How to Make a Writing Resolution You’ll Finally Keep

New Year's Eve, Sydney, Australia
New Year’s Eve, Sydney Harbor, Australia

Happy 2015! Have you broken all your New Year’s resolutions yet?

Did you make any writing resolutions? Did you resolve to write more frequently? To send your moldering manuscript to publishers? To join a writer’s group? To take a writing course? To start that blog? Guess where I came up with those ideas? Heh heh.

Only 8% of people keep their New Year’s resolutions, says health and policy writer Dan Diamond. In Forbes, he cites research from the University of Scranton that suggests most of us fail because we make promises that are all-but-impossible to keep, like that of the mother of four who teaches school, but resolves to write for six hours a day. 

Diamond says a resolution is more likely to be successful if you do 4 things:

  1. Keep it simple; set an attainable goal—for example, writing a short story or a novel chapter—and work toward it one day at a time.
  2. Make it tangible—for example, specify that you’ll write for one hour, or two pages, three mornings a week.
  3. Make it obvious—post a chart of your progress where you’ll see it often.
  4. Keep believing you can do it—write encouraging quotations from authors on Post-it notes and stick them around the house, at work and in the car to keep your spirits up.

So here’s my challenge to you:

  1. Make one writing resolution for 2015. Write it down.
    • Mine is to send my children’s book to more publishers/agents.
  2. Keep it simple. Simplify your statement.
    • My simple goal is to send my book to 5 publishers/agents a week.
  3. Make it tangible. Make your statement specific.
    • I’m specifying that I will research suitable publishers/agents, write query letters and email them.
  4. Make it obvious. Find several appropriate quotations and write them on Post-its.
    • Here are a few of the encouraging quotations I’ll stick around my house and car:

“I finished my first book seventy-six years ago. I offered it to every publisher on the English-speaking earth I had ever heard of. Their refusals were unanimous: and it did not get into print until, fifty years later; publishers would publish anything that had my name on it.”     ―George Bernard Shaw

“Publishing a book is like stuffing a note into a bottle and hurling it into the sea. Some bottles drown, some come safe to land, where the notes are read and then possibly cherished, or else misinterpreted, or else understood all too well by those who hate the message. You never know who your readers might be.”     ―Margaret Atwood

“Persistence can look a lot like stupid.”     ―Kristen Lamb

“Nobody told me how hard it was going to be to get published. I wrote four novels that nobody wanted, sent them out all over, collected hundreds and hundreds of rejection slips.”     —Jerry Spinelli

Really commit—list your resolution in the comments below. Keep our readers apprised of how you do.

Good luck! Hope you write something amazing this year!

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