Top 10 Resolutions for Writers

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Ready to set some concrete goals for the next year of your writing life? In the spirit of the season, I've outlined some popular resolutions for writers. Pick one or two things you want to feel good about when you look back on this year next January.

1. Consistently Make Time to Write.

Finding time to write is the hardest thing for many writers, but if you're committed to writing a certain amount each day or week or to writing at specific times, you're much more likely to get work done. (This is especially true if you tend to procrastinate. And who doesn't, at least at times?) For me, it's worked best to write every day at the same time. Beyond the fact that it makes me write, my brain gets trained to write at that time and will offer up solutions or ideas more readily than at other times of the day.More »

2. Overcome Your Writer's Block.


Renew your commitment to finding a way to overcome your block, if you have one. Find out what's causing your writing woes, and address it head on, starting with this article on writer's block.More »

3. Complete an Unfinished Work.

Do you have a story or novel sitting around, keeping you from going on to new, more exciting projects? I can attest that unfinished projects are huge energy drains. Make a plan to get through them this year -- you might even write your goals on your calendar. You'll find that you have a renewed energy for your writing once these old projects are off your plate.

4. Read More.


Are there classic novels you've always meant to read, but haven't? Or some genre you think might inform your work in interesting or productive ways? Make a plan. It doesn't have to be too ambitious, but set some modest goals for your reading life this year.More »

5. Keep a Journal.

Though journaling is an art in itself, with its own disciplines and satisfactions, many fiction writers rely on their journals for ideas and details. If nothing else, keeping a journal is a good way to ensure that you're writing consistently.More »

6. Find a Place to Write.


If a lack of space is keeping you from writing, put this at the top of your list. Your resolution might also be to just make your writing space more conducive to your work. Clean up the clutter; surround yourself with things that inspire you. Have a space you look forward to entering.More »

7. Write a Novel.

If you've always wanted to write a novel, but have been afraid to attempt it, make this the year you finally do it. Don't worry if it's good or not, or if it's publishable or not. Just find a story you need to write, that only you can write, and write it. There's something valuable about sticking to something this big, about discovering that you can do it. If nothing else, you'll finally be able to cross this off your list of things to do in life.More »

8. Submit Work.


If you know you're ready to publish, make a realistic goal about the number of magazines you want to submit to, presses you want to query, or contests you want to try, and stick to it. Stay focused on accomplishing your goal, though, and not on the result. Whether you get published or not, you can take satisfaction in meeting your goal.More »

9. Try a New Genre or Art Form.

Screenwriters, playwrights, and poets have a lot to teach fiction writers. You'll find that you take the lessons of that genre back to your fiction. The same applies to other art forms. From photography, you'll learn to pay attention to the visual world, and from acting, to put yourself in the mind of someone else and to pay attention to how people move in space. (If you're already working in several media, your resolution might be to integrate them in the coming year.)

10. Be Easier on Yourself.


Focus on what you do accomplish this year, not on your failures. Writing is hard, and getting published even harder. Beating yourself up doesn't help anything. Reward yourself for having found something that you love this much and for sticking to it.
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