10 Writing Resolutions for the New Year
Do you resolve each year to write more, but your plans invariably fall by the wayside? Check out these tips to help make 2022 a better year for your writing.
Can you relate to the following scenario?
It's New Year's Day and you are pumped up. You are raring to go. You have plans and you're going to stick with them.
The last year was a little rough on your writing. You told yourself you'd finish the novel you finally started, or you vowed to get published more often, or you had put on your schedule to write every single day...and, yet, you didn't quite fulfill those plans. You let other things get in the way of your writing and you, yet again, broke your resolutions to write more effectively and efficiently.
This year, you tell yourself, will be different.
And, yet, you're afraid that you'll fall into the same New Year's Day trap. You fear that your writing plans will once again fail to come to fruition.
If that sounds like you (and--let's be honest--if you're human, it probably does sound like you to some extent), why don't we together decide to make 2022 a difffent story? Let's come up with some real, practical plans to make this next year a more creative, more meaningful, and more productive year for our writing.
As I look into the face of 2022, I want to make my writing a priority. But, on a practical level, I know that I need to have some real, tangible strategies to stick with that plan.
This is what I plan to do.
1) Develop a year-end goal.
I've found that the best way to accomplish goals is to look at them with a wide-angle lens. Start with what you want to accomplish a little bit down the road, and then focus in on the goals you'll need to accomplish along the way. So, come up with a list of writing goals you want to meet by the end of 2o22 and then ask yourself what you'll need to do to meet those goals.
If you have the goal of getting published in a large, national magazine by the end of the year, determine what you need each month (and then each week, and then each day) to meet that goal. If you want to finish your novel, make a plan for what you need to do each day, week, and month to do so.
2) Write everyday.
I used to think that I could be a writer if I spent just one day a week on my writing. Or if I only wrote when I felt the tug of inspiration.
I've learned, though, that I need to write every single day if I'm going to meet my goal of creating quality, meaningful content. That doesn't mean that everyday has to include a long writing session or that I have to write a publishable piece everyday; but, I do need to write something. It may be a short entry in my journal, or a few paragraphs on a story I'm writing. It doesn't have to be a lot...but it should be something.
3) Avoid distractions.
Distractions seem to be unavoidable in our lives today. Online distraction is simply everywhere--from social media, to streaming services, to email--but more traditional distractions (a good book to read, family to spend time with) can also create issues for our writing.
This year I plan to cut down on distractions in tangible ways. They won't get in the way of my everyday writing schedule; they won't veer me off course from my weekly goals; they won't become more important than my writing is. (Note: turn distractions into rewards; when you finish a chapter or complete an assignment, reward yourself with an episode on Netflix or an hour on Twitter.)
4) Let go of perfection.
We often set ourselves up for failure by creating an unhealthy expectation of perfection. When we believe we have to be perfect--in writing, but also in life in general--we never finish the tasks ahead of us or meet the resolutions we make. We also tend to suffer from comparison--the idea that our writing isn't as good as other writers out there.
Writers should always strive for perfection--we want to do our absolute best--but perfection is impossible. Write your story, edit it, let someone else read it (and any other steps you might want to take), but then let it go.
5) Build community.
I want to build stronger bonds with fellow writers in the next year; a community with like-minded folks--people who "get" what it means to be a writer--is so important for my mental well-being, but also provides me with valuable advice and instruction and much-needed encouragement and camaraderie. Find your own community in the new year, either online (here on Vocal, for example) or in-person. Attend a writing workshop, start a writing group, join a critique group; the options are out there.
6) Try something new.
Every year I strive to learn something new. In my non-writing life that may mean that I want to learn how to make homemade pasta; or I may learn more about a particular subject; or I may volunteer for a new-to-me organization. In the writing corner of my life, I strive each year to try something new as well.
While most of my focus will be on the projects most important (and familiar) to me, I also resolve to try something new. Perhaps I'll write poetry, or I'll write in a journal everyday, or I'll write a novella.
7) Finish what I start.
How often do you have big dreams and big plans, and they never get accomplished? That's the whole danger of New Year's resolutions, right? That we resolve to take meangingful steps, but then we give up on them in mere days or weeks. This year, let's resolve to finish what we start.
That resolution is obviously easier said than done, so we need very practical steps to keep track of our tasks and accomplishments. Use a notebook or app to track your work; write down your goals and mark them off when you accomplish them.
8) Get published more.
As a working writer, publication is a goal every new year. This year, I want to expand my publishing credits and (1) get published in places I've already had success and (2) get published in new-to-me publications.
To increase my publication rates, I need to in turn do a few other things in the new year: spend more time on finding markets, come up with quality marketable ideas, write query letters every week, and develop relationships with editors. Those tasks will be put on my calendar and I'll then keep track of my publishing efforts.
9) Share with others.
One thing I love about Vocal is that it provides me with an opportunity to share my writing with others in an easy, accessible manner. I can share links to my stories via email and through all of my social media platforms.
This year I want to share more of my writing with others--because I believe my writing is worth it. I believe that my writing has something to say and that it can be meaningful to others.
10) Be real.
Authenticity is an important word for me in 2022. I want to be true to myself, to my experiences, and to my beliefs. I want to provide an honest portrayal of my life, and all of its joys and struggles.
This sense of authenticity needs to shine through in my writing, and this year I resolve to be more real in my writing. I'll write in an authentic voice about things that matter to me.
If the past two years have taught us anything it's that life is filled with challenges. We've experienced challenges unlike any before, and writing has been a lifeline. Writing has forced me to be honest and transparent about the "realness" of life, and it's brought me community, joy, and a sense of accomplishment.
May 2022 bring us more fullness to our writing life. May we take advantage of the opportuniteis presented to us in the 365 days ahead of us. And may our words bring meaning and joy to us and others.