New Year’s Resolutions 2013: Guide for Writers

Some of us want to write more, and more, and more in 2013. Others would write less, but well. Some of us would like to become famous writers. Yet others would like to hit that jackpot deal with publishers. Many of us would like to win that literary prize or at least see our names in print in that journal that never publishes anyone. Others would just like to go viral no matter what the subject matter.

All good.

English: New Year's Day postcard mailed in 190...
English: New Year’s Day postcard mailed in 1909. It reads: “A New Year’s Resolution / Jan. 1st / Good Resolution / Each resolution that I make / My conscience surely troubles / Because I find they always break / As easy as Soap bubbles” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But when we think through the parts of the big plan, what New Year’s resolutions might be useful?

I. What are my goals? Will I focus on publishing an E-book? Will I work hard at getting a piece traditionally published? By the end of the year, do I want one/ more than one complete book/s done? Do I want to complete several small pieces of writing? Shall I use this year as a stepping stone towards traditional publishing? Shall I streamline my writing towards some group of magazines or journals?

II. How will I prioritize and balance different writing projects? Is writing a hobby for me? Am I working towards some other goal through writing such as a job as a copywriter or freelancer or something else? Am I writing a big project such as a book or shorter pieces for blogs, articles, reviews etc.? If I have several writing related goals, how will I prevent myself from getting obsessed with just the one project and slip-up on the others? [typically, people get sucked into doing the projects that have quicker, short-term returns lagging behind on the big projects]

III. What time of the day will I write? How will I achieve work (writing)-life balance? This is a very important question writers have to ask themselves. Writing is a labour of love for most people. Typically, it does not pay or pay enough to justify its existence. Also, for some people, the writing impetus seems to disappear the moment it’s seen as work, not a hobby. So it’s important to make realistic goals regarding the amount of time one will be able to set aside to write in the day so that disappointment does not lead to drying up of the wellspring of inspiration.

IV. How many words a day? A week? A month? In the whole year? To some of us, deciding on the number of words might seem like the crass intrusion of the quantifiable demands of the outside world into the holy sanctum of the muse’s abode. But unfortunately, writing is a real, not an ideal act. If the number of words does not suit you as a method of measurement of your goals, find a different parameter that suits you– say the number of ideas you wanted to successfully put down as stories/ blogs/ essays–whatever else.

V. Do I have a social resolution? Before those private journal writers, or those ivory tower practitioners, or those bathroom-singer-equivalent-poets turn up their noses at this one, let me tell you that all writing is social. Writing is all about making meaning in a social semiotic system.  No system, no writing. Writing cannot exist meaningfully without others surrounding you.  Do you have a plan for your writing self this year to make a mark within people around?  Do you want to develop a brand? A network? A readership? A group? Do you have any plans for doing that this year?

Whew! That seems like a lot.

Let’s focus on realistic goals this year breaking down the above points in any way it suits us and hope the pot of gold will still be waiting for us at the end of the rainbow even though the multicoloured arc seems rather slippery right now.

English: Two New Year's Resolutions postcards
English: Two New Year’s Resolutions postcards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

©bottledworder, 2012.

41 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolutions 2013: Guide for Writers”

  1. Small goals that build to larger ones always work best for me. A daily word count that I can reach fairly easily, but still requires some work. Then a monthly submission requirement–love my critique groups, because they keep me honest. And humble. And I have my big yearly wordcount goal, which is half again what a wrote this year, because I’m getting better and better at getting my BIC on. And I have a non-timeline goal to publsh with specific publishers, so I watch what they’re buying and what’s coming out, then try to do something that is close but maybe about 45 degrees off. Just enough to be me.


  2. I think keeping goals simple sounds like the best advice. The bright new January calendar page always makes us bite off more than we can chew.


  3. I try to keep my goals simple. I wrote @50,000 new words in 2012 while editing/revising another manuscript. I’d like to surpass that 50K in 2013. Keep us posted on your goals. 🙂


  4. Excellent stuff. Like any art or craft, writing takes work. Show up and do it. Break the big bits into do-able bits, and it’s amazing how much you accomplish.

    Writing is ALWAYS a choice.

    Not writing is ALWAYS a choice.


  5. FOCUS: Are you a writer-do you want to write a book, be a journalist? What are your goals. Find a realistic goal and focus. If it’s a story you have in mind, write a thousand words a day, edit, make sure it’s in good condition and send query letters out to the right editors/publishers,agents. See what happens. You can’t win it-if you’re not in it. Good luck.


  6. Great piece, and thought provoking. Many successful/. professional writers say that they set themselves a daily target of 1000 words. And also that they leave off writing in the middle of a sentence, so that when they go back, they can start straight away instead of waiting for inspiration!
    I’ve found both these tips useful…..


  7. You’ve given a lot to think about this upcoming year. I think for me or any writer consistency; setting times, goals, etc. is paramount. I’m looking forward to more from you in the new year. Happy New Year.


  8. That is so true, how writing is a labor of love for many of us, but if it feels too much like work, the love fades. I have always thought of writing in terms of the pleasure I create out of it, not what I may or may not earn from it.


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