are willing to put in the time and effort, it’s more than possible. Glad you’re enjoying the articles!

    @Sjp: As a person who thrives on structure, I really like the idea of breaking down big vague goals into smaller, more specific ones. It makes it so much easier to know what to do and where to begin.

    @Susan: I’ve read many of Lukeman’s articles, but none of his books (so far). He’s chock full of good advice.

  19. Wow. Now this is a true roadmap to success! It’s like a firm plan you have in place and it feels like you know where you’re going. Maybe I should put my goals in a timeframe like yours…

  20. One of the things I like about monthly goals is that they allow a visible progression toward an overall goal. Baby steps!

  21. Hmm… You seem to have read my mind. This year I did a progressive Goal instead of resolutions. My end goal is publication, my interim goals get me there. Thanks for reaffirming my own thoughts. 🙂

  22. Hmm… I really like these resolutions! Some of them are already somehow part of my list, but I never thought of making a resolution for each month!

  23. Don’t forget to find a graphic designer to design your cover art!
    (Books ARE judged by the cover!)

    Kristine

  24. I’m a technical and business writer, but I have resolutions as heart felt as the creatives on this thread. (Please, don’t kick me out). After more than a decade writing in an office, I have started a business. Here are my goals (resolutions):

    1) Develop the capacity to earn a living income and cut needless spending.
    2) Write 500 pages of content that I can claim exclusively as my own instead of the property of others.
    3) Rediscover the silly joy of writing, rather than constantly ‘monetizing’ it (hate that word).
    4) Get back into public speaking, teaching, and mentoring. Talking is awesome.
    5) Develop a collaborative network with other writers searching for meaning. Do some team projects.

  25. thanks for the great resolutions, i think i’ll add them to mine: Occupy your wallet http://bit.ly/urm2fe

  26. @Leonie: You go! My list here really isn’t progressive; it’s all over the board. But I believe 100% that little progressive goals are the best way to build up to a big overall goal.

    @Lady Charlotte: Write it on your calendar so you don’t forget! It’s a great way to rejuvenate yourself twelve times year.

    @Kristine: If you’re going to be self-published and you’re not skilled in graphic design (and most of us aren’t), then, yes, definitely, put out the money for a professional cover.

    @Caroline: The “silly joy” – I like that. Such a simple phrase, but it really does convey that giggle-worthy magic of being able to enjoy our writing.

  27. @Frothquaffer: Thanks for stopping by!

  28. Nice blog! Stumbled across it on Twitter. I mainly want to read more, so I can actually get a feel for my favorite authors before I start trying to call myself one. I also want to do a monthly creative project; whether it be writing, scrapbooking, or something else…I want to make sure my creative juices are flowing!! I wrote about my goals more specifically in my blog. 😀

  29. Glad you found me! 🙂 Next to writing itself, I count reading (whether it’s how-to books or fiction) to be the most important way a writer can spend his time. No words in = no words out!

  30. Now that I own a Kindle, I resolve to buy a book or two by K.M Weiland lol.

    This is a good list and I really like the way you’ve suggested a different goal for every month of 2012. I think for me it will all come down to finding a way to have privacy for writing time. I live in a very small house and our laptop died so that just leaves the desktop. Plus my kids are at an age where they don’t respect daddy’s writing time. I’m sure they can learn. Maybe I can clean out the garage and make it my writing haven. Other blokes have tool sheds – but I’m a writer!

  31. I like that resolution. 😉 (And, actually, now’s a good time, since at the moment Behold the Dawn is only $.99!)

    I totally love the idea of a “writing shed.” So long as it has heat, it sounds like just the sort of inspiring nook we all need to hole up in while we write.

  32. Yeah I thought you’d like that one 🙂
    What I’d really need is air conditioning though. I can always put on a jumper when it’s cold. Hmm. Maybe a waterproof laptop and a “writing pool”. That would be cool.

  33. Great job creating a new resolution for each month, but more kudos for posting them! A great motivator! You’ve given me more motivation to finally write up my own, which I’ve been dragging on.
    Happy New Year!

  34. @Adam: I can bear heat much better than I can cold, so I’d take the heater over the air conditioner myself. (Though a writing pool does sound nice!)

    @Monica: Yay! Good luck with your resolutions. I hope you nail them this year.

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  36. I want to admit that even after having a gre8 fresh story (which was never told in cinema/novel ever before) for bollywood film here in India, I didn’t made it into screenplay just because I had procrastination habit for last 2 years and now I am seeing same idea cracked by someone else (co-incidentally) and they are making the film with big superstar & big budget. I always thought that this idea can not be cracked by someone else in world but I proved wrong, I am so disheartened and cursing myself for not completing my story. And now I took resolution that I will complete my story with some different angle in novel form anyhow at any cost, thats my resolution for 2012. I am writing 3 hours per day…..is it enough ? I am first time writer.

  37. It’s always heartbreaking when something like that happens! If you can manage three hours of writing time a day, that’s fabulous. I believe it’s not so much the amount of time you put it in as it is the consistency of doing it every day. Personally, I’ve always done well writing two hours a day, five days a week.

  38. thanks WILAND……..THANKS FOR REPLYING…WILL SEE YOU SOON.

  39. Yesterday I learned that these are called micro- resolutions which seem much more doable than committing to something huge for an entire year. Love the positive spin.

  40. @Maddy: In my experience, the only way to accomplish a macro-resolution is to tackle it in bite-size chunks. Makes it more fun too!

  41. @ KM: Since you say you only write dedicate two hours a day, five days a week to writing, does that mean you haven’t yet given up your day job? I was wondering if writing could ever become a living or if writers also need an additional source of income. Specifically I am wondering if/when I should give up my daytime, outside the home, job and make writing my full time endeavor.

    @ Adam: iPad! That’s how I get around the laptop, that now has to be plugged in constantly to work properly, and the desktop that hasn’t worked in years. My iPad (I have the first gen, wifi) can go with me anywhere and everywhere so whenever I get two seconds to rub together I pull it out and write. Though I do rather fancy the idea of a dedicated writing room. My next home project perhaps. 🙂

  42. I work mornings for a local church ministry, spend my afternoons working on marketing and the like, then do my two hours of writing. As for when you should decide to give up your day job, that’s ultimately a very personal decision, for a number of factors. However, I wouldn’t recommend it until you’re confident you have a viable plan for making a living through your writing. Novelists very rarely make enough money to live off. Freelance and technical writers are the way to go if you’re writing a steady income.

  43. Hey Weiland I was doing pretty well I wrote consistently 2-3 hours for first 15 days of January but lost my way for rest of January Now I am feeling horrible that always I makes a good start but after that I cant continue due to any reason, Now from last 1 week I couldn’t write anything and when I sat to write I found myself not worth of writing anything on paper………what to do ? My problem is I start well but loose my way (loose interest) in the middle of writing.

  44. Just keep writing. Writing junk is better than writing nothing, and I think you’ll find that you’ll write your way out of the junk sooner than you think.

  45. yes today I am on track again in February………..thanks for encouraging 🙂

  46. That’s great! Keep on keeping on!

  47. I am fumbling once again…..I have a habbit of procrastination……I am a very good begainer but a very very bad finisher……even in cricket match I used to bowl 5 bowls on the spot but my sixth bowls goes for sixer……..why cant I keep things going the way I start them ? I think I have a wonderful story & sits to write but after starting well somehow I leave it in middle…….why ? I don’t know…….I don’t know how to concentrate….my mind is so deviate….please help me……..I really want to write because I know my Idea is unique still I am procrastinating by saying that I have full time business which should not be ignored because it gives me bread and butter.

  48. Sometimes overcoming procrastination is nothing more or less than exerting the necessary willpower. Not an elegant or easy answer. But often it’s the only one. Force yourself to sit down at the keyboard for a designated amount of time. You don’t have to write, but don’t allow yourself to do anything else either. You may just find that you start typing and keep typing just to avoid the boredom.

  49. I rediscovered this post and saw my original comment. Now 6 months later, I am happy to say that I am making a living as a writer. The down side is I have virtually no byline credit. Putting words in other people’s mouths is still my bread and butter. But I will redouble my effort and get back to my articles and blog posts. I hope you publish an update. I’d love to hear how you are faring with your resolutions.

  50. You go! It’s always exciting to come back seven months later and discover you’ve nailed your resolutions. I feel I’m doing well on mine also. My fantasy novel Dreamlander is headed toward publication, which was the big one for this year, and I have a few other projects that are rolling along as well.

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