12 Resolutions to Consider for Your Writing This Year

It’s that month again: the one where we all look to the new year with energy and excitement, then make promises to ourselves about what we’re going to do with those twelve long months of possibility and opportunity. You’ve probably already made some kind of resolution about your word count, time spent writing, or number of books you’ll put out this year, but that’s not your only job as a  writer in the 21st century.

Last week, we talked about setting and meeting your goals. This week, let's create some specific resolutions.

On that note, I'll add that one of the great unfairnesses of modern writing is our jobs entail so many things that aren’t…you know…writing. That unfairness extends into our resolutions for our writing career. It’s not too late to commit to one or two other accomplishments this year that can supercharge your earnings, your productivity, or other aspects of your writing career. For example…

1. Resolve to Organize Your Social Media

You’re on social media, but if you want to boost your sales you need to approach it tactically, consistently, and with a goal-oriented eye. Over the course of the next year, consider adding the following to your social media assets and game:

  • A structured content calendar that meshes with your writing and release schedules
  • A list of twenty peers and other writers you can work with to boost one another’s signals
  • A way to keep track of new potential superfans as they start to engage with your content
  • A suite of photos you can use to spruce up your posts

It’s much easier to organize your social media once, then work the plan, than it is to keep hacking away at it without one. 

2. Resolve to Outsource One Thing

There’s something in your life that takes you a couple hours a week that you should just stop doing. Find somebody you can pay to make it happen, then spend that time earning more money than you spent. 

For some writers, it’s a writing-related task like editing, cover design, or some of the low-level marketing tasks. 

For writers with families, it can often be a chore like grocery shopping, mowing the lawn, or managing basic finances. 

You might even outsource one of your responsibilities in your day job, to a personal assistant or a subcontractor. 

Whatever it is, once you outsource that task, leverage your time and invest those saved hours into writing, or selling what you’ve written.

3. Resolve to Meditate Once a Day

The health benefits of meditation have been proven again and again. So has how much it can super-charge your productivity. Meditation makes you happier, healthier, and more active in the things you love. 

Happy, healthy, active writers write more, and what they write comes out better than when they’re unhappy, unhealthy, and moving slowly.

You don’t have to meditate for a long time, or practice some difficult, esoteric form. Just sit and breathe for five minutes to center yourself and become more mindful. The rest will take care of itself. 

4. Resolve to Find a Mentor

A mentor is somebody who’s been where you are, and has moved further down the road toward where you want to be…and who is willing to give you a helping hand along your journey. This kind of relationship can really help your writing move to its next level. 

There are two kinds of mentoring you might want to consider. Either take your strongest thing, and find somebody to help you hone it into true excellence, or find the thing that’s holding you back the most and find somebody to help you overcome that disadvantage. 

How do you find a mentor? You simply ask. You will be surprised how many people are very happy to help folks by mentoring. It’s part of the life cycle of successful people, and being asked feels pretty nice on the ego. 

5. Resolve to Read More

It’s sometimes hard to find the time to do all the things you want or need to, but here are ten important reasons you, as a writer, should prioritize reading:

  • Words are your stock in trade. You should spend more time with them. 
  • It’s the only way to research your market and understand what’s trending upward and downward.
  • You can get inspired by ideas, characters, and turns of phrase. 
  • When you read bad books, it helps you avoid those mistakes in your own work. 
  • Reading builds empathy, and the better your empathy the stronger you’ll build your own characters.
  • You can forge strategic relationships with the writers you like. 
  • It will encourage you to take more risks in your own writing.
  • It helps you have meaningful, informed conversations with fans of your genre. 
  • It’s polite. You can’t really expect to have others love reading your work if you can’t love reading the work of others. 
  • Reading is objectively good for you.

Set a goal of reading two books a month, then carve out the time to make that happen. 

6. Resolve to Update Your Keywords

You did your keyword research when you set up your books in Amazon (maybe even when you were choosing what to write about in the first place), but that job’s not over. Keyword popularity ebbs and flows. Resolve this year to do fresh research, and make any changes to your titles your research tells you will be a good idea. 

Bonus points for setting up seasonal keyword suites. For example, if you write a sports book have a suite of football keywords to put up around Superbowl time. If you write romances, be ready to post a set of holiday keywords come Valentines, and a different set on Christmas.

7. Resolve to Exercise More

This one is a lot like the meditation resolution. Studies show that 20-30 minutes of exercise sets you up for enough extra focus, energy, and motivation that you gain between two and three hours of productivity. That’s to say nothing of the other benefits like feeling great, fewer health problems, and looking better when you’re naked. 

It’s time to retire the old excuse of not having time to exercise. With the benefits — especially to productivity — you don’t have time to not exercise. 

8. Resolve to Write Something New

Write something you’ve never written before. If you always write in first person, try third person. If you only write for adults, try writing a YA or children’s picture book. If you do nonfiction, write a short story that centers around your area of expertise. 

Experimentation helps you as a writer for two reasons. First, it stretches your creativity, which will make your main writing that much better. Second, you might discover a talent or a love for a whole new kind of writing. There’s only one way to find out…

9. Resolve to Wake Up Early

I know, I know…the image of a writer isn’t one of early risers up to greet the dawn. It’s of burning the midnight oil in an attic somewhere, typing away while others are asleep. But there’s a lot of problems with that image. 

First of all, you’re writing tired. It’s the end of the day. You’ve done a lot. Fatigue is real. Second, the day you just had can cut into your writing time as other commitments run longer than you anticipated. Third, there’s more temptation at night. Your partner wants you to watch a movie, or your kids are out late and need you to get them, or there’s a party to go to. 

In the morning you’re fresh (once you clear out the just-woke-up sleepies). Nothing has happened yet to derail your writing time. Nobody is going to get up early to invite you to do something other that write.

If you find you lack time to do your writing, this is the most important resolution on your list. Make it and keep it. 

10. Resolve to Submit More Often

Or publish. Or whatever mode is part of your business model for getting your writing out in the world. However many times you did it last year, double that number. Then set up your writing calendar to make that happen. 

Sure, this resolution requires you to get busier than ever, and probably braver than you’ve ever been. But isn’t that the point of resolutions in the first place?

We’ve made it sound easier than this will be, but the concept is exactly that simple. Submit more, and watch your success accelerate. 

11. Resolve to Take a Trip

As COVID season eases off, we’ll be able to travel again. Travel broadens the mind and relaxes the soul…both of which can improve your writing. 

We won’t spend much time belaboring this point. You know we’re right, and you probably want to travel anyway. Start planning. 

12. Resolve to Give Back

Your final resolution is to give back somehow to the writing community, to your fans, and to the friends and family members who’ve supported your writing habit this whole time. This isn’t really about your writing (well, not directly), but more about karma and your general well-being. 

Whether it’s a donation to a cause, a sincere thank-you, or lending your support and skills to a project somebody else holds dear, make it a practice to do something for somebody else each day. It pays off in more ways than you’re imagining right now. 

Remember: A Promise is a Promise

Once you make your resolution, remember two things. First: your resolution is a promise you’ve made to yourself. Second: think about the lengths you would go to when keeping a promise for your child, your spouse, or your best friend. 

Take the promises you make to yourself this year exactly as seriously as you do those promises you make to your loved ones. You’re worth it. 

Photo by Breakingpic.