7 key writing resolutions for the year ahead

7 key writing resolutions for the year ahead

Writing resolutions, like other goals, are best kept small and easily attainable. Like many timeless stories, resolutions have three parts: First, choosing a goal/idea. Second, planning around said goal. Third, carrying out purposeful actions towards it. Read 7 ideas for reaching your goals this year:

Contents

1. Commit to small, steady targets
2. Create accountability
3. Be kind to yourself about your writing
4. Work on the part of writing you find hardest
5. Structure your writing and process
6. Prioritize your writing resolutions
7. Skip parts that slow you down

1. Commit to small, steady targets

The past year held great uncertainty. Roles and tasks for many were upside-down.

Many parents had to adjust to working from home while also being co-educators. Younger and older writers alike grappled with social and other restrictions, difficult distances, and sadly, for many, heartbreaking loss.

In the midst of uncertainty or grief, steady, small actions that you take in pursuit of goals that matters to you may bring comfort, distraction and a sense of ‘normality’. It’s part of why the gaming industry saw a boom during various lockdowns. Playful challenges are fun. Play is important for creation, adaptability and more. Yet discipline is also hard.

One member in our Draft and Streak Accountability writing group shared their resolution this year was to write 200 words per day.

A small daily word target might not seem much in the moment. Yet a month of meeting this goal would bring you to 6,000 words you didn’t have last month.

Exercise: List of resolutions

List your writing resolutions. Resolution examples could include saying you will:

  • Write every day, even if it’s only 100 words
  • Stop comparing your writing to other writers’ work
  • Find the bravery to share drafted work for critique
  • Work on the areas of writing craft you feel least confident about

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2. Create accountability

You may have had great plans for your writing in the past year.

If they didn’t all come to fruition yet, be kind to yourself. Upheaval and change often disrupt our:

  • focus
  • physical and mental wellbeing
  • motivation
  • faith

Resolve to keep yourself accountable to your idea, your goal, any way that works.

You could:

  • Set alarmed calendar entries for days you have free to write, to remind yourself ‘butt in chair’
  • Join a writing group online and share your word count daily with other members (while encouraging others to do the same)
  • Reward yourself with small presents (they don’t have to cost anything – it could be a walk somewhere you love)
  • Work with a writing coach who will keep checking in while also offering a sounding board for ideas, story conundrums and more

However you keep yourself accountable, try to keep a playful ‘let’s see if I can’ rather than ‘I have to, and it’s a chore’ mindset. Putting pressure on yourself could inhibit rather than build productivity. 

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3. Be kind to yourself about your writing

Many writers doubt their abilities (even prize-winners, speech-givers, and all other kinds of decorated wordsmiths). The more we know, the longer the road ahead looks. 

Resolve to be kind to yourself about your writing this year. Celebrate your gains and learn from the errors and missteps. Get professional editing or ask for critique or other help if you feel like you’re struggling to hold a more objective view.

Don’t say anything to yourself, about yourself, that you wouldn’t dream of saying to anyone else.

Writing resolutions quote - J Hawes | Now Novel

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4. Work on the part of writing you find hardest

If you have a plate of food in front of you, do you finish what you like the most first or do you save the best for last?

In writing, we may be tempted to do all the fun stuff – enjoy all the flavour – upfront. Yet writing is part-fun, part chewing over tough, fibrous problems.

Make a list now of the three things you find hardest to write. It could be character description. It could be dialogue. It could be rollicking action scenes.

Resolve to practice this challenging part first at the start of every writing session, for the next few weeks.

Read articles on the subject and author interviews. Most of all, read writers who you feel are excellent at the area you find tough. Take notes.

Writing resolutions should also be reading resolutions (since we learn by reading attentively).

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5. Structure your writing and your process

Lack of structure could mean you use valuable time later to fix inconsistencies or plot holes.

It’s true that a structured method isn’t for everyone. Some Now Novel members, for example, find outlining tools more helpful than others:

After purchasing The Process, I was able to completely outline my first novel in a matter of weeks, all 25 chapters!

Member Eric’s testimonial

Others, however, prefer not to outline plot ideas, characters and other elements, or struggle to find tools matching their ideal process.

One of the advantages of outlining characters, scene ideas and individual plot points is that it holds more doors open.

When you have the bare bones of your story to refer back to in the form of an outline, you’re freer to move said bones around as you explore other options.

Writing resolutions infographic | Now Novel

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6. Prioritize your writing resolutions

Remember the three acts of getting from start to finish: Goal/idea; plan; realization.

There can be no realization without prioritization.

It’s a big word for a small but important concept: ‘the action or process of deciding the relative importance or urgency of a thing’.

Resolving to write 200 words per day? Make this a priority. Often aspiring authors say ‘I don’t have time’, yet as humans we so often make time for less vital activities, such as ‘doomscrolling’ news articles.

Take time for what gives you joy this year.

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7. Skip parts that slow you down

This is good advice author Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn shares here.

Even if your final novel will have a linear plot, you can piece it together any way you like. Resolve to work with more freedom but remember to note down unresolved plot points (as Penn advises) so that you don’t have accidental plot holes and inconsistencies.

What are your writing resolutions for this year? Please share them in the comments!

2 Replies to “7 key writing resolutions for the year ahead”

  1. My writing resolutions this year are,
    1- establish a daily time to write.
    2. establish a daily place to write.

    When I accomplish these two goals I will then from this new stage be able to see what is next.

    1. Thank you for sharing your resolutions, Stanley! Have you found a time and place? I find early morning in a small room at the back of the house that just has a desk and books and no distractions is best, myself.

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