market and publish your bookDear Fellow Writer,

Have you made a resolution for the New Year yet?

I’m generally not a fan of resolutions (I prefer to choose a “guiding word” for the year).

But there is power in certain resolutions for writers, especially if you’re committed to a massive goal like writing your own book or setting up a workable author marketing platform.

Here are some of the top resolutions for writers if you’re looking to make the New Year your best writing year yet — or your best year yet on every level.

Top 8 Resolutions for Writers

1) Write what you want to write. Not what you’re told to write. Not what other people think you should write. Not even what you think other people think you should write. Write what you love.

2) Read more. Reading gives most writers inherent pleasure, which makes it hard to think of reading as work. But it is. If you’re a writer, reading is research. Reading is practice. Reading is our form of Continuing Education. It’s easy to tell ourselves we don’t have time to sit cross-legged on the couch and devour a book, especially when we should be writing. But true professionals make the time to stay sharp at their craft. That’s what reading can do for you.

3) Write differently. Have you ever heard of football players doing ballet? Or triathletes at a hot yoga class? They’re using key muscles in new ways, and the result will be better performance at their sport. It’s the same for writers. If fiction is your thing, try your hand at poetry. If copywriting is your day job, write some short stories. Write an interview. A biography. A haiku. Aim for something different that bends (and strengthens) your mind in new ways.

4) Cut an activity out of your schedule and fill it with writing. Do you really need to watch that new reality show every week? Or scroll through Facebook for an hour before bed? Look at your schedule with mindfulness and cut out those activities that don’t bring you long-term benefits. Short-term pleasure is nice, but finishing your book is even nicer.

5) Upgrade your tools. On the subject of saving time, it’s mind-blowing how many minutes you’ll gain throughout your day if you embrace the latest technology. Some of the tools that could help you increase your writing and researching speed are: A faster computer, a second monitor, a comfortable keyboard, a standing desk, a laptop that powers up in seconds, and subscriptions to Internet Cloud Services that make it easy to save your material and access it wherever you are.

6) Try something new that has nothing to do with writing. Your brain grows and strengthens in surprising ways when you do something out of your comfort zone. In turn, this boosts creativity. So go climb a rock wall if you’ve never done it. Take up tennis. Try a pottery class. Volunteer at a nursing home. Paint a picture. Whatever it is, it can’t be writing and it shouldn’t be something you’ve done before.

7) Put email in the backseat. Too often, we let email drive our lives. That means we’re constantly reacting to things other people put out there, and we’re not the ones in charge. Commit to staying away from email till noon or later. If your situation doesn’t permit that, at least refrain from opening your inbox until you’ve put in one hour of writing. No email is so urgent it can’t wait an hour. If it were, that person should be phoning you instead.

8) Decide to love marketing. It’ll be a whole lot easier to make your author marketing platform a success if you view marketing as something interesting, that you want to do, that helps you in the long-term. Too often, writers view marketing as a necessary evil. They think it’s painful and tedious, but required so they can do what they love. Self-marketing is vital to a successful book-writing career, but it doesn’t have to be painful or tedious. If you change your mindset and embrace marketing, you’ll enjoy the process a whole lot more. I recommend subscribing to these e-letters for writers who market: AWAI, Bob Bly, and Copyblogger.

Aim for Positive, Not Negative Resolutions

One last tip when it comes to making resolutions for your writing life … or any aspect of your life, really. It’s to focus on behaviors, rather than outcome. Meaning, it’s better to say: “I will write for 20 minutes every day” than it is to say “I will write a 150,000-word book by the end of the year.”

And, frame your writing resolutions in a positive way. So instead of “I will stop procrastinating with my author marketing platform,” say “I will devote three hours each week to my author marketing platform.”

What other resolutions are you making? What’s worked for you in the past?

To success in the New Year,

mindy mchorse, author and copywriter