Monday, December 30, 2013

# On Writing # Post

6 New Year's Resolutions to Make You a Better Writer

It’s that time when we get motivated to make changes for the coming year. I’ve heard lots of talk from friends who are making resolutions to get in shape, save more money, spend more time with family, etc. All are worthy goals. In addition, allow me to suggest some resolutions to help further your writing goals in the year ahead.

1.     Call yourself a writer—whether you’re already published or not.

I was sheepish about referring to myself as a writer early on, at first because I wasn’t published, and later because I still had a regular job. (And still do.) A mentor pointed out it was important to identify as a writer so that I would start thinking of myself as one. I began taking my career more seriously when I started acting as if I already had one. I became more productive and goal oriented, and before long, I’d created a self-fulfilling prophecy. So don’t hide your author light under a bushel—shine it from the rooftop!

2.    Finish writing that book (or X number of books), no matter what

Whether your first manuscript is buried under old bills on your desk or you have a whole series already in progress, finding time to finish what you start is no easy task. Set a goal to finish that book/books and vow that nothing will stop you. Then make sure nothing does.


3.    Create or make over your writing haven

Determine to make this the year that you finally get your writing space tricked out. The fresh energy will do wonders for your creativity! If you lack time, space, or resources to do it all in one fell swoop, don’t let that stop you from getting started. If it takes the entire year and you wind up with only a tiny corner, so be it! As long as your space is functional, fun, and inspirational, you’ll be in better artistic shape.

4.   Create or overhaul a writing schedule—and stick to it

We writers quite often fall into the trap of putting words on paper when the mood strikes or spare time hits, but since these times can be few and far between, we have to lend ourselves a hand. Don’t put off writing another minute! Vow to start, modify, or get back on a writing schedule. (No idea how? Check out my series on The Writing Schedule You Need Right Now.)

5.    Read more.

Bestseller Stephen King says in his book On Writing that, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” It can be darn hard to juggle work, writing, family obligations, school, and reading, but it’s vital that we spend some of our time soaking up literature rather than just trying to squeeze it out. If we don’t, the sponge eventually runs dry.

6.   Try one new way of connecting with readers and/or other writers.

Start a blog. Join a writing group. Sign up for a conference. Run contests. Try a social media network you’ve shied away from. Pick at least one thing you will do to reach out and engage readers and fellow writers. For this next year, I’m looking into forming a street team.


Whatever resolution(s) you choose for improving your writing, set up a reminder notification for it on your calendar once a month. That will serve as a way to check in and ask yourself how you’re doing. You can get back on track if you’ve fallen astray, or maybe nudge the bar a bit higher if you’re doing well and feel ready for a challenge. This time next year, you’ll be that much farther on the road to your personal definition of writing success. 

What are your writing resolutions? Happy New Year!

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J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night. Connect with her on Twitter or Facebook. She loves talking to people!

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