Resolutions for Writers

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.

young African American woman sitting cross-legged on couch, typing on an open laptopWRITING
Well, duh! This is a no-brainer, right?

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 sitting on bench reading a book. Bench surrounded by tall grasses, sun shining, portion of lake visible in background

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.”

Illustration of an e-reader with gold starts in foreground and hand pointing to fourth star

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.

Word cloud with text related to book marketingMaybe 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.

cartoon illustration of girl sitting at a open laptop, face covered with hands, social media icons on back of laptopA 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.

close up of sleepy black and white cat, lying down, front paw extendedWe’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!

Bio box for author, Mae Clair


56 thoughts on “Resolutions for Writers

  1. Pingback: Week In Review – Joan Hall

  2. All very valid resolutions. All very appropriate for this little procrastinator. All probably not going to happen either 🙂
    I WILL hold to the publishing debut novel in 2020 resolution though; aside from wanting to publish before I turn 40 (next year) there’s something poetic and lovely about publishing my first book in 2020. Numerological symmetry and all that 🙂
    Thanks for bringing this to my attention Mae – another kick in the pants I sorely needed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 2020 has the ring of a beautiful number, Jess. I think it would be perfect for your first release, and I look forward to seeing it make its debut in the months ahead. I’m glad I was able to add a kick in the pants! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t have any definite number of words or books to write, but I make myself write every weekday. I only write on weekends when I’m desperate to make a deadline. I’m turning in my sixth book in May and don’t know if or when I’ll have a new contract, so I’ll see what happens before I make any plans for the next book. I just know there’ll be one. I’m a slow reader, but I read every night, so my goal is one book a week, but if it’s a long book, I give myself longer. And I always review a book if I liked it (and I like most of them), but I don’t bother with Amazon anymore. They’ve taken down too many of my reviews, so I go to Goodreads and Bookbub. As for social media, I love twitter and use it for brain breaks when I get tired of writing. And I try to keep a decent schedule of posts on my blog. No resolutions, just habits I try to follow.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you do an amazing job with your books and I have complete faith you will get another contract. You’ve been kicking butt with your Jazzi series!
      I look forward to the day when I retire and can write everyday and then take weekends off. Right now I do the reverse with writing on weekends.

      For a “slow” reader, I would say 1 book a week is pretty speedy, LOL. I average 1-2 a week depending on what else I have going on, so I don’t read much more than you.

      I love Bookbub, but I still post to Amazon (and GR). I wish more authors would embrace BB. I’ve wanted to post a number of reviews there in the last few months and couldn’t because the authors didn’t have an account. I have lost so many reviews for my books on Amazon, but I don’t think I’ve had any I’ve written pulled yet. It makes no sense!

      I think writers use BB a lot. We need to educate readers to use it, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Being able to write full-time is a luxury, and I enjoy it. You will, too, when the day gets here. When I want to leave a review on Bookbub and the author doesn’t have an account, there’s a place you can checkmark when they don’t have a book listed, and they’ll add it. I’ve done it a few times.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I am sooo looking forward to those retirement days of writing! Still years away but creeping closer all the time.

        I had no idea about that option on BookBub. Thanks for sharing. I’m going to see if I can figure out what I’m doing over there and try to add a few!


  4. Great post, Mae:) I agree with all the areas writers need to be in, but sometimes its its overwhelming. I make sure to pull back in those times. So I do vow to do that. Also, my edit has been dragging alone for months. So I will add to set a date for editing. Marketing…ick.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Denise you just summed up the perfect word for marketing—ick. I love it! 🙂
      I agree the whole writing/marketing/social media ball of wax can be overwhelming and it’s important to cut ourselves some slack. Mine comes in the shape of my weekends off, but sometimes even that isn’t enough. It’s so important to find that balance!
      I have my fingers crossed that all goes well for you with your editing. Here’s hoping you nail it!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Enjoyed the post, Mae. This year I will publish a book in the spring and then start a new one in June. I will then write 1000 words a day till the first draft is finished and then do it all again to publish in the spring of 2021. In the meantime I will blog 7 days a week, Tweet out heaven knows how many tweet, and still try to figure out the Amazon ad system. I liked your advice about cutting myself some slack. I’ll really try that this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, you’ve clearly got everything planned out, John. I am in awe (and have always been in awe of your ability to consistently blog 7 days a week).
      The Amazon ad system totally befuddles me. I wish I had your ambition to figure it out—and to have such a concise plan for the future. Cheering you on in all of these goals–including cutting yourself some slack when you need it! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post, Mae. I no longer make New Year’s Resolutions. Instead, I seek out a word for the year – sort of a theme. This year, the word that came to me is “Opportunity.” No, I don’t have a clue what it means, but I’m keeping my eyes open for any and all opportunities that come my way. I do the Goodreads challenge each year and I met my goal this year. I completely agree with Stephen King. I don’t think anyone can be an effective writer if they don’t read. I would love to publish the two books I have written in 2020, but we shall see. The expensive part is the editing and that’s all that stops me in my tracks. It’s hard, if not impossible, to ever recoup the expense and I have no extra dollars laying around. 🙂 So, we shall see. But, I’m open to any and all opportunities!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Opportunity is a great word, Jan, and a positive one. I hope you’re able to make things work for you in 2020 with publishing. It is hard when you have to pay for editing, cover art, and promotion. I’ve going to be looking at that with the two works I have planned for this year. Not sure how it will all pan out, but I’m going to give it a try.
      And congrats on meeting your GR reading challenge. I am all about reading! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree with you on all of these resolutions, Mae. I do better with deadlines also and sign up for box-sets, which force me into getting the story written, lol. For reading, I’ve set a resolution to read at least a chapter or two in the afternoons, as well as bedtime (I miss reading!). For my newsletter, I joined a few reader magnets and built my subscriber list to where there’s a substantial fee each month, so I decided I better make it count! I send out a newsletter twice a month; one to a seperate list of interested reviewers, and one to my full list.
    I’m hoping to publish at least six books this year- we’ll see how it goes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacquie, my jaw dropped when I read this. Six books?!?!? And newsletters twice a month?!?!? I need some of your energy.
      That is absolutely amazing!
      Wishing you all the best with your goals. You’re sure to have a banner year!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I am very good at setting and sticking to deadlines, Mae. I am realistic with them though because I work full time in a demanding corporate job and have two children to see to and a husband who occasionally expects some attention. I am aiming to finish writing A ghost and his gold by end April. I was hoping for end March but that won’t happen as the research is intense and this is my busy work time of year until mid March. I then have to have it developmental edited and re-write half of it [or at least a quarter although this reduces each time – yay!]. I will probably only send it to my publisher in July/August so I only expect to publish this one in Feb/Mar 2021 as I don’t want to publish at Christmas time. I have a new Sir Choc book coming out in June. I also hope to have stories in at least one anthology. I’ll see how that goes.


    • I’m hoping to get back in the deadline habit this year as well, Robbie. I know you are a highly disciplined writer, and I do think that helps when it comes to procution—especially when juggling so many other things as well.
      I agree that Christmas is not a good time to publish, but you’ve set yourself a goal for 2021 and I am sure you’ll stick with it.
      Wishing you all the best with your new Sir Chocolate and submitting to anthologies as well. You’ll have plenty going on in 2020!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. All of your resolutions resound with me. In my 2020 business plan, I vowed to devote less time to social media if you can believe that. I don’t find it producing much, and my blog is my main focus. I want to publish three books this year, and that means I have to write two of them on a timetable. I’m working on it with fingers crossed.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post, Mae! I’m impressed with your reading goals, in particular! Way back BW (Before Writing), I used to read 3 or 4 books a week. Now it’s just the opposite: it might take 3 or 4 weeks to read a book, if I’m not careful. I do read every day, though. I can’t even imagine sitting down to eat lunch without a book propped up in front of me. Nor going to bed without reading for as long as I can stay awake.

    Many of your goals, while laudatory, don’t work for me, I’m afraid. I’m one of those perverse people who balks at deadlines, for instance. And in particular, if I give myself a writing deadline, the only thing “dead” is my brain. Giving myself daily word counts just makes me unhappy, and isn’t good for my writing at all. I get too focused on the ticking clock, when what I prefer is to go hang out with my fictional friends and have a good time taking note of what they’re doing. I find I can write a lot in one day when I do it that way.

    Now when it comes to marketing, I definitely need to institute some changes–like maybe actually DO some this year! I didn’t make a specific resolution, but I have made up my mind that I have to get better at it. I excel at the local level, and love doing talks 2 or 3 times a month on various subjects and meeting my readers face to face. But while that is great for inspiration and spirit-lifting and some nice local sales, it won’t ever produce the kind of sales volume a writer really wants or needs. So, 2020 is the year I develop a (flexible) plan, get more active on Goodreads, set up a BookBub presence, and explore every opportunity on social media that helps me get the word out. Still, I haven’t set a daily list of things that must be accomplished by a certain time. It’s more like gentle suggestions and reminders. Nudges, if you will. That way I can convince myself I’m doing them because I want to, and not because I have to. 😀

    Thanks for an inspirational post, though. Going off now to ponder some of the things you’ve suggested and see if I can gently nudge myself in a few new directions this year. Nothing I HAVE to do, you understand. Just some possibilities. They’re easier for my stubborn ol’ self to accept. 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marcia, I think whatever works for you is what’s best. I lived with deadlines for years and hated them, but this past year was my least productive because I had no deadlines. One of those catch-22 things. I never set a daily word count, but I what I plan to do is give myself a date–must have finished manuscript by (month and date). That’s how I worked before. I want to give it a go with my current WIP and see what happens. Fingers crossed it will keep me working ahead.

      I think you’ll find some of the social outlets you plan to explore are excellent. I really love BookBub and try to check it each day. I don’t use Goodreads other than for logging reviews and participating in challenges but I know there are a lot of groups available you can become involved in. I don’t do a lot locally but am always on the lookout for opportunities. My next one is coming up in April–which reminds me that I have to submit some paperwork to the organizer!

      I’m glad I gave you some nudges to ponder. I’ll be pondering them, too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, you definitely got me thinking. I’m already giving myself a pep talk in preparation for some marketing nudges. But I don’t plan to add any more groups to my schedule (like Goodreads). Too much to do already, but I do need to keep things updated at least. And I think I have BookBub set up right, though I’ve only recommended 2 books so far. Guess whose? I’ll give you a hint. Her initials are MC and her latest book scared me half to death. As soon as I get my review written (another thing I am nudging myself to do more of!), that one will be Book 3. And then I’ll work my way through those of some of my other favorite writers. 😀

        I totally agree that we have to find a way to work that suits who we are as individuals. I think your plan makes perfect sense for you. And only YOU know the things you need to do in order to be productive. Maybe if I hang out with you long enough, I’ll learn to accept a bit more structure, too. There ARE some things that really call for it, though I try to avoid them when I can. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • I saw those awesome reviews on Bookbub. Thank you! It’s a cool site, and I love having my books turn up there (and recommending others). Whenever I read a book, I now make it a habit to post reviews to Amazon, GR, and BB. There’s something extra special about posting them to BB. A kind of glittery spotlight. And I love when I find recommendations for books from authors that I follow.

        And I think no structure is still good structure. You’ve clearly got something that works for you, so stick with it! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I do not make resolutions. I have goals but I do not wait until January 1st to start them. It’s ongoing.
    But, you have a good list of writer resolutions!!! So many important aspects of being a writer and getting your works out there and noticed. For this, social media is definitely a necessary evil 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely a necessary evil. I think the problem comes when we try to be everywhere at once. I can’t find balance when that happens. I’d rather make a bigger splash in 1-2 platforms than a tiny splash in all of them. Of course, if there were more hours int he day, LOL!

      Good for you in keeping your goals ongoing, Tessa. That’s the best way to accomplish things!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. My goal for 2020 is to get my trilogy published (one book written, and book 2 about halway through or maybe a bit more than that). But I haven’t written a word since before Christmas, grrr. I’ve had one virus after another, and now I have a sinus infection. So, I’m focusing my limited energy on getting some SE posts pre-scheduled in case my hip surgery comes up early (highly doubtful, but I want to be prepared). After I have a few posts in ‘the bank’, I’ll get back to the trilogy. Great post with some great suggestions, Mae. I have set deadlines but am finding they’re not working so well for me, lol 🙂

    Reblogged on:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Harmony, you’ve really had it rough with illnesses. I’m sorry to hear you’re now battling a sinus infection after getting past the viruses. Definitely cut yourself some slack and feel better. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on writing either, but I think you’re making great use of your time by pre-scheduling SE posts. I do that too, when the words for my WIP are stuck for one reason or another.

      I’m cheering you on for the release of your trilogy in 2020!

      Thanks for reblogging, too!

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Pingback: Resolutions for Writers | Welcome to Harmony Kent Online

  14. These are great ideas, Mae. I do have a set writing goal this year but my inspiration has suffered over the past month. I need to get back on track to meet those goals. This is my fifth year for the Goodreads challenge, and I’ve met my goal all but one year. (I set low numbers.) I’m striving to get my reviews done ASAP. And don’t forget BookBub!
    As far as marketing and social, I agree about being spread too thin. I also need to get my newsletter back up and running.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good point about BookBub, Joan. I should have included that in my review section. I’m always surfing through the reviews posted there. Also as an author, it’s a huge help when a reader recommends one of my novels.

      Way to go with the GR challenge! As stated above, no number is too low, just what works for you.

      I haven’t written new words in a while (except for the mess I made with NaNo), but I’m starting to get back into the routine of it again. And I need to do the same with my newsletter. My goal is to put one out next month. Fingers crossed I actually manage to pull it off, LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Great post, Mae! My resolutions are usually just things I want to focus on in the new year. In fact, I call them intentions instead of resolutions to take away the pressure that I usually attach to them. Because of my anxiety, it usually focuses on mediation and becoming healthier in mind and body. I’m hoping to write more this year. Well, if I write any, it will probably be more than last year. Lol! We are finishing week two of 2020, and I have barely even made it to the gym. I have a very full (busy) life, so I am nonstop from before dawn to well after dusk. Still, I’m hoping to revise one of my first novels that I never published. Maybe then, my muse will wake herself up out of her slumber. Lol! 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • I like the name “intentions” Yvette. It has a nicer ring over resolutions 🙂

      It sounds like you are crazy busy! Reworking a novel rather than starting from scratch may indeed work better for you given your full day. Then when you absorb writing into your schedule, it will be easier to include a new project. Though who knows—your muse just might just surprise you.

      I’ve started doing yoga again with the new year, but it’s been sporadic.Most especially because my back has starting acting up again. It’s so frustrating when you WANT to do something but hit roadblocks. Here’s hoping we both conquer some “intentions!” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I have two simple resolutions: to write a better book in 2020 than my (unpublished) book of 2019. And to think/speak more positively. I like your resolution to stick to self-imposed deadlines . . . sounds tiger-like. Go get ’em, Mae!

    Liked by 3 people

    • LOL! Maybe I need to adopt the tiger as my spirit animal for 2020 🙂
      Seriously, though, I do want to try to stick with deadlines. As much as I hate them, they make good motivation.

      I like your resolutions, Priscilla. We could all benefit from a positive energy. And I’m looking forward to seeing a release from you. You seem to be a determined writer, so here’s cheering you on with your own tiger-like energy!

      Liked by 1 person

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