As we turn the page to another year and shake off the late night festivities, it’s time to look ahead to your goals, large and small, for the new year. Besides the perennial lose weight, go to the gym and save the world resolutions, make this the year you break out as a writer. Make room in your life for what you have on your heart. Make room for these writing resolutions this year.

Make a writing schedule

Like making a doctor’s appointment or picking your kids up from school, scheduling time for writing ensures, or at least makes room for writing. You aren’t making it the gym if you only went when you felt like it. The same goes for writing. Something always comes up to steal time unless you hold it captive under lock and key. Whether you write during your morning coffee break, get up an hour early, hunker down late at night or barricade yourself on a weekend, put it on the calendar and make it your sacred time and space. Let those around you know your writing goals and that your writing time is non-negotiable. I know the last part was the hardest part for me, but when it was clear to my family how important writing was to me and my goals, they respected my time and usher me off without a word (almost).

Hold your writing time captive so no on steals it from you. #amwriting #writing Click To Tweet

Explore your writing goals

What do you want to accomplish this year in terms of writing? Do you want to finish a manuscript, publish a book, publish 100 blog posts or something else? Make a plan for the year or the first 6 months and plot out word count, blog count or some other quantitative goal. Break you goal down into manageable chunks and give yourself mile-markers during the year. If you want to write a 50,000-word manuscript, that’s approximately 1000 words a week. If you scheduled 4 writing days a week, you need to write 250 words per day. That’s manageable. You can definitely do that. Look at the big picture and work down to the little steps. You don’t need to write a book today. You just need to write a little morsel.

Make a plan for writing

How many times have you sat at the computer and thought, what am going to write today? If it takes you a while to get going, you aren’t alone. Writer’s block, or its insidious cousin procrastination, can stop your momentum and cause you to abandon the plan. Many times, our detours can be averted with advanced planning. It’s great to know that you need to write 250 words today, but only if you know what to write.

If you are a blogger, set one day aside to create a content calendar. With your goals in mind, decide what to offer your readers and when. There may be changes along the way, but you have an overall idea of how to reach your readers in a way that’s not random and haphazard. Then, each week or month, outline each blog post and do a little background research while gathering links, so when you sit down to write, all you need to do is write.

If you are writing a book, you may follow the same road map using your book outline to guide you. As you fill out your outline to include subheadings and bullet points, use the opportunity to create a book and a blog post simultaneously. Each week, pull a section of the outline and separate it into blog posts, filling in details prior to writing each week. As you go through each week, you’ll have a completed chapter and a couple of blog posts. Once written, twice served.

Network with other writers and readers

It’s lonely out there. You work hard on your writing and it’s harder when no one seems to notice. Make this the year you network with fellow writers, fellow readers, potential clients and customers. Read and comment on other blogs. Join groups on Facebook  and LinkedIn and really become a part of the group. Don’t just post your stuff. Listen. Encourage. Tell people how much you enjoyed, learned or laughed at what they shared. Go to business networking events or writers’ Meetups. Listen and you will be heard.

Don't talk at people. Network with other writers and readers to make real connections.… Click To Tweet

Learn the craft of writing

There are writers and then there are writers that readers are drawn to. You’ve read those books. You know from the first sentence you want to devour every page. Great writing doesn’t just happen. Great writers learn the craft of writing. They read. A lot. Read books in your genre and books from the best writers on any subject. Subscribe to magazines like Writer’s Digest and The Writer with a laptop by your side for taking notes. Take a class at a local college or arts organization. Then, pack your personal library with books on the craft of writing from the best of the best like:

On Writing Well, William Zissner

On Writing, Stephen King

Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg

Bird By Bird, Anne Lamott

The Elements of Style, William Strunk and E.B. White

There is no quick way to writing better except to keep learning and keep writing. Set a goal to learn something new each week. By the end of the year, you WILL be better at the craft.

There is no quick way to writing better except to keep learning and keep writing. #writing… Click To Tweet

Learn the business of writing

For many of us, as much as we love the act of writing, the tapping of the keyboard, the pot of steaming coffee and the pouring out of thought and emotion, we strive to make a living (or some money) by writing. Whether you are a blogger, novelist, business professional or poet, knowing the business side of writing affords you the opportunity to find markets for your writing, increase sales of your book or increase your business income because you wrote a book.

Set a goal to learn more about the business side of writing this year. Explore how to monetize your blog, get speaking engagements, use a book giveaway to increase sales, maximize your book launch among many, many other opportunities. Subscribe to blogs that can help you make the most of work you are already doing. Start with these sites:

The Happy Self-Publisher (that’s me!)

Where Writers Win

The Creative Penn

Mostly Blogging

Goins, Writer

Seth Godin

These sites are filled with practical information and writing inspiration to keep you motivated and on track this year.

Set a publication date

You’ve been thinking about writing a book or maybe you’ve already started. Set a publication date. Not just in your head. Write the name of your book and the publication date (month or season, like Fall 2016) into the bio on your website and on all of your social media channels. Tell your friends and family and anyone that will listen that this is the year your book WILL be published.

You don’t have to go it alone. Get hooked up with local critique groups or online writing groups to help perfect your work. Find a writing partner to share the ups and downs of the writing journey. Or, seek out the help of a writing or publishing coach to help guide you to publication.

You can do this! Let’s make this year the year to stand in your greatness!

What are your plans?