Now that Christmas is over and 2019 is nearly wrapped up, there's no better time to start planning your goals for 2020! This past year has been full of new experiences for me that have helped me grow so tremendously as a writer that I wanted to share some of them as resolution ideas for other writers. Whether you're just starting out or you're looking to reignite your passion for writing this year, I hope this list gives you some inspiration.
1. Join a local writer's group
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Not only is a writer's group a great place to make friends with like-minded people and pick up a few new tips and tricks, it's a great way to get out of your own little writing bubble. Writing can be a very solitary endeavor and it's nice to be reminded that we're not alone.
2. Host a live write-in
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Streaming live is a great way to build your confidence when it comes to public speaking. If you're not aware, part of being a successful author includes the occasional speaking event. Whether it's an interview, a conference panel, or if you've really made it big, giving a motivational speech. It's never to early to start prepping for your success!
3. Volunteer for a book reading
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In the same vein as #2, another way to build your confidence in public speaking is to read someone else's words. You can volunteer at a local library or at a school to read for children.
4. Attend a writer's retreat
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Feeling overwhelmed by the rigors of everyday life? Not dedicating as much time to your writing as you would like? Whether you sign up for a sponsored retreat or elect to take yourself on a private DIY getaway, a writer's retreat is a great opportunity to hone in on a specific project and reconnect with your writing passion.
5. Attend a writer's conference
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Writing conferences are perhaps the most immersive experience when it comes to propelling your writing to the next level. Not only do you meet industry professions such as successfully published authors and agents, but it's a great place to network with other writers. These conferences host panels with important insight into craft, publication and industry trends, plus lots of opportunities to share your work and get feedback. If you haven't already, consider 2020 the year to invest in your writing career and attend a writer's conference.
See my tips on how to prep for your first writer's conference.
6. Start a blog if you haven't already
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A great way to start your author platform and cultivate an avid fan base is blogging! If you've always thought about it, but never pulled the trigger, consider this year your blank slate to get started.
7. Host a Twitter challenge
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Not only are these challenges fun, but also a great way to gain followers and build your author brand. If you're not aware, Twitter challenges are usually created by sharing a set of prompts paired with a unique hashtag. Let's say you've put together 30 days of writing-related questions. You'll share the questions ahead of time so the folks who want to play can plan their responses or you can share each prompt daily, if you prefer. These challenges are a great way to build community and give other writers content for their platforms!
8. Write something new!
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Have you always wanted to try your hand at poetry? Or write that screenplay that's been rolling around in your brain for years? Consider 2020 the year to give it a go!
9. Read something new!
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Reading genres you are unfamiliar with a great opportunity to branch out and learn new styles, authors, techniques and plot twists. Who knows, you may even fall in love with one.
10. Master your genre
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Perhaps you've been writing the same genre for years only to discover that it's been awhile since you read the latest bestseller. A good way to gauge your mastery in your chosen genre is to try and name 5 published authors in your genre right now. Or better yet, name 5 books in your genre that have been published in the last two years. If you can't, you might consider using this year to roll up your sleeves and do some research. Regardless of whether you're published or soon-to-be published, this information will come in handy.
11. Start tracking your word count
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If you're not already a word-count tracker, this is a productivity hack I picked up during NaNoWriMo. Tracking your word count consistently is a great way to speed up your writing and gradually start producing more in your regularly allotted writing time.
12. Attempt NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)
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And speaking of NaNoWrimo, if you've never participated in National Novel Writing Month, 2020 is a great year to give it a go! If you're not familiar, NaNoWriMo is a challenge that takes place every November when writers attempt to write the rough draft of a novel, or 50,000 words. If you've never completed a rough draft, you're looking to speed up your writing, or you just love writing, give it a try!
If you're looking for something a bit more low-key, try Camp NaNoWriMo in April or July! Check out my previous blog post to learn more about it.
13. Start a podcast
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This resolution hits multiple checkboxes including growing your author platform and gaining confidence in your public speaking ability. Podcasts are so trendy right now and perfect for the camera-shy writer who still wants to push themselves out of their comfort zone.
14. Form a daily writing habit
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If you're not a daily writer, or if you've been feeling a little sluggish in your writing, you might consider creating a daily writing habit. This is a great way to flex your writing muscles at a specific time each day and get your brain used to producing words at will. If you've ever sat in your chair and considered pounding your head against your desk rather than stare at the blank screen any longer, this is the resolution for you!
15. Make 3 new writer friends
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It's funny how sometimes setting a goal attached to a specific number can return much larger rewards than if you'd left the goal vague. This definitely happened to me in 2019 when I'd set out to make 3 new writing buddies. At the beginning of the year, my circle of writer friends had been so small that even making three new ones seemed like a tall order. But at the end of the year I'm amazed at how many remarkable people I met and connected with by just setting the intention back in January and putting myself out there at every opportunity that presented itself. Try it and see for yourself!
16. Sign up for a class or workshop
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A great way to learn new skills or refresh yourself on old ones is to invest in a writing class or workshop. There are also plenty of free ones online!
17. Create a dedicated writing space
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If you're wanting to step up your writing game this year, consider dedicating a special spot in your home to creating words. You might be surprised how, like a reflex, writing in the same spot every day can spark your creativity energy.
18. Find a critique partner
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Perhaps the single-most helpful tool I acquired this year in regards to my writing was a critique partner. Working with a CP can transform your writing in incredible ways. Critique partners are writers who read your work as if they were writing it and offer in-depth feedback and advice. As a third party, they are more removed from your story which gives them the ability to see things that you may not.
19. Have someone else read your work
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Whether it's a critique partner, a beta reader, or a trusted friend, have someone else read your work. Yes, it's going to be nerve-wracking the first time that you do it. But it's so worth it. If you're planning on publishing your book, consider this Step 1. Because being a writer means putting our work out there, to be absorbed and interpreted by readers all over the world. Writing may be a solitary endeavor, but publishing a successful book takes a village. Feedback, feedback, feedback.
20. Let it suck (but get it finished)
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And the last resolution I'll leave you with is this one: let it suck (but get it finished). If you've never finished a rough draft because you can't stop rewriting chapter 5, then this year is a great time to let go of your expectations for the perfect rough draft. Because the truth is that rough drafts are supposed to be bad! Writing is rewriting. It's revising over and over until the words sound right, the pacing flows, and your characters are fully dimensional. So if you're dreaming of the perfect novel in hardback, sitting on your shelf one day, then please do yourself the HUGE favor of letting it suck. At least, for now.