New Year’s Resolutions are about as cliché as it gets, but that’s no reason not to start 2020 off on the right foot. Instead of setting far-out goals that are often hard to keep (like write every single day or finish my lifelong novel), consider setting goals that focus on the approach—not the outcome. With that in mind, let’s get into this list of eight writers’ resolutions you might actually keep.
Meet more writers.
It’s important to put yourself out there, challenge your ideas, and find people you trust to give you feedback on your work. Book readings, open mics, writers’ groups, and online forums are all great ways to meet fellow poets and writers. Do a little research and see what works best for you and your schedule—whether you visit one event each month, post to a forum once a week, or something in-between.
Set a reading goal.
Sometimes, we get so focused on writing that we forget one important thing: to read. Reading poems, short stories and novels from a variety of authors and styles will help you stay sharp and refine your style. Plus, you might find a few new favorites along the way. The amount of time you devote to reading is up to you; remember to focus on enjoying reading (rather than the number of books you read).
In 2020, take the pressure off of your writing practice by giving yourself permission to fail—even on purpose. Remember that not every writing session will produce a Pulitzer prize-winning poem, and that’s okay. Even the most praised authors have had to create some flops. It’s part of the process! Writing poems that don’t quite work out is just as important as writing poems that do. And you never know, maybe a so-called “bad poem,” could one day transform into your greatest work.
Build a recharge regimen.
While it may seem obvious to set goals about writing more, promise yourself a bit of time that’s not about writing. Self-care is an essential part of any healthy writing process. Take a moment to consider what activities help you feel recharged before or after a writing session—whether it’s taking a walk, doodling, painting, seeing friends, meditating, or something else. Make space for that activity by promising yourself a few moments each day, or a few hours each week, to enjoy it.
Restructure your revision process.
There’s no one best way to do your revisions, but its an important step in the process. Take a few moments to reflect on what pain points you encounter when editing your own work, and what parts of the journey you enjoy most. What makes the fun parts so enjoyable for you, and how can you make the not-so-fun parts feel a bit better?
Enter a contest (or two).
Do you have a folder of work collecting digital dust on your desktop? Do you have a tendency to keep your work private? Break out of your shell and put your work out there by entering a few contests! While competition isn’t everything, it can be a great motivator for getting your edits done, improving your work, and getting feedback from fellow writers.
Back up your data.
Sure, this isn’t the sexiest resolution around, but future you will appreciate it. Take a few moments either once a week or once a month to back up your work on a thumb drive, external hard drive, or cloud-based storage option. Even printed or handwritten hard copies will work if you’re not a fan of the digital space. Take the time to protect and care for your work and your past effort by preserving it somewhere safe.
Call yourself a writer.
What are you waiting for? If you write, the title is yours! There is no special point at which you transform from an aspiring writer to a proper one. Writing is a journey. Success is subjective. Keep your focus on the process, not the product. Every time you practice writing, you improve your ability to share your point of view, communicate your ideas, and connect with others. And that’s always a victory.