I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions – I set goals for the new year. It’s a practice my family and I adopted about 5 years ago. Each New Year’s Day we sit in my parent’s sun room, drink gallons of tea, eat our way through leftovers and create goals for our lives and businesses for the coming year.
I know for some people (YOU!), writing goals are on the list but you may not really know where to start. For 2014, I wanted to give five goals you can set that will help your writing really explode.
1. Blog. Weekly.
Yep, every week post an article or blog post to your blog. Pick at day of the week and stick to it.
You’ll notice that I didn’t say post daily. Or even twice a week! I tried that once and I burned myself out after half a year. It’s HARD writing something meaningful, researched, and new every single day. But a weekly goal – that’s attainable and you can even plan for vacations!
2. Send out your newsletter regularly.
Again, pick a schedule and stick to it! I decided half-way through 2013 that I was going to get serious about mailing my newsletter every week. Since August 5, 2013, I have sent out a newsletter EVERY SINGLE WEEK. Sure, there was a week that it was a day late but there wasn’t a week when I DIDN’T send it out!
Goals 1 & 2 work together to force you to create new content every single week. Even if you know only twenty people read your blog each week or your newsletter list is you, your mom, and your BFF, those people are counting on your content.
3. Find a publication and submit a monthly article.
Commit to writing an article for a magazine, blog, or other publication every month. For me, I write (almost) monthly for “Happier Healthier Women” online magazine. For 2014, I’m committing to one article per month.
It really helps if you can have a recurring monthly column so you’re not scrambling every month to find a publication for your article! Plus you get the added bonus of building your expertise and credibility for a recurring audience.
Again, this forces you to create new content. I recommend just ONE article per month though – you want to keep the main thing the main thing. Don’t chase so many rabbits (regular published columns) that your main writing or business suffers.
4. Write something that scares you.
This could be poetry or fiction or a screenplay. It could be a novel for NaNoWriMo. But at least once in 2014 LEAP out of your comfort zone and write something that is 100% outside of your normal writing style.
My degree is in Creative Writing and my emphasis is in poetry. However, most of my writing is for outdoor recreation and in short fiction. But in 2013, I wrote and illustrated a children’s book! In 2014 I’ll be tackling a novel. Long-fiction is completely out of my comfort zone. In fact, I really prefer non-fiction to fiction! But I know that stretching myself as an author will yield nothing but great results in the rest of my writing.
5. Publish your book.
I talk a LOT about the amazing feeling of holding a book in your hands with your name on the cover. And there’s the OMG feeling the first time your book is sold internationally. Or you get a 5-star review from somebody you don’t know. An email in your inbox with a story about how you touched somebody’s life. A hug from an aspiring author who says you’re her role model because you’ve published a book. The (big!) client that you sign because you’re a published author.
Make 2014 your year for finally getting your book published.
Next week, I’ll be diving into WHAT you can put in your book. Here’s a hint: you may be closer to having your book written than you think!
Happy New Year!