Holding Yourself to New Year’s Writing Resolutions

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It’s been a whole year since I made four New Year’s writing resolutions. Given my previous lack of success in making plans and sticking to them when it comes to writing, I gave no guarantees about achieving any of them but because New Year’s Eve is right around the corner again, I thought I should review them and see if I managed to tick any of them off the list.

Resolution #1: Publish Black Spot
Straight off the bat, a big fat no. I didn’t publish Black Spot. I said at the time I made this resolution that I was just waiting for a couple of rejections from publishers before going ahead and self-publishing. Of course, that was before Black Spot was shortlisted for the 2016 Text Prize for Writing for Children and Young Adults. Although I didn’t win, I did get a lot of great feedback, did another rewrite and sent it off to a few more publishers. So I’m still waiting for a few more rejections. One way or another, Black Spot will be published in 2017. (I won’t call that a resolution, just an inevitability. There aren’t any more reasons to keep putting it off.) But as with everything when it comes to publishing, it’s just taking a little longer than I thought it would.

Resolution #2: Complete my third novel
Success! This year I finally finished writing the first draft of Trine, the novel that I began in 2013 and put aside and went back to and put aside and went back to so many times that I can’t remember how many. In fact, it went on hiatus so much that of the three novels I have written, it was actually the second one I started. I wrote a whole other novel, as well as a non-fiction book, in between.

Of course, the hard work is only just beginning. 2017 will be a year of rewrites and polishing and submitting to publishers and rejections and then more rewrites, submissions and rejections. (Again, not a resolution, just a realistic expectation.)

Resolution #3: Continue posting blog posts three times a week
Success again! In 2016, I posted 158 times, which was three times every week plus one bonus post when I shared that I had been shortlisted for the 2016 Text Prize. But writing so many posts was a genuine challenge, I think especially because I was doing paid work (i.e. not my writing) for about half of the year. I started to run out of ideas and motivation and I felt that the quality of my output was less than in the previous year. So, in 2017, I’ll be posting twice a week instead to see if a less demanding schedule helps. (You can take that one as a resolution.)

Resolution #4: Write and post another popular LinkedIn article
When I made this resolution, the LinkedIn article I wanted to best had over 8,000 views and 600 likes. In 2016, I wrote and posted another five LinkedIn articles but the old article from 2015 still had more views and likes in 2016 than the new ones combined, gathering a further 2,000 views. So this one was also a bust.

However, an article I posted in 2014, for reasons beyond my understanding, garnered more than 4,000 views two years after I originally wrote it. It just goes to show the importance of having your writing out there where it can be accessed weeks, months and years after you first write it. Just because you were ready to write it doesn’t mean readers were ready to read it. So make sure it’s somewhere they can get at it when the time eventually does come.

*****

From those four resolutions, it was a fifty-fifty success split. Maybe considering everything, I could call it sixty-forty. In the end, I suppose it’s better to have goals and be part of the way towards achieving them than to have none at all and be nowhere close.

Happy new year to everyone! I wish you all another year of good reading and writing!

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