I hope you’re off to a good start on your New Years resolutions, dear writer! I know (from personal experience) that the first few weeks of January are when it’s easiest to run out of steam and bail on our writing resolutions.

 

 
 
That said, I got covered. Keep reading, and you’ll find a comprehensive list of the most common writing resolutions, tips for staying motivated, and some things that might make your writing goals seem less daunting.
 
 
This is ~your~ year. Let’s do this!
 
 
*This post contains affiliate links (find out more here). As always, know that whenever I share a writing app or product in a blog post, it’s because I use it, love it, and think it could benefit you on your writing journey.
 
 
 
 
Click through to learn how to achieve the most common writing resolutions for readers and writers. Find helpful advice and resources that will help you stick to your New Years Resolutions. Writing advice | write a novel | publishing | editing tips | writing goals | procrastination | motivation 
 
 
 

Writing Resolutions: This year, I will write more consistently

 
 
This is probably one of the most common writing resolutions. We all know that in order to be better writers, we need to practice on a consistent basis. Maybe you want to write everyday. Maybe you want to write a certain amount of words per day. Or you learned about the positive benefits that come from having a writing habit and you want to bank in on that. 
 
 
BTW, science has proven that having a writing habit improves our mental and emotional well-being, elevates our creativity, and boosts our vocabulary skills. It also improves our happiness.
 
 
You want that for you. I want that for you, dear writer.
 
 

Pro-Tips:

 
 In order to build a habit, you’ll need to develop your sense of self-discipline. One way to do that, is to use rewards as positive reinforcement for accomplishing a goal. Take a few minutes to brainstorm some small rewards and bigger rewards. Some smaller-scale rewards might be: 15 minutes on social media, watching an episode of a TV show, having a piece of chocolate, coloring, playing a video game for a few minutes, reading a good book, etc. Some bigger rewards might be: Buying a new book, giving yourself a few dollars to spend on something you want, taking a bubble bath, earning a skip day for writing, etc. 
 
 
I’ve found, personally, that if my reward is something I consider a not-so-good-habit, then it helps me (1) work on work on my writing resolutions, and (2) monitor the time I spend on the not-so-great-habit. For example, my social media use is a huge source of procrastination. In order to improve my self-discipline, I make myself work towards my writing resolutions, and once I completely finish that goal, then I reward myself with 15 minutes on social media. This helps me cut back on the time I waste scrolling through status updates and watching my friends stories.  
 
 
One of the bigger rewards I find myself working towards is a “free day” or a “skip day” wherein I give myself time to focus on whatever I want and not worry about my writing resolutions. I know it sound counter-intuitive, but having a free day to myself is a massive motivator for me. I usually earn this type of reward after completing work on my writing goals for a month straight. 
 
 
I find that working towards something for 30 straight days is the perfect length of time to earn a bigger reward. Some people might prefer working on something for two weeks straight. You can use your judgement to determine how much work you want to get done before you think you deserve a bigger-scale reward. You do you.
 

This will help you too:

 
If you’ve read any blogs on productivity, self-care, or creativity, you’ve come across the practice of writing “morning pages.” This book is where morning pages began. The creativity you achieve from this practice makes it worth it for that alone. Never mind all the helpful and uplifting advice about overcoming writer’s block.
 
  

Writing Resolutions: This year, I will be more motivated

 
 
Dude, I hear you on this one. After a long day, it’s soooo easy to sit on the couch and zone out to Netflix. You’ve worked hard all day. If you can manage, pushing through the procrastination and lack of enthusiasm is so worth it in the end. 
 
 
Take a minute and think about something that’s been holding you back—maybe it’s a busy schedule or not knowing what to write about. Then, imagine what it would feel like to bust the ceiling on those limitations, stay true to your writing resolutions, and finally create something you’re proud of. Imagine how you’d improve and thrive as a writer.
 
 

Pro-Tips:

 
 Build a routine for success. Gym trainers tell us that if we want to motivate ourselves to exercise after getting home from work, we should put our gym clothes on before we sit down on the couch. 
 
 
Let’s twist this bit of fitness advice, so we can use it for our writing resolutions. Put your writing notebook in a place you’ll see it first-thing after getting home. If you typically plop down on the couch, put your notebook on your couch. If you head to the kitchen for snacks or coffee, keep your notebook on the kitchen counter. Put it in a place you’ll see it. 
 
 
Another thing to try: Write a list of everything you want to accomplish this year. Again, keep this list in a place you’ll see it. Hang it up on the fridge, or write it on a sticky note and attach it to your computer monitor. Sometimes a little reminder of what we’re working for is the push we need to get started.
 
 

This will help you too:

 
 
This book. I can’t even. After reading this book, I drafted and completed two short stories in record time. The best part? It’s not ~completely~ a book about writing. Rhimes covers everything from building confidence and self-esteem, to fighting writer’s block (she’s the creator, head writer, and executive producer of Grey’s Anatomy and a ton of other awesome things), to finding your tribe of people. This book is the biggest power-up motivator I’ve ever read.
 
 

Writing Resolutions: This year, I will learn and improve my writing skills and creative thinking abilities

 
We can all agree that writing is a skill we learn, right? You get better at writing every time you practice.
 
 
While we all accept that writing deserves practice, I see many people struggle with the idea that thinking is a skill that needs practice as well. Creative thinking takes just as much practice as learning to write does. That’s why, if you think back your school days, you were mostly good at thinking about writing research and persuasive essays. Your brain had practice thinking in that logical way because that’s the type of writing and thinking you did. 
 
 
Creative writing works the same way. The more creative writing you do and the more you retrain yourself to see the creative sparks around you, the easier it will be for your brain to think creatively. It’s just a matter of training your brain to think in a creative way. Easy-peasy. There’s nothing more to it than that.
 
 
 

Pro-Tips:

 
If your writing resolutions are to improve your writing skills and creativity, then you should read more books. Even better, read like a writer. Pick an aspect of your writing that you want more practice in. Say, character development. Go read your favorite book. Take notes on how the author develops characters. What events happen that lead to that author developing her characters? How does she use conflict in a story to show their growth? How does she use that character’s way of talking to clue us in about their personality? What about body language? When does she reveal background information and history about that character?
 
 
Learning writing is great because you have millennia worth of masters you can learn from. It just takes a trip to the library or bookstore. 
 
 
As for improving your creative thinking, pay attention to your surroundings. Keep a notebook full of interesting things you see. Jot down any snippets of conversation you overhear. Pick something you noticed, and write a story about it. I once wrote a short story series by combining the image of the wonky, lightning-struck tree in my backyard and a conversation I overheard between my dad and uncle.
 
 
There are creative sparks all around you. Everywhere. Always.
 
 
The best thing for you to do is to open your mind to the possibility that anything could be an idea for a story. The flickering light in your office building, the misspelled billboard you pass on the highway, the crumpled up to-do list you found on the pavement. There is a story in each of those things.
 
 

This will help you too:

Writing Workouts, by yours truly. *wink, wink* 

 
For real, though.  I created this workbook, and it has helped tons of people work through writer’s block and break their toxic beliefs about writing. It teaches writers how to come up with topics to write about on the fly, increase their observational skills and their ability to see creative sparks for story ideas everywhere, and makes it easy and fun to write. Every. Single. Day. In just 15 minutes a day.
 
 
 
Embrace the brainless activities in your life. Ever notice how your best ideas come when you’re relaxed and not really thinking? Usually, you’re doing dishes, folding clothes, stuck in traffic, on the cusp of falling asleep, or in the shower. If, you’re like me, and your best ideas come to you in the shower, check out Aqua Notes. No lie, they’re awesome. It’s a waterproof paper and pencil that suctions to your shower wall. “No more great ideas down the drain,” indeed.
 
 
 
 

Writing Resolutions: This year, I’ll work on my story

 

You have a great story in you, dear writer. I know it. This is the year you tell it. It’s time to put aside the excuses and fear of jumping in and just get to it. You got this.

 

 

Pro-Tips:

 

Start small. Break one of your writing resolutions down into steps and mini-tasks. If you go in thinking, I have 365 days to write a novel, you’re halfway there to setting yourself up for failure. Start small. You might break down your novel into mini-tasks that look like:

 
  • January: Planning/Brainstorming/Outlining
  • February: Characters/Setting Development
  • March: Themes/Conflict 
  • April: Drafting Act 1
  • May: Drafting Act 2…etc. etc.

 

Each month you build on the small tasks a bit at a time. And before you know it, you’ve accomplished writing something as big as a novel.

 

Another tip: Confide in a friend or family member what writing resolutions you’re working on this year. Ask them to help you. See if they’ll send you a short text message checking in on the progress you’ve made on your writing resolutions once a week. Tell them about your story. Having a second set of ears will help you develop your story and give you encouragement when you feel down.

 

 

This will help you too:

 

There are so many gems in this about embracing your creativity, finding your Muse, and getting to work on your writing. Gilbert spends time talking about her ways of finding creativity, how she overcame writer’s block, and the magic behind creative thinking. This book offers an original twist on the idea of the Muse.

 

 

RELATED: Get Help Writing A Book: What You Need To Know Before You Start

Writing Resolutions: This year, I’ll keep moving forward on my story.

 
 

So, you’ve finished a draft of your story. Now it’s time to move on to the editing and revision stage. Or maybe you’ve double checked your mechanics and grammar. Maybe you’re done tweaking your word choices and fixing plot holes, and your ready to look into publishing. 

 
 

Good on you, dear writer. You’re more than halfway out of the dark. 

 

Pro-Tips:

 

The editing and revision stage is the stage that requires focus and patience. I suggest printing out your writing and reviewing it on paper instead of a computer screen. Even with that, your eyes will still get tired. 

 

I’ve found that the best way to approach this stage of the writing process is to use the Pomodoro Technique. Set a timer for 25 minutes. Work on your revisions. When the timer goes off, take a five minute break. A simple kitchen timer will do. 

 

If you want an app, I like Forest best. It’s basically the Pomodoro Technique. The premise is that you plant virtual “trees” in a set amount of time (10 minutes to 120 minutes) and then once the tree finishes growing, you take a break. It’s cute. 

 

You could also use the Pomodoro Technique while researching and learning about publishing companies or self-publishing. It would be a great way to avoid information overload, stress, and headaches. You research a lead for 25 minutes, and then you’re done. You get a break. 

 
 

This will help you too:

 

The Elements of Style has been giving writers the foundations of grammar and writing rules since 1918. It always manages to rank in the Top 50 most useful books about writing. This book is 46 pages long. 46 pages! It’s short and sweet and gives you everything you need to know about writing in the English language. For real. It’s not an entertaining read—like the other books mentioned on this list—but it is the most necessary one.
 
 
 

Grammarly

 
Grammarly is a writing tool that helps tackle the biggest writing errors we miss when we self-edit. It proofreads for errors in grammar and sentence structure, it checks for plagiarism, and it proposes writing style improvements. Its AI is so smart that it can point out iffy word combinations and make suggestions for word choice improvement. Grammarly covers all the bases in the editing process, which will help you immensely as you revise your novel and prepare to share it.
 
 
 

Reading Resolutions: This year, I’ll read more books.

 
 
You’re a person after my own heart, dear writer. We already talked about how reading can help you improve your writing skills and creative thinking. But maybe you want to read more books, read outside your genre and comfort zone, or diversify your reading by checking out books in translation.
 
 

Pro-Tips:

 
Set aside 20 minutes a day for reading. Read during your lunch break. You want to know when and where I get the bulk of my reading done? On those days when there’s no traffic on my morning commute and I have to wait in my car at the parking lot of the school I work at.
 
 
You don’t need a picturesque, Instagram-worthy location or a fancy sitting room to read. Dude, I get my reading done in my car in a lousy parking lot.
 
 
If it helps take the pressure off to read, know that you don’t need to read 20 minutes in one go. If you’re using the Pomodoro Technique, read during your five minute break. That way you get a rewarding break, work on your writing resolutions, AND you’re also practicing productive procrastination. You’re killing two birds with one stone.
 
 

This will help you too (i.e., some damn-good reading recommendations):

 

If historical, family-generational-epics are your thing, you need to read this one. It follows generations of the same family from a poor village in Korea in the early 1900s to their lives in modern-day Japan. This book has everything I look for in a good book. After reading it for the first time, I immediately went back to the first page to re-read it.

 

 

This thriller/western was a tense read. It follows people in a small town in Texas. The catch? Each person living there is a criminal (or witness) and has had their minds altered to forget the crimes they committed. In typical Thriller-fashion, things pick up in the sleepy town after a suicide and murder. This book is a super good read.

 

 

This is the most beautiful YA book I’ve ever read. I don’t say that lightly. It covers important themes like coming to terms with grief and loss, as well as finding forgiveness and love. It also has a healthy dose of magical realism, and I’m a sucker for that. It follows the children of two rival families as they unravel the damage done in the name of revenge and fight to break a curse that will kill them all.

 

 

This book starts when the mysterious, aging, and reclusive Hollywood star, Evelyn Hugo decides to share her side of the story behind her fame (and scandals). Even more mysterious is her reasoning behind dishing her story to an unknown magazine reporter. If you like stories of Hollywood royalty (think: Judy Garland, Marylin Monroe, Audrey Hepburn), the Golden Age of Hollywood (when studios pretty much owned stars and the rights to their image), and strong female characters, then you’ll love this book.

 

 

RELATED: 3 Amazing Books About Writing You Should Read Right Now 

 

Your turn!

 

That’s all I got. Are you working on a writing resolution that I didn’t mention here? I’d love to hear any advice you have on sticking to your writing resolutions! Tell me about it in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

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