A new year is on the horizon. Despite the relaxation of the holiday season, we can all feel that subtle get-up-and-go energy that comes with the prospect of a new year. It’s another chance to succeed where we may have fallen short with new year’s resolutions
If you’re an aspiring author, you’re likely thinking of writing resolutions to commit to for the new year. Allow Bookstr to assist you in that regard. Here are 5 sample New Year’s Resolutions to help you achieve your writing goals in 2022.
You’ve probably heard authors like Stephen King and Nora Roberts yodeling the advice “write every day” off the mountain tops of their literary success. The thing is, it’s a lot easier said than done, as with many lofty goals. Luckily, Brandon Sanderson (everyone’s favorite and down-to-earth fantasy author) suggests a more liberal policy of writing consistently rather than every day. In the first lecture of his 2020 Lecture Series on Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, he stated:
“The single best thing you can do to be a better writer is [to] make good habits for writing consistently. Now, let’s put an Asterix on that…because writing consistently is going to mean a different thing for almost every person.”
“For some writers, writing consistently means working on their outline every day for 8 months and then spending 4 months working twelve-hour days on their book, completely binge-writing it and being done. I know people that, that is their way of working and every year that’s what they do.”
“I know other people, who are more like myself, that get up and they write two to three thousand words every day. I do it in two 4-hour sessions every day, very consistently. It’s building a castle one brick at a time.”
“For other people working day jobs, they say “I have my lunch hour for working on my outline for whatever I’m going to write for that day, and then I get home and I have 1 hour after the kids go to bed that I can work on my story.””
“Other people can’t even do that. They say “4 hours on a Saturday, that’s the best I can manage: 4 hours a week.””
“The goal is consistency. Your average writer writes somewhere between 300 and 700 words per hour when they are working on new prose. So, on average, that’s 500 words per hour. That means that 4 hours a week, you can write 2000 words. Your average novel is around 100,000 words…which means that in one year, you’re going to write a book.”Brandon Sanderson
Now, consider your own life; take stock of your responsibilities and create a custom plan for writing consistently. You’ll find that you’re more productive with the time you have and liberated from the absolutism that some authors tend to preach.
Read At Night Before Bed
At this year’s Sanibel Online Writers Conference, organized by Tom DeMarchi, I had the chance to ask authors Julianna Baggot & Benjamin Percy how they balance their lives of high writing output with reading. Percy responded with a simple yet life-changing piece of advice. He stated:
“I end my day with reading. My brain always feels like a ball of twisting centipedes by the end of the day, so reading is the way that I slip into sleep and into a more relaxed mode. So, I try to spend an hour or two every night reading.”A Mighty Blaze
Though you may have heard people say it before, Benjamin Percy’s way of describing it as a way to relax reframes it. Instead of watching a show on Netflix for 2 hours before bed, you could start reading. The average person reads about 250 words a minute, which is roughly one page. If you read one page a minute for 2 hours, that would add up to 120 pages.
Join A Creative Writing Club
The act of writing may be solitary, but there are ways to incorporate socialization and networking into the craft. It’s no secret that authors befriend one another, such as Stephen King, John Grisham, and George R. R. Martin. Brandon Sanderson got published because a friend from his writing group introduced him to an editor and vice versa. The fact is that networking with other writers makes you more likely to succeed. If you haven’t joined a writing group, this is your call to check your area for in-person or online get-togethers.
Increase Your Writing Speed
As the quote of Brandon Sanderson revealed in the first resolution, 500 words is a doable achievement for an hour’s work. But what if you increased that number to 1000? 2000? Maybe even 10,000? You may think that such is impossible, but there are writers out there who have proven otherwise. Michael Crichton claimed to write 10,000 words a day. There’s even a book by Chris Fox called 5000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter. If you’re interested in getting more words for your while, practice increasing your writing capacity. Who knows how much you can type in one hour.
Complete Something (Anything)
If you want to make 2022 a year to remember as a writer, there’s no better way other than by completing a novel. Even if you don’t publish it, just getting to the point where you write “The End” will change you for the better. At that moment, it will sink in that anything is possible—that you can write any story you set your mind to.
Whether you choose to take on one, a couple, or all of these resolutions is up to you. We here at Bookstr know that you are capable.