How to Make New Year’s Writing Resolutions | NY Book Editors
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Tips to Make Your New Year's Writing Resolutions Stick

FEATURED IMAGE New York Book Editors 12 6 2021 Tips to Make Your New Years Writing Resolutions Stick

Need help making and sticking to your New Year’s writing resolutions? This is the guide for you.

It's that time of year again. Time to make unrealistic resolutions for the upcoming year and then abandon those commitments by the middle of January. But that cycle stops today.

Move over, bright-eyed optimism. Let’s create an actual plan of action for the upcoming year. By implementing the following strategies, you’ll guarantee a successful year. Let’s smash those writing goals. Here’s how:

New Year’s Writing Resolutions

Do Something Different

Your first step is to attempt something different than you’ve tried before. Don’t bring your last year’s resolution (that didn’t work) into the new year. Instead, tweak it in some way or completely switch up your writing goal.

Why change your goal?

With a new mission in front of you, you’ll get the initial boost of excitement and hopefulness. Plus, you won’t have to deal with a negative voice in the background telling you that you’ve already tried this and it doesn’t work.

Make It Specific

While excitement and hopefulness are great motivators, they won’t help you succeed. To ensure that you meet your goals by this time next year, you must implement this next step:

Make your resolution specific.

We’ve all heard people say, “I want to write a book this year.” Nope. That’s not specific.

Instead, a better resolution is to say, “I will write a book about…”

Notice two things about the second resolution. First, the shift from “want” to “will.” That matters because it adds bite to your goal and holds you accountable. Second, it gets specific. It prompts you to say what you’ll write about. It takes it from the dreamy and romantic idea of writing a book and into the planning phase, even if it’s just the start.

Make It Realistic

The next step is one of the most important. Make sure that your writing resolution is doable.

I’ll call myself out on this one. I can be unrealistic when it comes to setting writing goals. One year, I gleefully declared that I’d write six books by December. When the deadline came, I had only written four chapters. Of book one.

Oh, the shame and defeat! But I also learned a valuable lesson: make your writing resolution realistic. If it’s not something that you can easily do, don’t attempt it. Yes, it should be easy. Accomplishing your writing resolution should never require blood, sweat, tears, and screaming through clenched teeth. Let’s leave that for the gym. Instead, your writing goal should be something that you want to do and that brings you pleasure as you’re doing it.

So, get real with yourself, and ensure that your goal is possible to accomplish with what you have on January 1.

Success doesn’t mean that you’ve never encountered roadblocks. It means that you don’t allow those roadblocks to stop you.

Create an Action Plan

After verifying that your goal is practical and possible, it’s time to create an action plan for accomplishing it.

Notice that I'm switching the language from “resolution” to “goal.” A resolution is a decision. But you need to do more than decide to be successful. You also need to set an action plan, like you would for accomplishing a goal.

You know your destination. Now create a map to get there, listing the steps that will get you to your goal.

For example, if my plan was to write a novel in a year, here are the basic steps I'd include:

  • Brainstorm (identify the genre and main story idea)

  • Outline story

  • Create character arcs

  • Flesh out characters

  • Write chapters (with specific deadlines for each)

  • Revise draft

Give Yourself a Deadline

The next step in making new year’s writing goals that stick is to attach a deadline to them.

As a creative, you want to go with the flow and write when inspired. But that will not make you successful. A deadline is a necessary evil that will push you to write and accomplish your goals.

By the way, writing when you don’t feel like it won’t dilute the quality of your content. After you push past those first five minutes of dread, you’ll eventually find your rhythm.

Creating a deadline is non-negotiable. You must do this if you want to be successful with your writing resolution. But don’t just slap a generic deadline of December 31. That’s too easy. Instead, here’s what you do:

Build It Milestones

Milestones are specific progress points added to your timeline. Your end goal may be to write a novel by December 31, but that deadline gives you too much wiggle room at the beginning of the year.

Instead, assign deadlines to every step in your action plan. Each deadline becomes a milestone in your journey to accomplishing your ultimate goal.

Milestones are bite-sized goals. Adding milestones makes the process less intimidating and more achievable. Instead of “writing a novel,” you’re outlining a novel this week or writing chapter one this month. That mind trick reduces the overwhelmingness of a writing goal.

New Year’s Writing Resolutions

Partner Up

Who said you have to attack your writing goals by yourself? One of the best ways to find success is by partnering up with another writer. You can work together on a project, or you can simply share a common writing goal and keep each other accountable.

When you’re accountable to another individual, you’re more likely to stick to your plans.

To be successful, check frequently with your accountability partner. Add check-ins to your calendar so that they become a priority. Otherwise, life will get in the way and you won’t remain accountable.

Having a writing partner will also ensure that you have realistic writing goals, as long as you vow to be honest with each other. If I had a writing partner that year when I decided to write six books, they would’ve told me that I was being unrealistic. And we all need a dose of reality. It will help us make more grounded and practical goals.

Don’t know any writers personally? Now’s the perfect time to join a writer’s group. There are tons of active writing communities online. Sign up, introduce yourself, and ask for a partner. It’s that simple.

Here’s a list of writing communities you can join.

Pick Yourself Up

Inevitably, even with the best intentions and carefully laid plans, you’ll still fall off. You’ll miss a day, a week, or even a month. And that derailment may be out of your control. Life can surprise you with a sudden illness or a job loss or some other unforeseen event.

But, you can’t allow that to stop you after you’ve recovered. Hit the “reset” button on your writing resolution and pick up where you left off. Don’t feel sorry for yourself because you got derailed. Channel that energy into your writing. Success doesn’t mean that you’ve never encountered roadblocks. It means that you don’t allow those roadblocks to stop you.

Parting Thoughts

Ever heard that it takes 21 days to make new habits? According to a recent study, it takes, on average, 66 days to create a new routine. Spend the next two months focused on establishing your routine and you’ll set yourself up for success.

Good luck! May you have a happy and productive New Year!

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