Hello, SEers! You’re with Mae today, and I’ve got a New Year’s question for you—did you make any resolutions? I rarely do. Well, at least not any I take too seriously, but this year I got to thinking about resolutions specifically for writers. Let’s take a look at a few.
Maybe I should rephrase it to say “production.” How prolific are you when it comes to writing? Do you set word count goals? What about deadlines? Do you write better with or without them? Maybe your resolution is to publish x-number of titles this year. That could be a mix of novels, novellas, short reads, poetry, etc. Or maybe you’re determined to release your first book in 2020—awesome!
I’ve found that despite the stress of deadlines, the nasty things work for me. I’m more productive when I have to deliver a finished novel by a pre-determined date. When it comes to writing, my resolution is to stick to self-imposed deadlines. There—I said it. Now I have to own it.
What is your writing resolution for 2020?
Stephen King is fond of pointing out how important it is for writers to read. I happen to agree with Mr. King, and believe reading contributes a great deal to our growth as authors. Still, I know many writers who struggle to find the time to read. Here’s the thing—you don’t have to consume a ton of books, but set a goal for yourself, and resolve to stick with it.
The Goodreads Reading Challenge is a great way to track your progress. I see many readers take the challenge who pledge to read a small amount, some as low as five books for the year. Others are on the opposite end of the spectrum, pledging over 100 reads. There is no right number, only a number that is right for you.
I’ve done the challenge for seven years, and have only met my pledge three of those. The other years, I fell short by anywhere from five to ten books. Each year, I adjust my goal based on results from the previous year. It doesn’t matter how low or how high you set your goal, only that you resolve to stick with it.
This goes without saying. As writers, we KNOW how incredibly important reviews are for our work. That means reviews are ALSO incredibly important for other authors. As writers, we often find ourselves reminding (read: pleading, begging, groveling) readers to leave reviews. We shouldn’t have to do that with our peers. If you read a book, don’t think “I’ll review it later.”
Make a resolution to do it within a set time frame. I post reviews within 24 hours of when I finish a book. Amazon makes it hard enough for authors to collect reviews. I don’t want to contribute to that by delaying or forgetting to review a book I’ve read. There’s no need to write a masterpiece. A few lines and a star rating is all it takes to make an author happy. And now it appears Amazon is even accepting star ratings without the need of writing a review. So if you’re gun-shy, there’s no longer an excuse.
Remember the old school phrase “writing, reading, ‘rithmetic?” We should think “writing, reading, reviewing.” 🙂
I can hear you groaning. I am, too. Seriously, if an author exists who LOVES marketing their work, they’ve learned a secret I haven’t. I think the problems most writers have are two-fold—finding the time and finding what works.
Maybe your resolution for 2020 is to try something new. Or maybe you plan to set aside so many hours during the week devoted strictly to marketing. That might encompass researching various outlets, spending money on an avenue you haven’t before, or launching a new medium.
I fall dreadfully short in putting out a newsletter. In the past, four times a year was considered a good ratio for hitting the inbox of followers. Now, it’s better to produce something monthly. I hear you—who has the time? My resolution is to make an effort. Yeah, I’m probably not going to hit that monthly goal, but four times a year or every other month is better than I’m doing now. Another resolution made.
A double-edged sword for many of us. We love it, but it sucks so much of our time from writing. It would be great if we could manage it better. To that end, maybe your resolution is to find one or two platforms that work best for you and devote your energy there. It might also be that you want to try something new, a platform you haven’t used before, or haven’t used well.
Remember what Bilbo Baggins said in The Lord of the Rings? “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”
I often feel that way about social media. It’s impossible to be everywhere at once. And you shouldn’t have to be. Pick what works best for you and concentrate your energies there.
RESOLVE TO CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK
We’ve got a lot on our plates. Many of us are juggling full-time jobs, families, parents, kids, pets, housework, yardwork, classes, health—the list goes on. There’s nothing wrong with setting resolutions and goals. They give us targets to shoot for, and provide motivation.
But if you fall a little short—if you land among the stars instead of on the moon—cut yourself some slack. Your goals will still be there after some needed down time.
New year, new decade. What do you think? Have you set any resolutions related to writing? Do any of the topics I’ve covered resonate with you? Have you set specific goals related to any of them? Stay a while and chat. A whole new year lies ahead.
Ready, set, go!