Do you make New Year’s writing resolutions? If you are like me, you have goals, dreams, and plans for next year. I encourage you to write down these resolutions. You want to make them specific actions so you can hold yourself accountable for carrying them out.
Over 25 years ago, I wrote a diet book with Carole Lewis called First Place. I had to complete the manuscript in 11 days. I took such a crazy writing deadline because the publisher was determined to have the book inside the bookstores by the beginning of January.
If you look at bestseller lists in January, often several diet books about losing weight will gain that status. In our overweight society, many people resolve to lose some pounds in the New Year. They begin with such great resolve and commitment.
As I write these words in late December, the fitness center in my community was empty—except for my consistent use of it. Closer to the winter holidays, I worked out alone in a room full of equipment. Now, in January, I expect someone will always work out with me. Then the first week of February will arrive, and the crowds will slack off because people’s resolve begins to lessen.
What does that have to do with writing? Writers also set New Year’s writing resolutions only to quickly lose their resolve. But that doesn’t have to happen to you this year.
4 New Year’s Writing Resolutions
To become a proactive writer, I want to suggest several resolutions you actually can keep throughout the months ahead. I encourage you to use these ideas to create your own goals. Make sure you make each one specific, measurable, and action-oriented.
1. Resolve to consistently provide service to potential readers.
As the author, you should take the primary responsibility to market and tell other people about your books. There are dozens of tools and ways to do it. Your method should be one that serves other people (helps them) and doesn’t pound them with “buy me” messages.
The “buy me” message is a turn off to potential readers while service to others is an attraction.
Can you take your book and create a teleseminar or free course or take chapters from your book and turn them into magazine articles or blog posts?
Notice the multiple ways I’m still talking with people about the same product and serving them. How can you create such an effort for your book?
2. Resolve to persevere.
Are you trying to publish something which is getting rejected? You are in good company. Just check out this article from bestselling novelist James Scott Bell called Rejecting Rejection.
Possibly you have not made the right connections to get your work published. Are you consistently submitting your work?
Often when I ask writers about this detail, I find they haven’t been consistently working on getting their book pitch to the right editor at the right time and in the right place.
I don’t believe that I’m a great writer. I work hard to improve my storytelling and writing. I am persistent and preserve. I’m determined to a fault.
Nurture perseverance and persistence in your own life in the weeks and months ahead.
3. Resolve to take better care of yourself.
Over the last few years, I’ve worked hard at getting more consistent sleep, taking daily multiple vitamins, and committing to regular exercise. Also, I attempt to watch my weight and eating patterns. Am I perfect? No, but I continue to consistently work at these elements and build regular habits into my life.
For several years I taught consistently at a writers’ conference. Until I made the commitment to better health, I didn’t know this facility had an exercise room. The last time I attended the conference, I used the room every single day of the event. It is a goal that I’m determined to keep.
Your goal will be different for your lifestyle and situation but do consider this area of your life. If you are like most writers, you forget to focus on health. You are so busy writing that you don’t find time to exercise, sleep, eat well, or think about how to generate the energy necessary to become more productive and successful as a writer.
4. Resolve to learn a new skill, and then practice it repeatedly.
Maybe you want to develop your storytelling skills. Then I suggest you look at different conferences and plan a way to learn from an experienced instructor. Or perhaps you can learn from a how-to book or take an online training. You can even hire a blogging or author coach. I use or have used all of these methods to keep growing in my abilities and skills.
Once you learn a new skill, however, it’s essential to use it. Practice it daily, so you become an expert at it as well.
Many writers resolve to become good at a new skill, like blogging, and manage to complete the educational phase. They then fail to complete the practice phase, which is essential to mastering any skill.
I’m expecting great things will happen in the coming months because I have made New Year’s writing resolutions I can keep. How about you?
Did you make New Year’s writing resolutions you can commit to and keep? Tell me in a comment below.
About the Author
W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor, lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Photo courtesy of dolgachov