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 in on the 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 ushered me off without a word (almost).
[bctt tweet=”Hold your writing time captive, so no one steals it from you. #amwriting #writing”]
Explore your writing goals
What are your writing goals this year? 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 six months and plot out word count, blog count, or some other quantitative goal. Break your 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 four 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 your grand idea. 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 roadmap using your book outline to guide you. As you fill out your outline to include subheadings and bullet points, use the opportunity to write your book and a blog post simultaneously. Each week, pull a section of the outline and separate it into blog posts, filling in details before 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.
[bctt tweet=”Network with other writers and readers to make real connections. Build your platform as you write. #amwriting”]
Learn the craft of writing
There are writers, and then there are writers that readers look to for the best writing. 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.
[bctt tweet=”There is no quick way to better writing except to keep learning and keep writing. #writing #amwriting”]
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 thoughts and emotions, 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 puts you in a position to maximize your opportunities. You’ll have a plan to find markets for your writing, increase sales of your book, and 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!)
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 2018) 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 book coach to help guide you to publication.
And then, PUBLISH YOUR BOOK!
You can do this! Let’s make this year the year to stand in your greatness!
What are your plans?
Is writing a book on your new year’s resolution list?
Get it done easier, faster, and better with Adventures in Writing Nonfiction!