Another year has come and gone. You may have done all that you set out to do this year. And maybe not. In preparing to write in the new year, it’s important to look back on the year behind us and then look forward.

Celebrate your accomplishments

Regardless of what you did or didn’t finish, write down what you did to work toward your goals. This isn’t the time to anguish over unfulfilled dreams or ruminate over the things that got in your way. Celebrate even the smallest of steps. And celebrate even if you made that step last January. Did you research self-publishing? Create an outline or a character sketch? Did you set up a writing Facebook or Instagram page? That’s right. Shout it out!

If you finished a manuscript or published a book, kudos to you. Write a message about how it felt to reach your goal this year. Include the difficult parts of reaching it, whether that was mentally, tactically, or financially. Keep it in an accessible place in case you get stuck on the next project. You may need a reminder of how good it felt to pull you through to the next milestone.

Reflect on the biggest lesson(s) of the year

Part of looking back is finding the golden gems of lessons learned. Again, we’re not looking for criticism but things we learned about ourselves, about writing, publishing, book marketing, or what we want out of it all. It could be that you thought you wanted to be a bestseller, but you really want to be validated as a writer. The travel, the time and money spent advertising, and the social media learning curve all to earn the bestseller label wasn’t the point. Knowing you wrote something people enjoy reading might be the important lesson you learned about yourself. Conversely, the opposite could be true. Validation may not be enough. Now you know you need to push harder to get what you want.

Epic failures are also a great source of lessons learned. Don’t let the setbacks deter you. They are only an indication of what not to do. When you use the wrong word in Wordle, you still have information to help solve the puzzle. Take the best parts of each situation to make the best of the new year.

Of course, you may have simply learned the difference between an em dash, an en dash, and a hyphen. That’s great too! There’s no judgment here.

Resolve to find the best way forward in the new year

This type of resolution is not simply to say, “I’m going to finish writing my book this year.” Use the why, when, how, and who methods of achieving your goals.

Why – I want to finish writing my book because I’ll feel  ________________________________________________________.

When – I will finish writing my book by reaching these milestones throughout the year. X words by ________. X words by _________. X words by __________.

How – I will reach my writing milestones by eliminating these three obstacles: ________________, ________________, _______________.  On Sunday each week, I will reach my writing milestones by scheduling writing these days and times each week on ______________ from _____ to _______, ______________ from _____ to _______, and ______________ from _____ to _______.

Who – I will reach my writing milestones by reaching out to _______________ each week/month to discuss my progress to keep me accountable and excited about my progress. I will reach out to ________________ if I need feedback on my writing to know I’m on the right path.

Other ways to boost your writing goals

Another way to boost your writing in the new year is to consider the bigger picture. How can marketing your book help you even as you are writing it? By sharing your goal of writing and your writing progress with friends and family or on social media, you get others excited about the possibilities for you. By consistently sharing your writing goals, writing process, and accomplishments, you engage readers on your journey. They’ll help motivate you and inspire you to keep going. Plus, you get the added bonus of having readers ready to buy your book once it’s written.

I know that proclaiming yourself a writer can feel hard. But once you proclaim your rightful place at the writer’s table, you’ll have no other choice but to write and live your best writer life.

The end of the year is a perfect time to start the beginning of the next one. Take time to reflect on all that you did, all that you learned, and carve out a path for success going forward.

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