I’m not a big believer in New Year’s Resolutions. I’m more of a goal setter, but the two are definitely closely related. So I thought this year I’d set a resolution or two, then follow-up in the New Year with more specific goals.
So, what kind of resolutions should writers set?
1.) Resolutions that will keep you writing.
I don’t care if you are writing with New York in mind, writing for your own pleasure, or writing to self-publish. The very most important thing you can do as a writer, and often the most difficult to make yourself do is WRITE.
(Writing 10 minutes every day or even 100 words)
2.) Resolutions that will make your writing better.
Strangely, I think this is an easier resolution to set and keep. Taking classes, reading craft books, hiring a copy editor are fun compared to keeping that behind of yours stuck to the chair, but it is also a valuable and completely valid resolution.
(Taking a class, finding a critique partner, or hiring an editor)
3.) Resolutions that help you sell yourself more smartly.
Note the “more smartly.” Not perhaps the most fine-tuned phrase, but it is important. Writers do a lot of things to sell themselves, unfortunately many of those things are not smart uses of time or money. I’ve seen authors throw a couple of thousand dollars away on the front of a magazine cover spot when their books weren’t readily available in stores. (Back in the days where to make any real money you HAD to be in brick and mortar bookstores.) These expensive ad spots may have impressed other writers and made the author in question feel like they had done something to sell themselves/advance their career, but the benefit did not equal the cost, never mind outweigh the cost.
The same is true of many blog tours, tweets and hanging out at Facebook. If the blog you are writing a post for gets 5 visitors a day, writing that post, not to mention promoting that post is not a smart use of your time. Same can be true of Twitter and Facebook—if you are spending hours doing it instead of WRITING.
So, if you pick a resolution that involves selling yourself, make sure it is a smart one. Which doesn’t mean it can’t involve Facebook or Twitter or some other online platform—just keep the cost and time in balance with the payoff. And don’t sacrifice writing!
(Updating your website, joining a promo group, or starting a newsletter)
4.) Resolutions that will keep you happy and healthy.
In order to write, we need balance and that means being both happy and healthy. This is important. Definitely consider resolving to do something to keep you Zen and out of the doc’s for 2012.
(Walking your dogs, eating your vegetables, or reading to your kids.)
5.) Resolutions that will keep you in the “know.”
Things are changing and fast. If you don’t know what is going on, or are living in the past (even the very recent past) you may make a decision that haunts you for years to come. If you tend to be a turtle with your head in your shell, consider resolving to do something that will keep you informed in this new world, or at least protect you from your own tendency to hide out. (Hiring a literary attorney, or reading one industry blog a week)
Those were some examples of the types of resolutions you might choose, and here are some resolutions from writers I know.
“The muse is a fickle broad. Write anyway.” Vella Munn cut her publishing teeth writing category romance and historicals, then moved onto erotica as Vonna Harper, and is currently into epublishing up to her chin.
“I’m resolved to do one bit of writing ‘publicity’ online every day, whether it be a blog post somewhere, an excerpt posted, or dropping in on a loop or a website to post a reply. I had 11 books release in 2011 and I’m taking a serious break from releasing and will focus more on promoting in 2012.” J L Wilson, columnist at The How to Write Shop and author of mystery with a touch of romance.
“My resolution for this year involves my butt. No, not trying to make it smaller (though that would be good!), but just getting it into my computer chair more often. With so much else going on, it’s easy to fill up my writing time with non-writing things. So I resolve to sit down in front of my computer as often as possible. Maybe next year, I’ll add in step 2: Actually write!” Rachel Berens-VanHeest, columnist at The How To Write Shop
As for me, I want to continue to build my newsletter, both at my personal website and here at The How to Write Shop, exercise 30 minutes a day and eat those veggies. I also have to plot out my plan for completing two novels and a new short story—plus at least a couple of more things.
How about you? What do you resolve to do in 2012?
Lori Devoti is the multi-published author of romantic comedy, paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She also writes the Dusty Deals Mystery series under the pen name Rae Davies. Look for her workshops at Write by the Lake (DCS University of Wisconsin), at RWA conferences and meetings, and here at the How To Write Shop. For more information, visit her website.