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12 Writing Resolutions to Improve Your Writing and Finish That Project

Sometimes it’s tough to finish a writing project you’ve started. And when the New Year rolls around, life can get in the way even more. It can get to a point where your document gets lost and neglected in its folder, and even if you try to keep writing it, no progress seems to be made.


Thankfully, there’s a solution to that. Some people call them “resolutions” for the new year, but others don’t like that term. Maybe “resolutions” is just too cheesy for you. 


I’ll stick to calling them “goals”, as that’s what they are.


Setting yourself goals—New Year or not—is a method that a LOT of writers use. And it’s a method that also WORKS for a lot of writers. Having something to work towards other than just “complete my book” is a useful strategy…when done well.


Here are twelve goals you can use for your own writing to keep yourself on track, inspired, and motivated to finish that project.




1. Daily Word Goal

An excellent way to commit to a writing routine is by setting yourself a daily word goal. It encourages you to write every day and to reach that goal. When I did NaNoWriMo, my daily word goal was 1,667 words. Anything more than 900 words is quite ambitious for a long-term daily writing goal, so set yourself something you know is achievable each day. 




2. Monthly Word Goal

Monthly word goals allow you more time and flexibility than daily word goals. They give you 30 days, instead of just 24 hours, to meet your deadline. NaNoWriMo, for example, has a goal of 50,000 words for the month of November. On average, that is 1,667 words daily. Monthly writing goals allow you to write nothing on the busy days, and catch up on the quieter ones (you can also divide that number by 30 for daily goals). Commitment is KEY. Set yourself a monthly writing goal that you can readily commit to, but one you can’t neglect until the night of the 29th.




3. Read More

The best way for you to grow as a writer is to read as often and as much as you can. Where else to get inspiration for a book than…a book? It’s also an excellent way for you to research your competition. Like the previous points, set yourself a reading goal. Whether it’s two books or ten books a month, it doesn’t really matter.  While I’m all for rereading books, it means you’re not really gaining anything new. Consider a different or new genre to what you normally read, and try to refrain from rereading too many titles. You never know what you might be inspired by.




4. Research Your Subject

The moment you publish your novel, you are automatically classified as an expert on the subject matter. This goes not only for nonfiction, but all writing genres, including fantasy and science fiction. Even if your story is about a magical elven forest of century-old trees, study the nature and history of it. You never know when a dendrochronologist may be reading.




5. Research Your Competition

As much as you’re researching your subject, so you must be researching your competition. There are bound to be a countless number of novels already in your genre—and likely some pretty successful ones, too. Research the genre and also read the competition yourself (this will also help you on your reading goal). What pattern do you see in the best ones? How can you make your story unique while following that pattern?




6. Focus on Your Writing, Ignore that Email

They say one of the (many!) enemies of writers is the humble email. And I can testify to that! Set aside time for yourself each day where all you do is write and force yourself to avoid your emails. Turn off notifications. Don’t even have the tab open. Once that time is over, you can have free rein to reply to as many emails as you like. No email could ever be so urgent that it can’t wait an hour or so. It if was, the sender would’ve given you a phone call instead.




7. Share Your Work

It’s terrifying when you submit your writing for others to read. Your stomach plummets and you think “What have I done?” when you click ‘send’. But sharing your work is essential in writing. You need those extra pairs of eyes to read your story while you’re at your post-writing therapy appointment. Receiving feedback and criticism for your creation can be gut-wrenching, but it is a vital process for all writers and their work. At the same time, sharing what you’ve written can also be super encouraging. Joining an online writing community (such as the Young Writer’s Workshop) or surrounding yourself with fellow writers with the same passion as yours is an incredible thing.




8. Get an Editor

Editors are people whom writers love to hate and hate to love. Editors, among writers, are notoriously known as the ego-burners who love to obliterate all the “best parts” in your work. In other words, writers and editors are best friends who can’t go without each other. Consider having someone to read your work and make the adjustments you couldn’t bear to do yourself. They don’t need to have any fancy editing accreditation—anyone who has a knack for grammar can be enough for now. Killing your darlings is tough, but what you gain from it is invaluable.




9. Write Your Way

They say writing is all about the audience. In truth, it is actually all about the writer expressing his or her imagination. Each writer has a unique and special writing process, so write in a way that comes naturally for you. Whether it’s in a notebook with many crossed out words or on Google Docs with neat formatting, find whatever  approach is best for you as the writer. Don’t fear being messy with what you write—do it your way.




10. Try Something New

Try something new with your writing. If you’re a pantser, this might look like outlining a bit, and vice versa. You might take up notebooking instead of just typing everything out. Or perhaps you might try out writing a different genre. The more new things you try the more you’ll find yourself developing your niche. 




11. Record All Your Ideas

A writer’s most trusty friend is his notebook. I’m sure all writers can agree you can’t ever go wrong with notebooks. They’re very handy for basically everything: story drafts, taking notes, sudden inspiration, drawing crocodiles… basically everything a writer may need. I, for one, always carry a pen on me. Having a notebook or something to keep your ideas in is very useful as a writer; you never know what story could form from them.




12. Tell People About Your Writing

You want to tell as many people as you can about your latest writing project. Once it has been published, your audience will finally have the moment they’ve been waiting for. This is an ideal method to gain initial traffic. Consider even having advance readers for your novel, as they help increase the public anticipation for your upcoming work.




Improve Your Writing and Finish that Project

And there we have it! Twelve goals and tips for you as a writer to make a point of accomplishing. Realistically, the only significance of the 1st of January is that we switch our calendars back to repeat the endless twelve-month cycle. What’s to say you can’t make a change to your writing habits right now, or in August, even? 


The one (and only) thing that will bring you to success is not setting yourself these goals on the 1st of January. It’s perseverance. Don’t give up when it gets inconvenient and vow to “try again next year”. Instead, keep writing, even when it gets messy. That’s what makes writing so much fun.


 


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