Realistic Writers’ New Year Resolutions

An early blog post? The first of two blog posts this week? Is this a new resolution for 2019? Nope, I’m just jumping on the New Year bandwagon, and this rare occurrence of multiple posts will, like many of the resolutions on this list, be a one-off.

Why? Because resolutions are hard and set so ridiculously high we almost always abandon them. Case in point is the writer resolutions I vow to make every year…

Write Every Day

I work on writing every day now that social media, blogging, and reading are requirements of the modern writer. Do I get to write actual words for new stories? I haven’t done that in two years. Do I get to shuffle around the words when editing the YA series I’ve been working on for the last four? Yes! Do I get to do this every day? No. Because life doesn’t work that way.

  • Expectation: Turning out a chapter every day.
  • Reality: Two sentences, a paragraph, maybe? Hopefully? Please?

Rejections? Oh, Those Don’t Bother Me…

If the New Year is when you plan to query (like me!) you might promise you’ll take any rejections with grace, reminding yourself everyone gets rejected, it’s a badge of honor, a rite of passage, and something you can deal with. Or you’ll cry because your inner-self/heart doesn’t care for the resolve your brain made. Either option is fine.

  • Expectation: Oh, a rejection? Okay, I’ll file it away and move onto the next agent/publisher on the list. When one door closes, a window opens.
  • Reality: Crying. Sobbing. Devouring chocolate. Destroying MS (please don’t ever do this!). Writing a nasty return email (another thing you shouldn’t do). Vowing to stop writing. Crying. Venting publicly on social media (again, not a good idea). Venting privately to a friend (yes, get it out!). Sobbing. Moving onto the next agent/publisher on the list. Hating all doors and windows.

Fewer Editing Passes

When you’ve spent months editing an MS or working your way through more than one WIP, you become a stronger editor. You know what darlings to cut, what words to delete, what repeats to look for. You’re convinced that by the time you get around to a new WIP, you’ll know how to write it so none of those bad habits make it in. No longer will you tell instead of show, every piece of dialogue will be perfect, and all of your descriptions will come alive on the page first go. Or…

You’ll revert to the way you always write because that’s what comes naturally. Yeah, you’ll spend half of the year editing out all the things you shouldn’t have written in the first place, but is there any other way you’d like to spend your time?

  • Expectation: Only one editing pass at the completion of your MS to check for typos because every sentence is perfect.
  • Reality: At least five passes because after the fourth you’re still finding passages of the wrong tense and head hopping.

Set And Crush A Daily Word Count

Aimed for 2,000 words, hit almost 10 whole words instead? Sounds about right.

High word counts for the majority of writers is up there with forsaking junk food and going to the gym; they’re good intentions that don’t pan out past January.

  • Expectation: 2,000 words ticked off the to-do list.
  • Reality: I used the word “tainted” twice, which brings my total up to 23 words!

Remembering Ideas

It happens to every writer; a great idea popping into your head while you’re driving, cooking dinner, cleaning, taking a shower, or seconds from sleep. You’ll vow to remember it. You won’t.

Write the idea down! Type it on your phone. Leave a voicemail. Scribble a note. Send a carrier pigeon. Fill your nightstand/car/bag with all the notepads and pens in the world (which you’ll never find when you need them) and keep track of your ideas.

  • Expectation: That idea is so good I’ll never forget it.
  • Reality: *Five minutes later* What was my idea again?

We make resolutions every year. Some become a habit, some we never do again. You might not be doing any of these resolutions come June (or February). You might try them again the next year, or the year after, and finally nail them five years from now.

Resolutions are never a bad thing to make, just lean into the reality of them rather than high expectations and celebrate whatever ones you manage to keep doing well into December. It might be the one thing that finally helps you finish the MS you made the resolution to finish last year. And the year before that. And the year before that. And the year before that.

Happy New Year!

— K.M. Allan

You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

29 thoughts on “Realistic Writers’ New Year Resolutions

  1. I had to check what day of the week it was when I saw your post – two this week! You’re spoiling us ❤ Great post and great resolutions. Thank you for sharing the honest truth behind them, the expectations are definitely often a far cry from reality. I know I've said it already, but have a great year – I have a good feeling about this one, for you and your story 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ruth Miranda

    only one resolution – and that’s a first, because I never make them !! – which is to SLOW DOWN. I go through life too fast, which is non-sensical, me being an advocate of slow living and what not. But after the crazy work filled year I had, I solemnly swear I will slow down this year. Maybe I will publish one book, maybe I won’t, it don’t matter. I’ll take my time and not fill my days with endless chores and responsibilities and lists of things to do. Hold me to this, please.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing! I like the idea of writing everyday because it doesn’t put too much pressure on you but it’s also super achievable. Even if you just write a paragraph or a poem idea, the little things definitely add up! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for a though-provoking post! I was thinking about resolutions myself, today.

    We need to make resolutions or plans (as I choose to call them because resolutions seldom stick, plans however can stick if planned well) because without plans or goals we just wander around aimlessly. So, if we want to get where we want to get in the end of the year we need a dedicated plan for it.

    Otherwise, if we have no plan, we will be drifting and our course will be dictated by the people around us, our environment and the popular culture, the social norms and beliefs.

    However, setting realistic goals and middle-goals to reach the big goals, is a tough job. I guess we all have trouble being realistic, at least the first years we actually make proper plans, but I believe that’s something we all can get better at. Year after year, I can and will learn how I work best, at what hours, how many words per day, how I deal with rejections and so on, like the other things you mentioned in this post.

    It just requires consistency, new more realistic goal-setting each year, each month, even each week.

    I hope you have a wonderful beginning of 2019! Looking forward to your next post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I find that ideas are a bit like the wind. If you fail to catch some in your sail, well, so what? There’s always gonna be another gust! So for me it’s no biggie if I lose a couple or two dozen ideas. Happy 2019, love! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Incredibly raw and honest. That’s the K.M. I know.

    No matter what the expectations and realities are I know you will continue to strive for excellence. That’s the only way you know how.

    Happy New Year, my taco loving friend. We got this!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great list! I’m borrowing another writer’s query-centric resolution this year: an agent or 100 rejections. We can’t control whether we find that perfect agent but we can send out at least 100 queries! Fingers crossed for us all and Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve seen that goal going around too. Sounds like a good aim. I’m hoping for at least one personal/helpful rejection. I’ve got enough unhelpful generic ones 😅. Good luck with your queries, Rebecca 😊.


  8. Everything seems so fresh and possible at the start of the new year, doesn’t it? I’ve never given myself writing-specific goals but it’s something I’m thinking about now. At the moment, my aim is to enter lots of short story competitions this year – I’m hoping that will be a good way to get back into the writing groove and will help to improve my plotting and story structure skills.

    I hope 2019 is good to you and your words. 🙂


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