The new year is a time for new beginnings, which is why so many of us make New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, only 8% of Americans will follow through on those resolutions. So what can you do to make 2015 your year?
Dan Diamond, writing for Forbes, suggests that making smaller, more reasonable resolutions is better than trying to make big—yet vague—changes. He writes, “shooting for the moon can be so psychologically daunting, you end up failing to launch in the first place.”
Instead of resolving to “write more” in 2015, here are eight simple, straightforward goals you can adopt this year.
1. Write Every Day. Prolific blogger and writer Jeff Goins recommends forming a daily writing habit. “If you want to get this writing thing down, you need to start writing every day,” writes Goins. “No questions asked, no exceptions made. After all, this isn’t a hobby we’re talking about; it’s a discipline.”
2. Set a Daily or Weekly Goal. Dust off that work in progress and start making some headway! Rather than setting a time-based goal (e.g., writing for five hours a week), try setting a word count goal. Don’t set the bar too high; novelist Justine Larbalestier has a daily goal of just 300 words. Although she often writes three times as much, she never writes less.
3. Read More. Most professionals will tell aspiring writers to read widely across many different genres. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot,” advised Stephen King in his book On Writing. Try setting a goal of reading at least one book a week—and remember, audiobooks count!
4. Find a Critique Partner or Writing Group. Although writing is a mostly solitary activity, you don’t have to do everything alone. Writing groups can provide a wonderful community for inspiration and encouragement, while critique partners are great for one-on-one feedback about your work. Check out meetup.com for writing groups in your area.
5. Start a Blog. Blogging is an excellent way to build a writing habit and raise your online profile. Start a new blog (or resurrect a neglected one) in January. Planning your posts in advance with an editorial calendar can help you stick to a consistent schedule.
6. Submit, Query, or Pitch. Do you have a finished story or even an entire novel gathering dust? What about a great idea for a magazine article that just needs to find the right market? Start getting your work out there! Writer Carol Tice urges everyone to face their fears head-on: “however you approach it, choose not to sit in fear. Instead, act out of love for yourself and your writing talent.” Set a goal of sending out at least one piece per month until someone says yes.
7. Share a Story. When you’re new to writing and publishing, it can all seem very intimidating. If you don’t feel ready to submit your work to a publisher, try getting your feet wet with a story sharing site like Wattpad. Just make sure to proofread thoroughly before you publish anything.
8. Finish What You Start. This is the most difficult resolution to keep—but also the most important. Whether you’re working on a blog post or a full-length book, the key to moving forward as a writer is to finish what you start. If you struggle with reaching the finish line, check out these tips from Psychology Today.
What are your writing resolutions? Share them in the comments, and keep us posted on how you’re doing!